Staten Island Woman Awarded $3.5 Million in Botched Breast Surgery Lawsuit
Staten Island resident Maria Alaimo, 47, has won the lawsuit she filed against plastic surgeon Dr. Keith Berman. The jury has awarded her $3.5 million in damages.
Ms. Alaimo claimed that her 2003 surgery left her with essentially “four breasts” which is called a “double-bubble” deformity. Her surgery was a combined breast augmentation with a mastopexy (breast lift).
Ms. Alaimo was married with two children at the time of her surgery in 2003. She claimed the resulting deformity resulted in pain, loss of self-esteem, humiliation, and embarrassment; all of which contributed to her separation and divorce.
The civil lawsuit began last Tuesday, March 2 in Staten Island Supreme Court and lasted one week. The six-panel jury spent nine hours before reaching their verdict. It was not an unanimous decision, as one jury found the doctor was not at fault.
Five members of the jury did find Dr. Berman at fault for the botched 2003 breast surgery. Ms Alaimo was awarded $1 million for pain and suffering since she went under Dr. Berman’s knife on March 8, 2003, and $2.5 million for future pain and suffering she will endure for the next 35 years.
Dr. Berman’s defense was that he had warned the client of the possible risks of the procedure.
A mastopexy is more commonly called a breast lift. This surgery is done remove excess skin, lifting the breast, and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour.
A breast augmentation is done using an implant (saline or silicone) to enlarge the breast.
Both are surgical procedures and carry risk of complications. These complication include infection, bleeding, scars, assymetry, changes in nipple or breast sensation, breast contour and shape irregularities, and the possibility of revisional surgery. Breast augmentation surgery risks also include the possibility of capsular contracture and implant failure (deflation for saline implants, rupture for silicone implants).
Patients with significant postpartum atrophy, glandular ptosis, and significant native tissue volume are at a higher risk for developing a double-bubble deformity.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Breast Augmentation; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 114(5):73e-81e, October 2004; Spear, Scott L.; Bulan, Erwin J.; Venturi, Mark L.
Breast Augmentation: Choosing the Optimal Incision, Implant, and Pocket Plane; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 105(6):2202-2216, May 2000; Hidalgo, David A.