Cosmetic surgery is back in the media, with a young woman going public after suffering complications following a cosmetic breast augmentation.
A 27 year old lady is one of 3 women to have sued a Sydney based cosmetic practitioner after “botched” breast augmentation surgery. This young lady, Ashley Blundell, whose case has been independently reviewed, appears to have undergone an attempted cosmetic breast enlargement by Dr Peter Kim, a member of the so-called Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery. Dr Kim is NOT a Plastic Surgeon
In a story carried on ABC media, there has been much made of Ms Blundell’s breast “exploding” after she developed an infection around her right breast implant, resulting in the need for that implant to be removed (or explanted). Whilst an infection is a risk with any surgery, and certainly it is something that any woman undergoing cosmetic breast surgery must be aware of, there is more to this story.
Photos of Ms Blundell circulating in the media (image source: abc.net.au) demonstrate (very obviously) multiple issues with her pre-operative planning, the execution of her surgery and her post-operative care. Not only did she develop an infection, she also suffered a double bubble deformity which relates to the fact that the implant chosen was too large, and the surgery was performed incorrectly with an attempt being made to lower the infra-mammary fold too far.
Breast augmentation may seem simple, but it is often complex in the planning and technical execution of the surgery. The problem I have with poorly trained cosmetic practitioners performing this surgery (which can only happen because there is totally inadequate regulation of cosmetic surgery) is that women who have often saved hard to be able to pay for their aesthetic surgery in Australia, rather than travelling overseas to Thailand or other “cosmetic-tourism” destinations, end up with dodgy surgeons doing dodgy surgery, when what they thought they were getting was a well trained surgeon performing precise and safe surgery. Ms Blundell’s surgeon unfortunately had a track record of having been sued, but because in each case he settled out of court, no details were recorded against Dr Kim’s medical registration.
As I have written previously, there is an onus on cosmetic surgery patients to know their surgeons and to be aware of who is performing these cosmetic operations. But as Ms Blundell is arguing, there must also be a safe way for potential patients to research who is performing their surgery. In her case, there was no way for her to discover information about Dr Kim’s history.
Quite obviously, the safest way for any patient to be sure that their surgeon is reputable, is to be sure that the surgeon is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic Surgery, and a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. Look for the FRACS and ASPS logos on your surgeon’s website, and in your surgeon’s rooms.
Be safe, be sure. Not all complications can be predicted, but there are ways to ensure that any risks are as low as possible.