Due to sagging of the breasts from aging and weight loss, I desired a breast lift procedure. As I researched the topic of mastopexy, I read more and more about the unfortunate limitations of this surgery:
> Lack of durability of mastopexy results with recurrent ptosis
> Difficulty to achieve lasting upper pole fullness of the breast via mastopexy
It was because of these findings that I eventually sought out Breform and had a mastopexy with Breform in 2011.
If you are a potential patient considering Breform, there are a few things I hope to share with you based on my experience:
1. POST-OP PAIN:
I had been informed that the Breform procedure would cause more post-operative pain compared to a traditional mastopexy. However, what was never discussed was the nature or intensity of the pain. I have a high-pain tolerance – and I had never experienced pain like this. The most apt way to describe this particular pain is like a “charley-horse of the breast.” However, unlike usually limited-duration leg cramps, these “breast cramps” went on hour after hour after hour... It was an excruciating cramping of the muscles in the upper portion of the breast. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t think straight so I could barely work or function. The pain would start and it would make me break out into a sweat and literally bring me to my knees. When it occurred at night the pain prevented sleep, or would wake me from deep sleep. This pain went on for at least two months. The post-op pain was the least of my problems with Breform… - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. DEFORMED LOOKING BREASTS & HARD PALPABLE AREAS OF FIBROTIC TISSUE
I was warned that it would take months for my breasts to look “normal” after Breform. Yes, immediately after surgery they looked very “Frankenstein-ish.” I patiently waited, and waited… After several months the appearance of my breasts had stabilized and it was clear that they looked deformed. Each breast looked different and both were strangely shaped due to the loose and tight mesh and my tissues attached to the mesh. It looked the very worst when I lifted my arms and could actually see where the Breform mesh had fused to my breast tissue.
In addition, around the edges of the mesh I could feel hard areas where my tissue had formed fibrotic growths around thee mesh.
My original surgeon told me to keep waiting. As per his instruction, I waited an entire year. At the end of a year, there was no improvement. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. REVISION SURGERY
One year after my Breform mastopexy, I was no longer in the country where the Breform was originally inserted. I went to a surgeon who is widely recognized as one of the top breast surgeons in the U.S. My surgeon planned to perform a revision surgery to improve the deformed shape of my breasts.
I had a normal length revision surgery of a few hours planned. Once the surgery started, the surgeon was surprised by how much my tissue had grown incorporated into the Breform mesh. This made the surgery very challenging. It took 12-hours for my surgeon to painstakingly extract, millimeter by millimeter, my tissue from the mesh to reshape my breasts into a more normal shape. I will need an additional procedure if I am to pursue adequate improvement. The cost of the surgery, due to the unexpected length, was staggering: 15,000 GBP; $24,000 USD; 210,167 ZAR; 18,481 EUR. This does not include the cost of my original Breform mastopexy surgery. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. BREFORM CORPORATE RESPONSE TO MY COMPLAINT
I reported my experience to the Director of Breform Limited. Here is an excerpt from what I emailed:
“The manufacturer web site states that the Breform material is not palpable, that there have not been any serious complications only “minor complications have resolved spontaneously,” and that the mesh can be removed if needed. In my case, I could feel hardened tissue around the mesh prior to my revision surgery. My revision surgeon had to surgically remove multiple areas of hardened fibrotic breast tissue that had formed around the mesh. There is no mention on breform.com of any patients with the complication of misshaped breasts that required revision surgery. The mesh was absolutely not “removable” in my case as my revision surgeon said that it would inadvisable to ever attempt to have the Breform removed since it would cause a significant trauma as my tissue has grown through the mesh…”
I received this response from the Director of Breform Limited:
“The conclusion after the investigation was that there was no error in terms of the product.” Attached to the email I received was a document containing a case report of one patient who had Breform removed. In this single-patient case report the removal was completed without incident.
The Director of Breform Limited went on to conclude that the actual problem that I had was that I did not return to my original Breform surgeon for a revision surgery.
Here is an excerpt from my response:
“My problem with Breform product “error” was completely prior to and independent of whether I later had revision surgery with one surgeon or another. To suggest otherwise is illogical, unscientific, and shows a total disregard of my experience of suffering aesthetic, medical, and financial.
Why was I forced to undergo revision surgery if not for product error?
…perhaps your company would like to start over with addressing my experience with Breform from a logical and scientific and good-business perspective. Please let me know either way.”
I never received a reply back from Breform Limited.
I wish I had never had Breform inserted. I fear for the additional treatment I must undergo. Even more, I fear for any future problems I may encounter due to this permanent mesh implant.