Symmetry Surgery Gone Wrong.

I have thought a lot about whether i should share my story on here as i dont want to frighten anyone who is considering any kind of breast reconstruction/symmetry surgery, so firstly i want to say that for the vast majority of people this type of surgery is usealy sucessfull with few if any post surgical complications.
Im writeing my story because i feel pretty alone right now, in my searches online over the last 3 mths i have been able to find only one other person on a personal website where another lady has been through the same expierence as me ,albeit for cosmetic surgery and not breast cancer related.
I dont even know where to start , so a brief history for anyone who doesnt know me, Over the last 5 yrs i have had Bilateral Breast Cancer , first BC in 2007 and 2nd BC in 2012 , i had all the usual treatments, chemo,rads,hormone therapy and herceptin, my first surgery was a WLE/SNB and my second surgery was a Theraputic Mammoplasy leaving a 3 cup size difference in breasts , i was offered to have symmetry surgery at the end of treatment , which was a further Mammoplasty , basicaly a reduction/uplift to match me up, my surgeon also said they would use Lipofill to fill in the previous large dent left by my first WLE.
I went in for the surgery on the 9th of Sept this yrs, all seemed to go ok after apart from a large amount of bruieinsg and odema which my surgeon said was normal and would resolve on its own, By day 2 my breast was rock hard , like a cricket ball, it felt completely numb right down the outer quadrant and also around the nipple, i had no feelings in those areas at all, on day 9 i noticed that the nipple area had started leaking through the dressing, luckily i was at the breast clinic the next day to remove the dressings, when my surgeon removed the dressings he told me i had a 1cm superfical area of necrosis which was nothing to worry about and would be redressed untill healed .
I then spent the next 9 weeks going for twice weekly dressings on a wound that wasnt healing but growing, by now almost the entire nipple had gone , the nurse at the breast clinic who had been dressing the wound kept assuring me that wounds can take mths to heal and that there was no infection , at 9 weeks she eventually decided to get another breast surgeon in to take a look at my wound, i should say that i havent seen my own surgeon since 3 weeks after the OP, he seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth on sick leave im told, anyway this new surgeon took one look at the wound and said i would need surgery , tomorrow, to surgical debride the wound of dead tissue, i went into hospital the next day as a day case surgery and stayed awake at my own request for the OP , i wish i hadnt it was horrible , at the end of the surgery the surgeon asked me if i was on any anti biotics, i wasnt as i had been previously told ,even though i had asked about them always that they didnt use precautinary ABs due to AB resistance , so he said he would be sending me home them , i assumed these ABs were precautionary, and even though he said i could stay in hospital overnight if i wanted too there was no mention of finding an infection so i went home with 2 types of ABS 10 tabs a day which i thought was a lot ,he also told me that if i got a tempeture over the weekend that i must call the out of hrs drs right away or go to A&E in Truro .
Dureing the night i began to get the shivers and shakes, by early morning i had a tempeture of 39.9 and i was rushed by ambulance into Treliske, when i got there i was tackicardic , and was going into toxic shock ,a swab taken in A&E (The first swab taken since all this began) revealed sepsis caused by a serious life threatening strep infection deep in the wound, i spent the nesxt 6 days in hospital on IV antibiotics , with 12 hr bags of phostates and pattassium as all my electrolites were very low, Monday morning the surgeon and breast care nurse came over to see me in hospital and the first thing my surgeon said to me was i knew you would be here , i was told what i had was life threatening ,and regular blood tests were done to monitor the inflamation in my blood, on day 5 a tissue viability nurse was sent over to me and she fitted me with a vacume pump to try and help with granulation tissue forming and clousure of a wound, the hospital had arranged for the district nurses to change the vacume dressing every 3 days and to come out if there were any problems, however this didnt happen, when i arrived at my drs with a leak and blockage in the vacume dressing because my Gp nurse didnt do the dressing right a few days earlier she just threw her arms in the air and said i had to understand that they didnt see like this this in the practice ,i really felt left out on a limb, anyway she went off to find a district nurse who could change the dressing but came back and told me they were too busy and i should disconnect the vacume myself, cover the wound with a dressing ,and sort it out in the morning. There is no way i could repack the wound myself , i couldnt even bear too look at it at dressing changes ,as my breast looked like something out of a horror movie, as a last resort my GP referred me back to Treliske in Truro where i waiting 3 hrs in SRU for a sister from another ward to come down and sort me out.
The following week the vacume pump was removed at the breast clinic as it had failed ,and my wound was refiling again with large amounts of sloughy tissue , thick yellow non viable tissue , i then spent the next 10 days having the wound repacked every other day, its was so painfull they told me to take painkillers before i went in, after this and because this wound now had no chance of ever healing i was taken in for further surgical debridement on the 9th of december , however dureing the surgery it was found that all my breast tissue was dead ,it had no blood supply , tissue cannot survive without a blood supply ,the only thing the surgeon could do was to perform a mastectomy .
This truely has been a living nightmare , i watched my breast rot away before my eyes and have had to live with a large open wound that needed to be packed for weeks, its been horrific beyond belief,i started off with a 1 cm superfical wound (or so i was told) that ended up being 13cm by 4 cm deep open wound , being eaten away with a strep infection that nobody ever swabbed for , my surgeon also didnt Lipofill the WLE site either as i found out later , what he did was poked (his own words) all of my own tissue into the hole , and i believe after taking to other surgeons who tell me they also would have reccommended Lipofill, as it is far less invasive , and doesnt damage any of the previous irradiated tissue in the breast , i now believe this is what has caused the loss of blood supply in my breast.
There is a small risk of wound healing problems on a pre irradiated breast , i was told 5-10% i never thought in a million yrs or was told that it could lead to looseing your breast , i think mistakes have been made throughout all this , my wound shouldnt have been left 9 weeks before something was done about it , it should have been swabbed early on for infection, and maybe if something had been done a lot earlier i wouldnt have lost my breast , i really dont know what to think anymore , all i know is i never want to go through anything like that ever again, no one should , My chest is now full of scars , an anchor shaped scar from the mammoplasty and a long vertical scar from the MX , i have to go back tomorrow to get the drain out and stitches will be removed a week later ,all i want now is to heal and for it all to be over , to get well again and to get on with my life.
Just feeling pretty alone with all this . its really knocked me back both physically mentaly and emotionaly ,just need to know if anyone is out there that has been through the same?

