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What to Do if Your Breast Implant Goes Wrong?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 21 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Breast Surgery Complaints Augmentation

Breast implants are the most popular type of cosmetic surgery for women, and the vast majority of these operations go ahead with no problems at all, leaving the happy recipients are pleased as punch with the results...but what if that's not the case?

Having breast implants is major surgery, even though it's commonplace. The most common problems that you can have after a breast augmentation include:

  • Infection Any surgery carries a risk of infection with it, and if this was to happen to you, you would expect to have to have the offending implant removed.
  • Ruptured implants Anyone who has implants will live with the risk of those implants rupturing at some point in their life. It's rare - but if you have the older style silicone implants, it can affect your health. If you have more modern saline implants, the risks aren't so bad, healthwise. Around 10% of implants rupture within the first five years of insertion.
  • Capsular contracture Sometimes, the scar tissue that forms around implants can constrict and pull tightly against the implants. If this starts to happen to you, your breasts may start to feel hard, misshapen or painful.

What Should I do if I am Not Happy?

If you're not happy with your implants, your first port of call is the surgeon who carried out the work. He has a contract with you under the Supply of Goods and Services Act which means that he should carry out any work with reasonable care and skill...and if that's not the case, you are entitled to compensation.

In practice, compensation isn't always financial...it's more usual for you to suggest that your surgeon (or another one that you are both happy with) corrects any problems for you. If you're really not happy, he should cover the cost of having the surgery repaired elsewhere, but this may be harder to argue because you would have to have good reason to believe he wasn't able to 'fix' the job himself.

Don't be afraid to go for a second opinion if you think that the surgeon is at fault - ask another reputable surgeon to tell you if what's happened is just the luck of the draw - a risk of surgery - or whether it was the surgeon that was at fault. To be on the safe side make sure that anyone you consult is a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAPS.)

If You're Still Not Happy

If you don't think that your complaint has been dealt with properly, and you want to take things further, there are organisations that you can contact for advice, and who may be able to take up your case for you in some circumstances.

  • The Healthcare Commission can take action against a clinic if they have reason to believe that it has breached industry standards.
  • The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority deals with complaints about implants themselves, if they have not been of the expected standard.

The vast majority of breast augmentations go ahead with very little cause for complaint except soreness after the surgery, but if that's not the case for you, don't be fobbed off by an uninterested surgeon, insist on your rights, and make sure that you get the problem resolved to your satisfaction.

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