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Topic: Tumor not removed during mastectomy

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Nov 19, 2019 02:10PM

shoger73 wrote:

I underwent a bilateral, nipple sparing mastectomy with direct to implant reconstruction on 10/22/19. I was diagnosed with stage 1 IDC, grade 1, ER/PR+, HER2 negative. One tumor, left breast 1.4cm

The pathology of my surgical specimens show no biopsy clip, tumor, or biopsy cavity present. My surgeon was confident the tumor was removed but sent me for a breast MRI to confirm. The MRI shows that the tumor, and the clip are still in my body. I was under a short term insurance policy that ended on 10/31/2019 and now have to wait until January 1st for new insurance.

How common is it to have the tumor ‘missed’ during mastectomy? I now have to have an additional surgery to remove it and paying out of pocket for this seems crazy since it should have been removed in the first place. Any afvice

Dx 9/19/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/21/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 11/9/2019
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Nov 19, 2019 02:27PM Rah2464 wrote:

Shoger73 I cannot find the words to express how sorry I am that this has happened to you. Is your tumor close to your chest wall? I also had the same surgery, BMx, nipple sparing, direct to implant. I was well aware that they cannot remove 100% of your breast tissue, but I had not heard of this. I hope others will post if they have experienced something similar. Thank goodness you had the MRI to confirm that the surgery was incomplete.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 19, 2019 04:20PM Mavericksmom wrote:

Shoger73, I too am shocked! Personally I would call a lawyer! You signed consent forms to remove a tumor and that isn't what happened. The reason for tumor markers is to be sure to get the tumor out. They should have brought in an x-ray machine into the OR to be sure they got the tumor!

There is a legal component and it sounds like grounds for a legitimate malpractice case to me. Many lawyers don't get paid unless they win your case. I am not saying you should sue and expect to get rich from it, but you should not have to pay anything to “fix" this! You also shouldn't have to wait to fix it other than time to heal before another surgery. Definitely seek both medical and legal advice! You undoubtedly will lose money from added expenses unrelated to the surgery, like time off work, etc. Beware of listening to doctor/hospital without legal advice. They would likely be more interested in protecting themselves than you.


Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Nov 19, 2019 04:56PM DorothyB wrote:

Wow!! I'm so sorry.

Diag. 4/19/2019 ER+ PR+ HER2 neg Lumpectomy 5/29/2019 IDC w/ DICS 2.0 cm Grade 3
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Nov 19, 2019 06:17PM ElaineTherese wrote:

I would consider calling a lawyer. Some offer free consults for medical malpractice suits. Lawyers do medical malpractice suits on contingency; that is, if they think you have a good case, they will prepare the case without pay in the expectation that they can get you a substantial settlement (from which they will take a cut). Maybe even the threat of a malpractice suit could get you a discount on your additional surgery. Just a thought.

((Hugs))

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/23/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/17/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/12/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/25/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/9/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Nov 19, 2019 06:38PM - edited Nov 19, 2019 06:39PM by WC3

shoger73:

That sounds egregious! Part of the reason for placing the clip is to prevent things like this. I would definately call it to the attention of the hospital and I think the surgeon and hospital should perform the second surgery free of charge.

Pathologic complete response (pCR) to chemotherapy. Dx 2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 5/31/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/14/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Nov 19, 2019 11:18PM godisone wrote:

Classic case of medical negligence. I understand that its difficult to sue a hospital and then expect treatment from them. You should definitely talk to your lawyers and also to your doctors so that you can get treatment at a different hospital and meanwhile you should definitely sue this hospital. not only will that provide you money required for your treatment but would also be a landmark for the hospital and the people involved with it to understand and never play with life of their patients.

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Nov 20, 2019 04:22AM shoger73 wrote:

Thank you all for your responses! I'm starting to feel like I'm going crazy wondering how this could happen. My breast surgeon stated he has never had this happen and told me he is definitely willing to go back in free of charge. The problem is getting the hospital (OR), anesthesiology, etc to do it free of charge. Everyone else just seems concerned about my insurance plan and the fact that I cannot COBRA it. It was a short term plan I purchased in April after leaving my job of 25 years. It ended on 10/31/19, and now due to the fact that I have pre-existing condition, I have to wait until January 1st. In addition to still having the tumor, I'm having to jump through hoops to prove to my insurance company that I did not have, or have knowledge of, breast cancer when I purchased the short term plan.

(Sorry for rambling, my thoughts are just so jumbled!)

This morning I remembered that I was told by the breast center at the hospital that on the morning of my surgery, they would come and get me after I was checked in and I would have a chest x-ray. That was never done. I WAS taken to nuclear medicine to get the injection for the sentinel nodes, but no chest xray at the breast center. I'm wondering if that x-ray was to be used during surgery to pin point the tumor location.