Am so sorry for the long post , but think i just needed to let it all out .
L x

Sorry to hear about the really terrible time you have been having. Cannot share in your experience but want to send you a big ((HUG)) and to let you know I am thinking about you.

Hi Cornishgirl I am so sorry to hear what you have been through. What a nightmare for you to be in. I read your post and I just can’t believe how you have been treated and how the medical staff have failed you. They shouldn’t have left you like that, with a breast rotting away. How could they? Are you seeking legal advice for this malpractise?

Keep well and please don’t feel alone, we are all here for you x x

Also sending big hugs to you cornish girl.  You have had a terribele time.  Not only fighting the Bc but all this on top.  Can you change surgeon/hospital?  I would put in a complaint when you feel stronger.  In the meantime rest and heal.


Have read your post, had something similar, but nowhere near as traumatic as you. However, I saw my surgeon _ every time _, she did the dressings,  I had a break down of tissue, following removal of silicon implant, and the neventualy removal of expander. Had a cavity, did dressings my self, twice daily, but then could see expander  implant,hence removal . To cut long story short, have been back and forth, Had problems other side, BUT, saw my lovely surgeon every time, been on anti biotics, been treated with speed, and staff all have been fantastic. I think, things are amiss here, and maybe go to PALS…Keep in touch here, let us know how things progress

Dear L, my heart absolutely goes out to you in support. You have had a most unlucky time but hopefully now you can put the bad bits behind you and focus on getting well? Have you considered counselling to help you get your head round it all too? In the meantime, always feel you can let it all out on this forum - that’s what we are here for. 


Thinking of you and sending you a big (HUG).

BR x