MUMBAI: In a case that highlights the perils of the cosmetic surgery industry, an Australian national who reportedly underwent a breast implant surgery in a Thailand clinic and developed side-effects thereafter, was told by city doctors—from whom she had sought a second opinion—that she didn’t have any implants. The 44-year-old woman was given silicone injections instead of an implant and had several ‘particles’ scattered across her breasts and developed nodules as well, the doctors said on Monday.

“The patient is not ill, but the case proves the need for proper homework before undergoing a cosmetic procedure,” said Dr Bhagyam Nagarajan, a radiologist at Wockhardt Hospital near Mumbai Central, who diagnosed the problem and has written an article for publication in the indexed ‘Indian Journal of Case Reports’.

“We want to highlight that even though this patient is educated, she didn’t do proper checks and decided to undergo ‘surgery’ at the Thai clinic because it promised implants at an attractive discounted price,” she added.

Silicone injections predate silicone implants, which are essentially prosthesis to change the shape and size of a woman’s breast. The injected ‘droplets’ are supposed to amalgate within the breasts, but didn’t happen in the Australian patient’s case, said Dr Nagarajan. The patient noticed that her breasts became red, discoloured and lumpy. She tried contacting the Thai clinic, but it had closed down. She then decided to come to Mumbai for a second opinion.

In April, she was also examined by breast onco-surgeon Dr Meghal Sanghvi, who found her breasts discoloured and nodular. A mammogram revealed high-density masses scattered in both breasts. “Interestingly, no implant/implant-rupture could be seen. Ultrasound showed a classic ‘snow storm appearance’ with multiple cysts and free silicone causing dense shadowing. This ‘snowstorm appearance’ is classical of free silicone causing mastopathy. The patient had been given silicone injections rather than implants, which explained the discounted rates,” said Dr Sanghvi.

The patient wanted the particles removed, but doctors told her that it would entail a masectomy or a breast removal surgery. “We told her that silicone is an inert material and not carcinogenic. We have advised her to not seek any intervention,” said Dr Sanghvi. Ideally, patients should check the accreditation of the clinic before undergoing cosmetic surgery and get details of the procedure performed.

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