My suregery is something i'd waited years for and dreamed constantly of having. I had an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), liposuction (tumescent method) and a breast lift. I knew it would be painful but was willing to accept the pain to get the results. I had lost 50 lbs. and that coupled with having three kids had wreaked havoc with my body. I went under the aneshetic dreaming happily of my results.
I woke up having trouble breathing, really having trouble. My doctor came in and said I just needed to get up and walk, there was nothing wrong. I tried, and tried, but got so winded I was afraid I'd pass out. They gave me oxygen and kept me over night to do tests. I had an x-ray of my chest, a VQ scan with areosol radioactive dye I had to inhale. They checked my heart and finally said I might have aspiration pneumonia and they also gave me Atavan because they thought I had panic attacks. I was sent home, a 40minute drive.
I was home 20 minutes when I became so short of breath I couldn't even use the nasal inhaler they gave me for pain! My husband called 911 when he saw I was turning blue around the mouth and becoming disoriented. I was admitted to the local hospital near my home. They kept me a week, did a huge number of tests, told me I'd had two heart attacks(which I hadn't) and said again I probably had apiration pneumonia. I returned to the surgeon many, many times in the next three months and he repeatedly said there was nothing wrong with me I just needed to walk more and "get my groove back on". In desperation I went to University of MI hospital for a cardiac work-up. They said my heart was that of someone half my age and had never had a heat attack. I then went to a pulmonary specialist my kids and i had seen for our asthma.
He did just a few tests, examined me and said somehow the surgeon had damaged the left side of my diaphragm or severed the nerve that controls it, it was paralyzed on that side. This meant that my left lung could not function. I had a sleep studay done to see if c-pap would help inflate it just a bit. It would not, I didn't have the capability to draw breath against the pressure it used. I was put on oxygen for nighttime for the rest of my life. It was also impossible for me to exercise the way I had been and I was unable to walk competitively as I'd been doing pre-surgery.
I tried for 2 yrs to sue and my lawyers couldn't find another plastic surgeon who would testify against a colleague. I then met with the surgeon and he did admit something must have happened during my surgery, but said he didn't do it. He basically laughed at my husband and I. I told him I wanted him to refund all or at least half of what I'd paid him. He He refused and laughingly commented "sue me if you are unhappy". He knew the two year statute of limitations was past. It's been over three years now, I'm still on oxygen at night, I get pneumonia very easily and have been told if I get it many more times I'll need my left lung removed.
Be very careful, talk to previous patients and do all the research you can. Nightmares do happen!