Breast augmentation also called breast mammoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that uses implants or fat from other parts of the body to increase the size of the breasts or to restore the breasts after injury or surgical procedures like mastectomies (breast removal).
Cosmetic breast augmentation procedures often aim to increase a women's self-esteem and to help women get the body they want. Since it is such an emotional decision to choose breast augmentation, it can be devastating when surgeons make mistakes and results don't turn out as planned.
Understanding Breast Augmentation Procedures
Breast augmentation surgery was the most common cosmetic procedure in 2014, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that over 286,000 augmentations occurred last year. Implants can be made of silicone or saline. Silicone implants were used in 77% of the procedures, and saline implants were used in 23%.
Breast augmentation surgery uses breast implants to:
- Increase the size of the breasts
- Even out breast size or asymmetrical breasts
- Restore breasts after injury or surgery
- Improve appearance and self-confidence
Cosmetic breast surgery can also be done to lift the breasts. Read more about this procedure.
Breast augmentation surgery usually takes between 1 and 3 hours. Depending on patient preference and the type of procedure, doctors will administer general or intravenous anesthesia to the patient and will make an incision around the nipple, under the breast, or in the underarm. An implant will be placed under the pectoral muscle or behind breast tissue. Alternatively, patients may choose the fat relocation technique where liposuction from another part of the body is inserted into the breast.
Risks of Breast Augmentation Procedures
Doctors must inform patients of all possible - and material risks of surgery. Risks associated with breast augmentation surgeries include:
- Uneven implants or breast size
- Leaking, deflated, or otherwise damaged implants
- Oversized implants
- Inappropriate positioning of breast implants
- Loss of sensation in breasts or nipples
- Skin wrinkling
- Excessive bleeding
- Additional surgeries to replace implants—implants will not last forever and may need to be replaced
Some of these risks may be unavoidable or may occur even if a doctor provides the highest standard of care. Sometimes, however, complications and bad outcomes are due to medical negligence. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can help you determine the difference.
Is Breast Augmentation Right For You?
It is important for patients choosing elective cosmetic surgeries to understand all possible risks of the surgery, and the potential cosmetic and aesthetic outcomes. Doctors need to be clear with patients about what they can expect from the surgery, and patients should only go into these procedures with realistic expectations.
Dissatisfaction with a cosmetic surgery alone does not give rise to medical malpractice.The surgery may result in minor scarring and other minor cosmetic injuries. In such instances, medical malpractice cases are not likely to be viable. Most patients with very minor cosmetic injuries will find it difficult to acquire an attorney for their case.
Like most elective cosmetic procedures, breast augmentation surgery will most likely not be covered by insurance, and patients will be required to pay steep fees out of pocket. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a breast augmentation is $3,708. Because these procedures are financially lucrative, they attract both skilled and unskilled doctors. For this reason, it is important for patients to know the qualifications of their surgeon.
Medical Malpractice Claims
If patients suffer injuries as a result of breast augmentation surgery, they should contact an attorney. To have a viable medical malpractice claim for improper breast augmentation, patients will need to prove that:
- A doctor—patient relationship existed;
- The doctor breached the required standard of care in treating the patient;
- The breach resulted in serious complications for the patient.
If your breast augmentation surgery was mishandled by a healthcare provider, call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options. Our experienced attorneys will not charge fees until they obtain the result you deserve.