Cosmetic Surgery Desperation and Depression

Angel D., who asked that ABCNews.com not use her full last name, said her first "bargain" breast enhancement eventually cost her eight years of painful revision surgeries, multiple cross-country trips and a total of $45,000 instead of $2,000.

A woman's botched nose job requires careful reconstruction. Courtesy Vince Marin, MD, FACS of the La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre.

"It was just like flaps of skin," said Angel. "I had indents around my right breast, all around my areola. If you put your finger in it was as like Play-Doh."

That was her description after doctors corrected her first botched breast enhancement. Angel said it all started in 2000, with a Christmas gift from her ex-fiance.

"I didn't have bad breasts to start with, I was 90 pounds and I was a small 32B," she said. "But I was dating somebody who wanted big boobs." A size D to be exact.

Angel said everything went well until three months after her surgery.

"My right breast became hard to the touch and I couldn't lie on my side because it was so painful. Instead of being round, it started looking square in areas," Angel said. "It just looked deformed."

Angel later found out she had a capsule contracture, or shrinking scar tissue around the breast.

Suspicious Cosmetic Offices Can Harm

When Angel returned to the 20-physician plastic surgeon office near Boca Raton, Fla., the physician who had done her work was gone. Angel said she later found out that all the doctors in the practice were nonstaff contractors and that the only recourse at the office was to pay full price for another fix.

She had a capsule contracture three months after her second surgery, along new deep scars and an infection. Finally, Angel went to an expert surgeon in Manhattan to get the implants out.

"He had shown me after the fact, there was green inside there and it was infected," said Angel. "I went on eight consultations after that and nobody wanted to touch me. They like primary consultations. They don't like to be responsible for fixing other people's mistakes."

For years Angel lived with virtually no breasts because each surgery had to remove scar tissue from her original form.

Eventually Angel found help with Dr. Jason Pozner of Boca Raton, Fla. Several surgeries later, including complete reconstruction of her right breast, Angel said she's happy.

"My breasts now are normal," said Angel. "I really had thought it was hopeless, so I'm very lucky."

Angel said that her first doctor was offering a suspiciously low price, but at least he was a certified plastic surgeon. Others may not be so lucky on the first try, as the economy tempts nonspecialists into trying cosmetic procedures.

"In this economy, with plastic surgery going down, you're going to have nonspecialists who are looking for a buck," said Alex Kuczynski, a New York Times contributor and author of the book "Beauty Junkies: In Search of the Thinnest Thighs, Perkiest Breasts, Smoothest Faces, Whitest Teeth, and Skinniest, Most Perfect Toes in America?"

To be called a full-fledge plastic surgeon takes work. Doctors must complete five to seven years of plastic surgery residency training after medical school and pass the certification requirements for plastic surgery from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

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