"Cyst Removal Day Surgery"

About: North Devon District Hospital / Breast surgery

(as the patient),

I visited the breast clinic to get a lump checked out. The doctor I saw decided they needed a second opinion and fetched the consultant who said it was a sebaceous cyst and that they'd schedule an operation to remove it. I was not told at any point that I did not have to have it removed, no choice at all was given.

Arriving at the Petter Day Unit for my surgery, I was made comfortable by the wonderful nursing staff and awaited the surgeon. When a doctor appeared, they said that I would need a general anaesthetic, instead of the local that I had been told about. They felt that the liquid from the injection would make the cyst hard to locate. The consultant I had previously seen came over and said no, a local will be fine.

I also had my blood pressure taken, which rang no alarm bells even though both systolic and diastolic were over thirty points lower (and therefore very close to hypotension) than at my pre-op assessment the day before! I did not point this out, as I have a history of anorexia and am used to low blood pressure, but had it been anyone else I would have been quite surprised at the change.

I was taken to the theatre, which looked like a messy classroom, not exactly confidence-inspiring. I was anaesthetised and introduced to the operating surgeon - the doctor who had originally assessed the lump. About thirty minutes in to the operation, the surgeon asked one of the nurses to fetch the consultant because they "couldn't tell" if they had removed the cyst or not. The consultant came in, said that they had, and left again. At this point the anaesthetic was beginning to wear off, and I could feel the heat from the cauterising of my veins.

What I was told would be a "15 minute" operation was turning into an hour long mess. I was given another local, and eventually it was over. The surgeon then instructed a nurse to send the sample off for testing. Nobody had said it required testing, so this was quite worrying.

I stayed in recovery for about five minutes, with a further twenty back on the ward before being allowed to leave. I was not offered any follow up appointments or anything.

I was shocked at the lack of skill of the surgeon, and the brashness of the consultant, both with the surgeon and myself. Also, had I known that cysts are not usually excised and that the surgery was optional, I would not have even had the surgery, as I think the scar will be worse than the lump.

On the other hand, every nurse/HCA that I met was lovely, kind and caring. I could not fault them at all.

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Response from Jayne Kruszewski, Customer Relations Manager, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Patient

Firstly thank you for taking the time to post your comments on the website, I can only imagine how anxious you were during your recent procedure, and I do hope you have since been given a follow up appointment or given the information surrounding the results of the biopsy.

After reading your story I can see there were several aspects of concern related to communication and care given during your operation. Whilst you advise the nurses were very caring I do feel we need to look into your concerns, and would be grateful if you could contact us through PALS on 01271 314090 to gain more specific information to be able to look into what happened.

Many thanks


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