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Your guide to cosmetic injuries

Woman with markings for surgery drawn on her face - cosmetic injuries

Over the last few decades, our expectations of our personal appearance have changed.  The prevalence of a celebrity culture and recent developments in cosmetic surgery have persuaded many people to have cosmetic surgery, either to retain their looks as they age or to correct what they see as defects in their appearance.

However the sad fact is that many people have cosmetic surgery but are unhappy with the outcome. A significant amount of this cosmetic work is carried out in private clinics rather than through the NHS.

Before carrying out any cosmetic surgery, patients must be counselled properly to ensure they understand what can be achieved by the cosmetic procedure they wish to have, so their expectations are properly managed.  The procedure itself should be performed to a satisfactory standard and the outcome achieved must be within the range of what was expected.  Counselling the patient and helping them understand what the procedure can do for them are just as important as performing the procedure properly. 

If the outcome of your cosmetic surgery was not what you expected and you want answers, you must speak to a specialist clinical negligence lawyer. Our expert clinical negligence team has helped clients to obtain legal redress and compensation for the suffering caused by their f cosmetic surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is on the rise...

  • 50,122 surgical procedures were performed in 2013 -  a rise of 17% on average since 2012.
  • Women accounted for a total of 45,365 procedures - more than 90% of all cosmetic procedures in 2013.
  • The most popular cosmetic surgery - breast augmentation – accounted for 11,123 surgical procedures in 2013 - a rise of 13%  on the previous year.
  • The biggest increase in surgery was liposuction ( removal of excess body fat) - 3,772 procedures were performed in 2013 – a rise of 43% since 2012.

                                    (Latest available figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons – BAAPS)

Which procedures lead to the most common types of cosmetic injury claims?

  • Breast enlargement - defective breast implants   
  • Breast uplift (mastopexy)
  • Breast reduction (mammoplasty)

Around a third of all breast surgery will require a further procedure within ten years of the initial operation to rectify complications with scar tissue, sagging or a ruptured implant.

Additional symptoms pointing to a negligent procedure include infection, numbness, loss of nipple sensitivity, discomfort, loss of alignment, creasing, and fluid build-up around the implant.

Following surgery, a common problem is bleeding and bruising.  Other temporary issues could include infection, loss of muscle function or sensation, scarring, and tissue death, but if these persist, they may indicate negligence in the procedure. 

Bruising, pain and swelling will naturally occur after intensive surgery and scarring will often take a few months to properly heal. Complications which can arise include infections, bleeding under the skin, blood clots in the lung, perforation of the bowel, fluid around the wound, and numbness.

  • Botox treatment  

Treatment administered by a non- registered and unlicensed practitioner can result in a number of post-procedure complications including, bleeding, muscle weakness, eyelid droop, speech and breathing difficulties, infection, or an allergic reaction.

  • Laser skin resurfacing ( inc. treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, Removal of warts sun spots and age spots)

As a surgical tool, lasers are used to treat both the top layers of damaged skin and deeper within the skin tissue without damaging the outer layers. However, incorrect use can cause serious injury.

  • Other complications - damage to nerves, arteries and organs.

 Negligence after Cosmetic Surgery

Contracting an infection is not necessarily a sign of negligence. During the recovery from cosmetic surgery, however, common errors can include failing to notice that a patient is developing an infection and improper aftercare, which can also lead to disfigurement.

Was your cosmetic surgeon a registered specialist?

Any doctor who carries out cosmetic surgery is required to be registered with the General Medical Council and should also have undertaken special training.

However, the rules do not apply to doctors who registered with the Council before 2002.

How Your Legal Friend can help you..

When a surgical procedure undertaken for cosmetic treatment goes wrong, if complications later arise or a serious failure occurs even many months later, it is vital to seek professional legal advice immediately.

You have a maximum of three years within which to begin an action for clinical negligence, either from:

  • The date of your injury, or
  • The date when you first discovered your injury was the result of an action you now believe was negligent.

As experienced clinical negligence specialists, we know that you will want to seek an explanation for why you received a standard of treatment that fell below expected professional standards.

We are committed to ensuring victims of clinical negligence obtain the answers they deserve, which could prevent others from suffering in a similar way.