Can I Claim For Plastic Surgery That Went Wrong?
The Law Of… Mishandling Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery
Despite recent falls in the number of people undergoing the procedure, plastic surgery remains hugely popular in the UK. Whether for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons, a wide variety of operations are performed each and every year, with breast enlargements and facelifts among the most requested. But what happens when plastic surgery goes wrong?
Medical Negligence claims solicitor, Sarah Holdsworth, answers frequently asked questions about cosmetic procedures and what happens when they are negligently performed.
What Is Plastic Surgery?
Plastic and cosmetic surgery concerns the repair, reconstruction and alteration of the body through surgical procedure and often the transfer of tissue from elsewhere on the body. This may be as a result of injury or disfigurement, or, in the case of cosmetic surgery, to achieve what the patient believes to be a more agreeable look.
Plastic surgery is carried out by specialist practitioners in both private clinics and on the NHS. Surgery for cosmetic reasons is mostly unavailable on the NHS and has to be paid for privately.
What Types Of Plastic Surgery Are There?
There are a wide number of plastic surgery procedures available, covering most parts of the body.
Some of the most popular include:
- Breast augmentation – Increasing the size or altering the shape of the breast(s) using saline or silicone gel implants, or contouring
- Eyelid surgery – Blepharoplasty corrects or alters the eyelids to eliminate drooping or a 'hooded' appearance
- Facelift – Also known as a rhytidectomy, this procedure smooths and tightens the skin of the face and neck to remove sagging and wrinkles
- Liposuction – A procedure that removes excess and unwanted body fat via a surgical suction pump
- Rhinoplasty – Known commonly as a 'nose job', this procedure corrects, reduces or reconstructs the nose for surgical or cosmetic reasons.
Plastic surgery should be undertaken by a qualified surgeon trained in the relevant procedure.
What Complications Can Arise When Plastic Surgery Goes Wrong?
Dependent upon the specific procedure there are various complications that can arise from botched plastic surgery.
On a general level, plastic surgery complications can include:
- Infection – In severe cases infection may become life-threatening and require subsequent surgery.
- Avoidable scarring – Although scars from incisions will be inevitable, poorly performed surgery can mean these are disfiguring or avoidably conspicuous.
- Implant failure or rejection – Where a plastic surgery implant leaks, alters shape or is rejected by the body and requires additional surgery to remove or replace.
- Excess bleeding – Blood loss, as a result of the incisions made into skin and tissue, is possible both during and after a plastic surgery procedure. If it is excessive, it can become a potential threat, requiring a transfusion.
- Failed grafts – If the blood supply to a skin graft is reduced or interrupted, the graft can fail and die, needing removal to prevent further contamination of surrounding healthy tissue.
Some of these and other complications can develop without medical negligence having occurred.
If you have suffered any complication following plastic surgery, which you believe to be the result of medical negligence, you could be entitled to compensation.
What Can I Do If My Plastic Surgery Went Wrong?
If your cosmetic or plastic surgery went wrong, causing you unnecessary pain, suffering and further complications, you should seek professional legal advice to discuss your options. An independent law firm with a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor will be able to inform you whether you have grounds to make a successful claim for damages.
Why Should I Make A Claim For Botched Plastic Surgery?
A successful claim for plastic surgery that went wrong will:
- Provide you with a financial settlement that can be used to provide any support, ongoing treatment or physical, emotional or psychological care that is needed as a result of a botched procedure
- Increase awareness of the errors that led to your suffering, ensuring measures are put in place to prevent them being repeated on other patients.
How Do I Make A Compensation Claim For Plastic Surgery That Went Wrong?
Simpson Millar's medical negligence team has extensive experience of successfully representing claims of this nature. They can provide you with the necessary guidance to start your claim.
How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim For Botched Plastic Surgery?
You have 3 years from what is known as 'date of knowledge' to start your claim.
'Date of knowledge' refers to when either the plastic surgery procedure took place, or when the resulting complications were first diagnosed. You will be unable to make a claim for damages if this 3 year time period has passed.
If the case concerns a child, you have until their 18th birthday before the 3 year time limit begins.
What Do I Do Next?
If your plastic, reconstructive or cosmetic surgery went wrong and caused you further suffering, speak to one of our expert team. Simpson Millar has the experience to ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.
To find out if you have grounds for a claim, contact us today.