Dx 9/19/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/21/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 11/9/2019
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Nov 20, 2019 06:18AM SummerAngel wrote:

I'm usually the last person to say "sue!", but what happened to you is shocking. You should definitely talk to a lawyer.

Age at dx: 45. Oncotype, left-side tumor: 9. Right side had multifocal IDC and "extensive" LCIS. Isolated tumor cells in 1 right-side node. Dx 3/27/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 4/27/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/1/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/1/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/27/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/3/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction
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Nov 20, 2019 09:09AM WC3 wrote:

shoger73:

Your state might have an emergency short term medicaid. You can ask to talk to the hospital social worker about this. Some hospitals here have used this to perform emergency surgery on the otherwise uninsured.

Pathologic complete response (pCR) to chemotherapy. Dx 2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 5/31/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/14/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Nov 21, 2019 04:13PM shoger73 wrote:

Thank you for the responses. It helps to know I’m not crazy! There’s been a lot of scrambling around, but I’m set to have surgery again on Tuesday and it’s sounding like no cost to me. I surely hope so, as I’m putting my faith in my care team to make this right. It’s still hard to believe I went through a double mastectomy and this tumor is still in my body

Dx 9/19/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/21/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 11/9/2019
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Nov 21, 2019 11:39PM Meow13 wrote:

Good luck, hope you heal quickly.

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Nov 22, 2019 03:02AM Rah2464 wrote:

Shoger please let us know how things go for you. I am really pleased that you are going back in without having to push the issue with your medical team or having to wait until January and that this is being done without additional charges (which should most definitely be the case the medical center should be falling all over itself to ensure you get the proper care this time around). I hope you heal quickly. Sending you big hugs.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 22, 2019 03:29AM Freudosa wrote:

Please make sure you have the hospital and surgeons intent to not charge you in writing. I’ve learned the hard way that if it isn’t in writing, it did not happen. Best of luck to you!






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Jan 18, 2020 09:20AM Marly1 wrote:

So sorry to hear you went through this. I am going thru something similar.

I underwent a lumpectomy on 1/8/20. I was diagnosed with stage 1 IDC, grade 1, ER/PR+, HER2 negative. One tumor, left breast .6cm

The pathology of my surgical specimens show no biopsy clip, tumor, or biopsy cavity present. My surgeon sent me for multiple diagnostic mammograms 1 week post surgery (this past week). No clip found. I have a MRI scheduled in 3 weeks. If there is no sign of the tumor or clip, then radiation to start the following week. I have a similar question as to how often the tumor is missed? Also how often is the clip and Savi Scout lost? The not knowing is the worst. I've been wondering if it makes sense to ask for a second opinion on the pathology report.

I hope your second surgery went well and you are on the road to recovery!

Dx 12/6/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/7/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Jan 18, 2020 10:03PM - edited Jan 18, 2020 10:06PM by buttonsmachine

I'm a bit late to this conversation, but something similar happened to me. Feel free to send me a private message. My advice would be to get to an NCI designated cancer center for a second opinion before you do further treatment, and have your case reviewed by their tumor board asap. There are usually social workers there who can connect you to insurance and other programs for coverage too. I hope that helps.

Initial diagnosis at age 32. Dx 8/2016, IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 10/2017, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 2/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 19, 2020 06:56AM Yogatyme wrote:

This is so alarming!! As for surgeon and hospital “going back in” free of charge.....it’s much cheaper for them to do this than face increases in malpractice premiums secondary to a law suit. While I’m glad you are getting the care, you can believe they are taking care of themselves as well as you. I’m like Summer Angel and am the last person to say sue, but this seems so negligent. I hope they get everything the second time around

Yogatyme Surgery 3/2/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 7/19/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/12/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jan 23, 2020 05:51PM shoger73 wrote:

UPDATE: Hello all, and thank you for all the well wishes and advice! I had my second surgery on 11/26/19 and the tumor has been removed! I had a rougher time with this surgery and am just recently feeling back to ‘normal’. I think the anesthesia did a number on me this time

Apparently my tumor was located near my second rib - higher than what is normally taken during mastectomy. I’m not sure how it was even caught on mammogram to begin with, but I’m feeling very lucky. My surgeons and entire care team has been wonderful during this process

Dx 9/19/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/21/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 11/9/2019
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Jan 24, 2020 05:47AM Marly1 wrote:

You have been through the ringer! I am glad you are starting to feel back to normal. I hope you have a good support network! Sending postive thoughts your way!

Dx 12/6/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 1/7/2020 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel

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