Ruptured Silicone Breast Implants
In March of 2007 I had breast augmentation with silicone breast implants. I have done very well since the surgery as I am an extremely healthy person. On the evening of 1/1/2010 I had some right upper abdominal cramping that lasted through the night off and on waking me every hour or so.
On 1/2/10 I went to bed, still feeling at that time a dull ache on my right side. I suddenly had very severe pain under my right lung that felt like what I described as a spasm type thing where it would come and go. At one point I had excruciating pain with every inhalation I took, this lasted off and on for about 1 hour.
I considered going to the ER and at one point decided if it continued I would head over there. That particular pain ceased. I still had a dull ache and I had shivers. I suspect I had a fever but I do not own a thermometer. I took 400mg of Ibuprofen and the shivers stopped but the ache continued.
I went to work on Monday(I work for an internal med Doc's) and I mentioned this to our Physician Assistant and she ordered an Ultrasound of the Gallbladder and liver. This was a normal study.
On 1/6/2010 she saw me and at that time, because the pain was continuing she ordered a cat scan of my abdominal/pelvic area. This showed a right lung opacity in the right lower lung, Infectious process as well as a neoplasm included in the differential diagnosis. In other words the radiologist didn't know what was going on but there was something there.
A cat scan of my chest was then ordered. This was on 1/11/2010. This confirmed a right lung opacity. There was a wedge shaped configuration which caused suspicion for a pulmonary embolism. Again they were unsure. My Doctor called one of the radiologists on staff and asked him to pull it and read it....again...a blood clot was suspected but they couldn't find the actual blood clot.
An Ultrasound venous Doppler study was ordered and that confirmed there was no DVT.
The doctor also decided to order a series of blood tests to rule out any Auto immune issues. They were all negative, except for elevated Platelets on my CBC (Complete Blood Count).
The pain continued so a cat scan Angio of the Chest was ordered. This showed the right lung opacity and 4 nodules in my right lung, it also showed a possible right breast implant rupture. An MRI of both breasts was performed and it was confirmed I had a right breast rupture.
I went into my surgeon and he replaced the implant. He confirmed it was indeed ruptured. After research my doctor and I have discovered that all the issues I have had are consistent with a ruptured silicone implant.
She spoke to a pulmonologist and he confirmed these symptoms are well known with silicone implants. He printed out an article and gave it to my physician and it was uncanny how many similarities there were. I also had an echocardiogram and it shows I have a pleural effusion and valve issues...all mentioned in this article.
I am going to see the pulmonologist at my Doc's request. My doctor suspects I have some of this silicone in my lung. I am very short of breath at the slightest exertion. I am also concerned about the heart damage this could have caused. There is potential long term health issues at question here. My physician had me on coumadin for a brief time but discontinued it.
I would like your opinion as to whether or not this is something we can move forward with. My complaint is against the manufacturer of the implant, not my surgeon. What do you think?
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ANSWER for "Ruptured Silicone Breast Implants":
My first comment was going to be that it does not appear that your surgeon did anything wrong, so I am delighted to know that you are not interested in pursuing any claim with him.
It does however appear that there may be some sort of products defect argument in terms of the silicone implant. You are probably already aware that these implants were discontinued for a period of time in an attempt to work out some severe medical issues.
I don't know if your implants were pre or post silicone recall, but since that time they have made them in a consistency best described as a "gummy bear" in that you can literally rip a gummy bear in half and both pieces will remain intact.
This latter type of implant has less possibility of rupture, therefore it would be important to note the brand and the type which would then be followed by research of cases and incidents involving similar models.
As a general rule, products defect cases arise when a product placed in the stream of commerce fails to perform in the method in which it was designed due to some defect in the product.
These are strict liability cases in that you are not required to show negligence. Without any additional information, I would say that you have what sounds like a very good case with the medical documentation and indicia to support your claim of products defect (given that it is common knowledge that implants should not rupture).
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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