An American woman who claims to have paid £12,000 ($20,000) for plastic surgery to have a third breast has denied that the bizarre story is a hoax.
The 21-year-old is filming a self-produced reality show about her life in Tampa, Florida, in the hope of getting a slot on MTV and her claims have gone viral around the world.
Online critics have pointed out that almost all of the pictures and footage of Miss Hessler’s “third breast” appear to have been taken and uploaded to social media by her and little third-party proof is available.
She told the Sun that her show will include footage of the operation as evidence.
“This is not a fake, I had the procedure done,” she added. “If people don't believe it, that's up to them.”
If the cosmetic surgeon who carried out the procedure is identified, he or she could be struck off the register for violating ethics rules.
The American Board of Plastic Surgeons’ code of conduct dictates that no operation must be carried out without “full respect for human dignity” and procedures must “enhance the norm”.
Dr Ash Mosahebi, a consultant plastic surgeon and member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said it would be “absurd” for any clinic to agree to add a third breast.
He added: “It is our duty to ensure that patients are physically and psychologically in good health before undergoing any cosmetic surgery - a patient making this request would certainly sound alarm bells, which is why she would have been refused treatment by any ethical surgeon.”
Dr Mosahebi warned that the addition of a third breast would scar a patient for life and could risk complications including symmastia, where the breasts become a single mass.
Referring to the triple-breasted woman in Total Recall, he said it was cosmetic surgeons’ job to educate against “bizarre requests patients dream up out of a science fiction movie”.
“This story, if it is true, is a sad account of how a psychologically vulnerable patient could eventually find a surgeon willing to comply with a ridiculous request,” he added.
Miss Hessler did not respond to requests to comment when contacted by The Independent.Reuse content