Cosmetic breast surgery - reductions, enlargements, uplifts - are on the rise.
The majority of these procedures are successful, with most patients reporting to be satisfied with their results. However, there is also a dark side to cosmetic surgery.
All too often, less-than-scrupulous surgeons perform procedures without first ensuring their patients are 100% informed of the risks or without adequately managing their patients’ expectations of the end result.
These incidences are further complicated if the surgery itself goes wrong. Many women who have gone through a botched breast surgery experience feelings of shame, guilt or embarrassment, as though it was their fault for willingly choosing to undergo the procedure in the first place.
We spoke to two different women, Carla and Hannah, about their failed surgeries to find out what happened, how they felt, and what their advice is for other people considering cosmetic breast surgery.
“In 2012 I had a breast uplift and implants - I wanted to feel better and become more confident about my appearance. However, as soon as I woke up from my operation I noticed that the left breast was not right. It was more to the left and not the same size or position as the right. I was told it was just swelling and would go down, but it never did.
“It’s now been just under six years since my operation. I am due to have another operation this summer to correct the surgery. As much as I am excited to hopefully finally achieve the look I should have had six years ago, I am also very nervous because of what happened.
“I felt embarrassed that it had gone wrong. I felt like I needed to explain my story in order for people to understand, even though they may not have even noticed it. I am very conscious of it.
“Although I wouldn’t advise anyone to not have surgery, I would strongly advise people to do their research - really look into who they are considering going with. I thought I had done mine, but clearly not.
“I would also stay away from the mainstream clinics, their marketing is targeted at young girls and they offer payment plans which make it easy to just do it. I would advise only seeing surgeons that charge a consultation fee - there is a reason for it.”
“I decided to undergo surgery because my breasts were very uneven, with a significant size difference between the two. In 2014, I had two separate sized implants put in, one being larger and one smaller. It evened out the appearance of my breasts but they still were not identical.
“Two years or so after having the surgery, I started to feel a lot of pain in both breasts and it was becoming more and more obvious that they were still uneven. Breasts aren't meant to be completely symmetrical but I still felt that they were significantly different.”
“I tried to complain to the surgeon who carried out the augmentation but he no longer worked at the hospital. It was hard to get hold of anyone, and even when I did get in touch with the hospital, I was passed from pillar to post and it never really went anywhere.”
“It was a really painful procedure that took nearly a month out of work to recover from. I didn't want to go through that pain again or take that much time off work, but I was also stuck because I was back to being insecure about the appearance of my breasts.
“I spoke to my mum about it but apart from her I didn’t feel I could talk to anyone else. I do feel that there is a stigma attached to having breast implants. I've had to face comments about how I should work on accepting the way I look, or that it's a shallow decision. Or people retracting a compliment they've made about the appearance of my breasts once they realise I have had implants - especially from other females!”
“I just feel frustrated that no one has taken accountability for it going wrong and it's been really difficult to even get through to the appropriate people I need to talk to. I am sad at the outcome and how my breasts now appear, because emotionally and physically it was really difficult.”