I had a TUG reconstruction five years ago for bc which went well with no problems and an excellent result all round. Owing to a strong family history of bc I decided to undergo a risk reducing mastectomy of the other breast with TUG recon. Disaster! I assumed the same surgeon would do a similar job but on relfection I feel as it was not for bc he delgated it to a junior surgeon. Not only was the breast recon smaller and, in my opinion, poorly done in comparison to the first op, when I awoke from the anaesthetic I found my leg was paralysed! Initially I was told it would take a few hours to get the feeling back but the hours stretched to days, weeks and I was told by one Professor of Neurology that I would probably never regain full mobility and I should sell my car and buy a manual and use a wheelchair for long trips. In the end it was six months before I was walking well enough to go back to work and drive again. I did loads of physio, exercises, massage and acupuncture to try to recover from the injury which is known as 'drop foot'. I experienced real stress and worry and had to self refer to a nerve specialist and undergo lots of nerve conduction tests etc. The hopsital denied any responsibility but researching it myself I found nerve damage of this kind is not uncommon in patients undergoing hip replacements. It seems that poor positioning or undue presurre on the knee when the patient is in the surgical position can overstretch the nerve and cause damage. As said the hospital and doctors I saw all closed ranks and said it was just unforseeable and down to my physiology but I have heard since of another woman who had the same problem so I firmly believe it was careless treatment on the op table. Also my consultant later told me she has 'noticed the surgeon takes more care when positioning his patients' since my case. This injury was totally unexpected by me and my surgical team - I felt had I been warned that I could exeprience permanent damage resulting in me being unable to walk, run, kneel, drive etc I would not have undergone this op. Difficult choices - I am sorry if this worries anyone but I do wish I had known it was a possibility before hand as it seems that I was very luckly to make a full recovery from a drop foot injury as many people do not. Knowing I had chosen to take that risk would have made the result easier to deal with.
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