In the summer of 2020, Danish Cecilie Mortensen (30 years old) underwent surgery at a clinic in Skane, Sweden. About ten days later, she experienced complications.
– The fluid from the wound came with yellow pus and a strong smell of inflammation, Mortensen tells Dagbladet.
It was the Danish company BT that reported the case first.
You send the photos and videos to the surgeon and after two days you come to the same surgeon’s clinic in Copenhagen.
– Basically, I was supposed to take out the stitches. They were not removed, but new stitches were placed in each breast without anesthesia.
I have to get back in the doctor’s chair
The surgeon tells Mortensen that the reason he didn’t give her anesthesia was to prevent bacteria from getting into the wound.
For the next few days, she watches the wound closely and avoids touching and lifting her breasts. She informs the surgeon of how the wound has healed, but three weeks after the operation, she has to get back in the doctor’s chair.
Although she wasn’t in any pain, the wounds were wet and runny.
– I was so tense beforehand. My dad was with me, a former operating room nurse from the army.
The father has to stand outside the room while Mortensen is examined again. The surgeon thinks they have to schedule a new appointment to remove the implants. Frustrated, Mortensen doesn’t want to do it, and comes up with an alternative. They can try to sew the stitches again.
The surgeon sews her left breast back together without anesthesia.
– It hurts incredibly and I cried, tears just flowed. My dad was standing right outside the door and he could hear me trying not to scream.
After it’s over, Mortensen is in so much pain that she can barely wear her sports bra and is forced to get help from her father. On her way home, she feels every little movement the car makes on her body.
– I can’t describe how painful it was.
Sutures have been removed
This would be the last time Mortensen would go to the surgeon. She is afraid and feels insecure. Just over a week later, she had a visit to her doctor, as there was a gaping hole under her left breast. They are sent to the emergency room to have the stitches removed. They also referred her twice to the hospital, which is unacceptable.
Dagbladet has been in contact with the surgeon about Mortensen’s story by phone and email. He has not yet commented on this matter.
To the Danish BT, the surgeon points out his duty of confidentiality as a physician, although Mortensen has been allowed to talk to him about her ailment history and at the clinic. He thinks it is not enough.
In an email to BT, he wrote that you can sew single sutures into the wound without anesthesia.
– If a suture needs to be inserted into the wound, the skin is thin and there is an implant right inside the wound, the wound can be easily stitched together without the use of local anesthetic. There is nothing wrong with that, he wrote, and sometimes local anesthesia is more painful than inserting a wire.
One of the implants must be taken out
Throughout this period, Mortensen underwent several courses of antibiotics.
For a 30-year-old, it would be difficult to find someone who could help her, both publicly and privately. About five weeks after the operation, they found a specialist who managed to get her into the hospital.
– They remove the left filling because they are afraid of a chest infection since the wound has been open for a long time. She explained that when they look at the left chest pocket, there are no signs of infection.
They do not insert the implant back, the breast must grow from the inside out. They instruct her on how to clean the wound and she goes regularly for follow-up in the hospital. By the end of November, the breast completely healed.
The whole process was demanding of Mortensen, but she also knows her responsibility and that she made mistakes.
Before the operation, you smoked a little, and you should not do that. Then you lose your right to the warranty if complications arise. I told the surgeon and he said I lost the guarantee and accepted it.
In February 2021, Mortensen is on sick leave due to stress and depression.
– I still go to a psychiatrist to this day and it’s been hard on my private life. It was hard to accept yourself and your body.
She also had to find a new job, since her current job poses a risk of infection while the wound is healing.
Today, Mortensen still only has an implant in his right chest.
risk of complications
– All surgeons who performed extensive surgeries experienced complications. Maintaining a good doctor-patient relationship and keeping patients safe in case something untoward happens is an important part of being a surgeon.
This is what Lars Frisch, President and Chief Physician of the Norwegian Society of Plastic Surgery, writes in an email to Dagbladet.
Generally speaking, there may be bits of medical history that the president doesn’t know, that are important.
Therefore, it is part of the preparation for the intervention to overcome possible complications with patients. The risk of complications and wound healing problems increases greatly if the patient smoked before the operation.
Fritsch points out that in such cases, the surgeon is the professional party to put his foot down if the operation is unacceptably high risk.
Few think it’s okay
The chief physician explains that if a superficial wound infection with a slight incision in the wound is suspected, antibiotics are usually the first choice. In cases where the prism is visible, it is often difficult to clear up the infection with antibiotics. It may then be necessary to remove the implants.
To use anesthesia or not, the moderator answers:
– The discomfort of making one stitch or inserting a syringe and then sewing one stitch would be exactly the same. But that’s a completely different thing and I think very few people think it’s okay to close such a large scrotum—there are maybe 9 to 10 stitches—without anesthetic, he says.
Fritsch adds that if you open the wound for the first time because of infection or the wound opens on its own, often you won’t close it again because there’s a high risk that the infection will flare up again.
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