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Woman sued over issues with breast reconstruction – Defense Verdict

Plaintiff underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. She then underwent a two-stage breast reconstruction surgery using tissue expanders by the defendant plastic surgeon. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to provide alternative surgical options, such as autologous-tissue reconstruction, and failed to adequately advise her of the risks of the procedure. She alleged permanent weakness of her pectoralis muscle, tightness of the chest and shoulders and breast deformity. She underwent a revision surgery which included denervation of the pectoralis major muscle. The defendants’ experts opined that plaintiff was not a candidate for autologous-tissue reconstruction because of her size, thus the standard of care did not require disclosure of that option. The defense experts also opined that plaintiff’s complaints were extremely rare and were not required to be included in the informed consent discussion. The defense experts opined that the defendant appropriately explained how the surgery would be performed, including drawing a diagram, the common risks associated with the surgery and the expected course of recovery.


Type of action: Medical malpractice

Injuries alleged: Permanent weakness of the pectoralis major muscle limiting activities of daily living and breast reconstruction revision surgery

Court: Norfolk Circuit Court

Case no.: CL17-7239

Tried before: Judge

Name of judge: Judge Mary Jane Hall

Date resolved: July 25, 2019

Special damages: Approximately $60,000

Verdict or settlement: Defense verdict

Attorneys for defendant: Robert Donnelly and Robyn Ayres, Glen Allen

Plaintiff’s experts: Larry Lickstein, M.D.

Defendant’s experts: Maurice Nahabedian, M.D.; Michael Zenn, M.D.

Insurance carrier: The Doctors Company