Day of operation at the BMI Weymouth in London and saw Ms Mills pre surgery to recap on everything we had discussed in the previous consultations, categorically stating a maximum of a 7mm advancement and a maximum of, if any, 3mm height. My parting pre op words to her were that I put my trust in her hands.
As I was coming around from surgery, Ms Mills came over to me and said that everything had gone well and that she had moved my chin bone down and forward and shaved a little off the sides.
Back in my ward and now fully awake I immediately began to panic, as I had categorically told her not to shave anything off – I was trying to gain chin not lose it. Also I had this instinctive feeling that it had not been performed to my requirements. I could actually feel my chin was at a very peculiar angle, but I did not know why.
I was by now incredibly upset and my husband arrived at the hospital to see me. The nurses and Doctors could not get hold of Ms Mills even though they stated they called her several times that evening.
In the end at about 11pm I discharged myself because I was so upset I just wanted to be in my own home. Copy of discharge summary enclosed.
Had a very traumatic week, could not stop crying, could not eat or sleep, just felt completely devastated and in shock.
My husband had spoken to Ms Mills to try and establish what procedure she had performed and he was told I had and advancement of about one centimetre and height of about 5mm.
He asked if the procedure could be reversed if I so wished and she said yes.
10-12-13 – Caroline Mills 1 Week Post Op Consultation
Went to see Ms Mills with my husband and at this stage I was feeling a little more optimistic because of what she had been telling my husband on the phone, although I was still far from reassured I was trying to look on the bright side.
Ms Mills hand sketched on my pre op x-rays what she had done giving the dimensions of one centimetre advancement and 6mm height – copies enclosed.
We asked her again if the procedure could be reversed and she said yes but advised that I wait a few weeks because she was sure I would be happy with the result. She further advised that for a revision the optimum time to so this would be between 4 and six weeks before the bone healed too much.
Before we left we asked if we should get some post op x-rays and she said there was no need. However, we then went straight to Cavendish Imaging to get the x-rays anyway. We saw from the x-rays that the procedure she had described she had done, was not the case. In fact, as you will see on the after x-rays my cut bone was pushed down and back towards my neck, in effect this has actually taken away my chin and lengthened and widened my face out of all proportion whilst also creating an enormous bulk of bone underneath my face (being the actual piece of cut chin bone).
I did not, at this stage, fully appreciate the massive change to my chin this would have, as I still had a lot of swelling to my entire lower face and neck.
For the next few weeks I tried very hard to accept what had been done and desperately tried to convince myself that the surgeon was looking after my interests and that, given time things would settle down and start to look normal.
However, as the enormity of what had actually been done became ever more apparent I became very depressed and withdrew from everyday life – I felt disfigured and suicidal.
As the swelling calmed down I could now fully see that I had been left with an enormous and masculine looking lower face, which I did not recognise to be me.
21-1-14 – Caroline Mills 7 Week Post Op Consultation
Saw Ms Mills for the second time, the first time being 1 week post op.
She asked me how I was and I said not so good. She asked me to tell her what I liked about the surgery. I said that I was trying to get used to the profile although I thought it looked very long and also could have been projected more. I said it wasn’t what we had discussed at all. I said I completed disliked how bulky it looked particularly from the three quarter angle. She agreed with this and said it could possibly be shaved and filled with bone cement to give a better look in the future. This would entail a cut being made underneath my chin on the outside of my skin, causing external scarring.
I then showed her my x rays which I had taken 1 week after my surgery and asked her why she had rotated my cut bone so much that it was almost pointing back toward my neck. She could not answer this.
She said look don’t worry I am not going to abandon you, in 6 months we can relook at everything and get you a better result.
I was quite tearful and asked her if she could please do the surgery now before the bone heals too much so that I could get my chin pointing back the right way, i.e. facing forward. She said categorically no she would not do this and went on to say that she would absolutely not touch me for at least six months before doing anything further. She was quite aggressive in her approach to me, talking over me and saying she was not prepared to argue with me.
She then offered me therapy to help me get used to my new face.
23-1-14 – Caroline Mills Telephone Conversation
Following the 7 week post op consultation on 21-1-14, on my request, Caroline Mills called me to discuss my extreme unhappiness with the result and my wish to have immediate revision surgery.
I explained to her again that I was completely unhappy with the procedure and felt unable to wait 6 months for everything to heal. She replied that I should book a further appointment with her at her first available date in 2 week’s time. She could not see me sooner as she was going on holiday.
I replied that I did not want to wait such a long time when the bone will be healed even further and that I really just wanted my chin to be put back into a more natural position and not go through shaving the bone whereby making it a completely different shape than it originally was. She said she was not prepared to do anything like that because the bone will already be healed and that all the soft tissue needed to heal fully.
I said that the bone had not healed because I could still feel that it was mobile. She became exasperated and said that she was not going to argue with me and that I must just come back in 2 weeks.
