February 05, 2011 (Original publish date) • By Dennis Beaver
We will just call her Dotti. The name of her so-called “breast implant surgeon” isn’t Dr. Frankenstein, but it should be. “This incompetent GP has made millions of dollars from breast augmentation surgeries, while permanently and tragically affecting the lives of so many trusting and naive women who in many cases should never have had this operation in the first place,” I was told by the real plastic surgeon who referred her to You and the Law.
He is a board-certified plastic surgeon and examined Dotti almost a year after her procedure. “She was only 20 at the time of the operation, one of hundreds of this guy’s victims whose botched operations require extensive surgical repair,” Dr. “T” told me.
Comparing photos of Dotti taken before the surgery and her appearance now, she has hanging, oblong-shaped, off-centered breasts of an old woman, grossly too large for her body size, as well as two inch scars – which resemble a cockroach – below each breast, the result of an infection which the doctor allowed to go untreated.
Evaluations by two board-certified plastic surgeons found “bilateral breast symmastia, IMF scar hypertrophy and bottoming out that may require multiple surgical revisions, reformation of the implant envelope and reconstruction of the bilateral inframmary fold as well as the cleavage area in the sternum, as well as a change in the position of the implants. The scars will need to be revised. The implants will need to be exchanged to smaller size as the existing size is too large for her frame.”
One of them made something chillingly clear: “She will never be even close to what she was before this operation.”
Not looking for a malpractice suit
Dotti didn’t want a malpractice lawsuit – the significant expense of which she could never afford – but rather sought help in registering a complaint with the California Medical Board and in trying to see if a refund could be negotiated with the surgeon. She was out of money, out of hope and ir would be a “pro bono,” case, which means helping a client at little or no charge. Dr. “T” would do the surgical repairs necessary at a greatly reduced fee, just trying to cover his overhead, but she had to pay something.
Certain patients require evaluation by a psychologist first
“So many young women have spent thousands of dollars for breast and other forms of plastic surgery when what they needed instead was to be evaluated by a psychologist before allowing their still maturing bodies to be operated on. It just makes me so angry to see what these money-obsessed incompetents can do, leaving girls permanently disfigured,” Dr. T told me.
He is not alone in the belief that too many young women are undergoing unnecessary plastic surgery procedures. Malpractice lawyers share the same opinion, and when they pursue good cases – women who have been horribly disfigured – settlements and verdicts can be significant.
Beverly Hills attorney Raymond Feinberg, whose speciality is medical malpractice, has tangled “with surgeons who left their patients with hideous complications, and in many cases, horribly disfigured.” He urges family members and friends to talk with these girls and ask the following questions:
“Just what do you expect? What are you trying to accomplish by having this surgery? Remember, this is real surgery – someone is going to make serious cuts into your body and implant foreign material. You will have scars and may not look anything like what you expected to afterwards”
“Do you want to look like someone on TV or in the movies? What’s wrong with your appearance and in being yourself? Do you really think that having larger breasts than what Nature gave you is going to change your life?”
Feinberg cautions, “We’re not talking about a woman who requires this operation due to cancer or some traumatic event – that’s understandable. But for most other women, these procedures will not change their lives and could very well make things worse. You need realistic expectations and should always get a second opinion.”
You’ve got to understand the nature and risks of the procedure. If you are expecting an implant to guarantee a life of happiness or enduring fulfillment, you have completely unrealistic expectations.”
I asked him, “When should a plastic surgeon refer the patient to a psychologist?”
“A good plastic surgeon should have some background in counseling and should recognize patients on whom he or she should not operate. Image is all over the place in the media. If a young woman – let’s say 17 to 21 – asks for a breast implant, unless there is a compelling medical need, I think that to do this just for appearance sake is completely and totally wrong” he maintains.
Next time: Warning signs that you’ve got the wrong doctor.
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.