Florida woman’s purported surgery to get third breast raises ethical, medical questions

As photos of a Florida woman who purportedly underwent plastic surgery to get a third breast go viral, questions about the medical implications and ethics behind the alleged procedure linger.

The 21-year-old woman, who has identified herself as Jasmine Tridevil on Facebook, said in a radio interview that she had a difficult time finding a doctor who would perform the purported procedure because “they are breaking the code of ethics to do it.” She claimed to be turned down by more than 50 doctors before finding one who would agree.

“All physicians, which of course includes plastic surgeons performing elective procedures, have an ethical obligation to ‘do no harm’ and to help our patients,” Dr. Tracy Pfeifer,  an aesthetic plastic surgeon based in New York told FoxNews.com.

“Using our surgical talents to create a deformity so the patient can pursue ‘celebrity’ is not my idea of helping a patient,” Pfeifer said, adding that she would not perform the procedure on a patient.

Tridevil, who claims she is currently filming a reality show that she hopes MTV will pick up, said she paid her doctor $20,000 for the purported procedure, and that he allegedly had her sign a confidentiality agreement not to identify him.

The doctor who Tridevil says performed the surgery wouldn't face sanctions unless she were to file a complaint.

“A case with the medical board starts with a patient complaint, and because [Tridevil has] already signed a waiver, she probably signed away her right to make a complaint,” Dr. Daniel Mills, vice president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) told FoxNews.com.

Mills, who also served on the ASAPS ethics committee, noted that while there is nothing specifically in the organization's code of ethics that would prevent the procedure from being done, it’s likely because nobody would ever consider making a patient “look like a circus act.”

Both Mills and Pfeifer doubted the likelihood that the physician behind the procedure is a board-certified plastic surgeon.

“I wouldn’t want people to assume that a board-certified plastic surgeon would do that,” Pfeifer said of the procedure. “As board-certified plastic surgeons, we usually go to great lengths to understand the patient and what is motivating them so we can make good decisions.”

Tridevil’s purported third breast may also have long-term health effects and further implications if she later seeks to have it removed.

“We don’t know if will affect her ability to have a good screening of a mammogram,” Pfeifer said.

Removing a surgically added appendage could also create scarring issues.

“She can have it removed but we don’t know what’s going to happen to that skin,” Pfeifer said, explaining that the skin in the center of the chest along the sternum doesn’t heal well. “She’s more prone to having hypertrophic scars.”

“I find it very distasteful and there are other issues, even coming from a medical standpoint,” Mills said.

“It would be interesting to find out the actual credentials of whoever did this,” Mills said, adding “it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it was not a board-certified plastic surgeon.”