Plenty of news outlets have covered the story of "Jasmine Tridevil," who claims to have had a third breast implanted through plastic surgery. Some have conducted supposedly serious ethical debates about whether “extreme plastic surgery” should be legal. One problem though: the whole thing didn't happen.
Few of the outlets covering the claim, however, seem to have sought any more evidence than some low-light images that could have easily involved a temporary plastic attachment, if not Photoshop. As one might expect, Snopes was rather less credulous, pointing out that there was no reliable corroborating evidence, and Tridevil has made sure no one can look close enough to be sure. Snopes also noted “Tridevil's” resemblance to model and massage therapist Alicia Hessler, who registered the Tridevil domain name, with no sign of a third breast in fairly recent photos.
Plastic surgeons agree that it would be possible to add a third breast, but the process would be long, expensive and breach ethical guidelines without a better reason than Tridevil has given. Dr. Matthew Schulman told The Daily Dot, “I would be happy to go on record claiming that this is a falsified story."
Schulman pointed out that to create a third breast in this way would require the insertion of a tissue expander to gradually stretch the skin between Hessler's breasts. After six months this could be replaced with a permanent implant. However, were this to be done, the middlebreast would be round and connected to the other two, while “Photos show a soft, pendulous breast that is clearly separate ...[and] is just not reflective of what we would be able to expect from this reconstruction procedure.”
Hessler admits to being the person behind Tridevil, but maintains the surgery was real. She hasn't responded to the discovery of a lost luggage item in her name including a “3 breast prosthesis.”
The whole thing may seem a harmless joke, but if hundreds of news outlets could fall for this (not to mention tens of millions who clicked on the stories), it's perhaps not so surprising that far more serious frauds have no problem gaining attention. But at least now you have a novel Halloween costume idea.