Kate* had no idea that underpinning the lower cost of her procedure was a lack of training, expertise and anaesthetic support
As I walked into the cubicle at the emergency department where Kate* was sitting, I was struck first by the smell. A faint, disturbingly sweet stench of bacteria, mixed with a musky perfume. Tearfully, Kate unbuttoned her shirt, revealing one of the worst post-operative infections I’d ever seen. She was painted in a kaleidoscope of colours, with bruising completely covering her breasts. She’d had a breast augmentation two weeks before. The incision at the bottom of her left breast was red, swollen and oozing with pus. The implant in the right breast appeared to have migrated laterally and there was asymmetry between the pair. Kate was distraught, aptly noting “it’s a botch job, not a boob job.”
Initially, Kate told me, she was thrilled with her choice of cosmetic surgeons. She had found their page on social media. She’d even had a colleague who had gone to the same doctor for Botox and was thrilled with the results. Kate was an educated, highly intelligent woman. She felt she had done her due diligence before seeking out the surgery. She had researched the risks of breast augmentation extensively and read the doctor’s glowing reviews. Their consulting office was clean and modern, the reception staff friendly. She’d had friends make poor choices, seeking the same operation in third-world countries for a fraction of the price. She could afford the operation in Australia and felt confident that she was choosing responsibly.