She offered again to refer me to therapy if I was struggling to come to terms with my new face. I said that that was not the issue at all, the issue was that she had carried out a procedure to my chin which was not discussed or agreed to and no way would I have agreed to my cut bone being turned around at such an angle and pointed back toward my neck or with the much greater dimensions she had given me.
She was trying to talk over me quite a bit and I was about to advise her that I was not going to wait 2 weeks to see her as I was going to see another consultant that same evening. She actually interrupted me before I could say anything and said that if she felt it necessary she would seek a second specialist opinion.
I became upset and told her that I felt devastated, and as a last resort I asked her if she could please squeeze me in before the 2 weeks slot I had been given but she said no as she was going skiing. She said I should come along with my husband and that she was not trying to ignore my requests for help and that she would continue to offer her support as she felt necessary including any revision surgery that might be deemed necessary in due course.
I had no option but to accept this and asked her if, in the meantime, she would please forward me the pictures taken on 21-1-14. She has agreed to do this at the weekend.
Made an arrangement for a second opinion to see Manolis Heliotis, Maxillofacial Consultant whom I had seen also prior to my surgery with Ms Mills.
He seemed confused as to why such a procedure had been carried out when my requests were quite clear – just a subtle advancement and definitely not a change to my face shape or features. He said he would not have performed the procedure in this way. This can be backed up also by pre op sketches Mr Heliotis produced for me which clearly show my intention of the exact type of procedure I wanted. This can be produced on request.
He measured the dimensions Ms Mills had actually given by using an overlay tracing on my post op x-rays and these were 10mm height and between 2-3mm projection.
Please also see outcome of this consultation in his letter to me dated 23-1-14. To sum up, he agreed to perform a revision immediately to try and give me the outcome of his pre op sketches.
At this time, I also received two more independent post op opinions (using my before and after photos and x-rays) from Maxillofacial surgeons based in the United States – both of whom agreed that a revision should be sought.
I emailed Ms Mills to advise her that I had gained an independent second opinion and ask her again for all the photos she had taken of me.
Ms Mills then replied and forwarded me the photos. Please note her immediate about turn whereby she now agrees to perform the revision. I ask her to keep the slot she has available on the 4th Feb to perform the revision, so that I at least have this as an option.
Returned to further consult with Mr Heliotis and discuss what he could do for me. I advise him that although Ms Mills has now agreed to perform the revision I had lost all confidence in her and feel she has ruined my life. I ask to proceed with him so that he can attempt to repair the damage she has done. This is agreed and the revision date is set for 4-2-14.
Revision surgery undertaken at Trust Plus, part of the Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow. Mr Heliotis has managed to take out quite a lot of the height and given me a little more projection and replaced the huge 10mm plate (available on request) with a much smaller 4mm plate.
X-rays taken and unfortunately because so much bone healing has already taken place my cut chin bone is still in a similar downwards facing position and I have gained no more forward projection either. This is hugely disappointing for both myself and Mr Heliotis.
I am very upset and state again that Ms Mills has ruined my life. I ask him why on earth would she insert the huge 10mm plate (available on request) into my tiny featured face. He is at a loss to offer any explanation.
Mr Heliotis then, without any prompt, immediately suggests a third procedure (free of charge)– something he has never had to do in his entire career – to attempt to derotate the cut piece of chin bone back into a more natural forward facing position.
We have agreed to wait for a couple of weeks to let things settle down and decide whether I am able to live with things as they are or to undergo a third procedure.
Mr Heliotis has prescribed me with Zopiclone and Diazepan to help me cope with the stress.
Admitted for third surgery with Mr Heliotis at the Trust Plus, Harrow.
I am prepared for a third surgery by the hospital staff and then Mr Heliotis talked me out of the surgery saying I looked a lot better than before.
Again I am admitted for third surgery with Mr Heliotis at the Trust Plus, Harrow.
Again I am prepared for a third surgery by the hospital staff and then Mr Heliotis talked me out of the surgery still saying I looked a lot better than before and that I should not put myself through another surgery.
I enter into email correspondence with Mr Heliotis saying how unhappy I am with the situation and that I absolutely must have the third surgery to try to derotate the bone. He then refuses to undertake this surgery saying it would be detrimental to my health etc etc. He comments that any Surgeon who now agrees to treat me would only be after my money, as it would be unethical given that it would be my third surgery.
Consultation with Mr Manisali, Parkside Hospital Wimbledon. Mr Manisali says that he would be able to bring my chin bone back into a more natural position whilst also bringing it forward slightly, giving me the procedure I wanted prior to any surgery being undertaken. He advises that I wait a couple of weeks to digest what he has said and then make my decision. See him again two weeks later to say I definitely want to go ahead and he then details exactly how he will ensure a guaranteed result.
Admitted to Parkside hospital for third surgery.
Return for follow up consultation with Mr Manisali and have X-rays taken which shows the plate has been removed and replaced with a pin, the bone brought forward slightly and some derotation has been achieved. I am happier with the result and feel I can now try to move on from this experience.