We have recently settled a claim for a woman whose consultant breast and oncoplastic surgeon failed to take correct measurements prior to performing breast symmetrisation surgery in 2017.
The failure resulted in a poor cosmetic outcome for our client, with a significant difference in height between her nipples, which would require reconstructive surgery to correct.
Our client was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and underwent a mammoplasty, which left her with unevenly-sized breasts. She therefore decided to proceed with surgery to her other breast to correct the asymmetry, which took place in January 2017, under the care of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
Within a few months, our client had healed from the operation but was very unhappy with the nipple placement, which seemed to be far higher than on her other breast. She returned to her surgeon to question this, but was advised that the asymmetry would eventually settle down. She subsequently attended a different hospital for a second opinion, and it was noted that her nipple had been placed approximately 2cm too high and that she would now require further surgery to rectify the problem.
Consequently, our client was left with no confidence in her appearance. She felt ashamed with the way she looked and avoided exercise and swimming, which she had previously enjoyed. She changed the way she dressed to cover the asymmetry and felt impeded when socialising or in finding a new relationship.
Investigations were carried out as part of the clinical negligence claim, led by our specialist team, and expert evidence was obtained. It was alleged that the surgeon had failed to take correct breast measurements pre-operatively and to mark the position of the nipple on the breast accurately. The defendant trust admitted these failings and the resulting asymmetry. An apology was given and through negotiations a sensible settlement was agreed.
We are pleased to have resolved this claim for our client and hope that the settlement will allow her to choose where she feels most comfortable having reconstructive surgery, and so regain her confidence. The case highlights the importance of taking accurate and correct pre-operative measurements when performing surgery of this nature.