Cosmetic Surgery: Your Rights

Taking a trip to the hairdressers or booking in for a beauty treatment or therapy is a great way to lift your spirits. Millions of people every day put themselves in the hands of professionals in order to gain a look or simply reap the benefits from a treatment but what if something goes wrong? Where do we stand in such cases plus what can we do if we feel we have been treated unfairly? It can be a devastating experience to cope with, especially the aftermath, of when a treatment goes wrong. Let’s take a look at the facts surrounding Cosmetic Surgery.

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery is becoming more and more popular these days, while it is not just the privilege of the rich and famous as many of us find we can afford to book into a clinic in order to have a nip here, a tuck there or Botox treatments. While procedures have improved and prices have fallen in the UK unfortunately the cosmetic surgery industry has one failing in that it is unregulated.

There is no official organisation to impose guidelines on safety standards, while some clinics entice customers by offering cheap packages for procedures such as Botox and Liposuction as though they were simple practices. In fact any procedure that is invasive can result in complications for the patient or customer, while with many clinicians having little experience in many of the procedures they are performing we have good reason to be cautious about who we see.

What Should We Expect a Cosmetic Surgeon to Ask During a First Consultation?

There are a number of things a good surgeon will ask/tell a patient when they have their first consultation. These include

  • The dangers of any procedure
  • Give the patient a couple of weeks to think about the dangers plus if they want to proceed
  • What the procedure will achieve for the patient
  • Conduct a medical
  • Check for any pre-existing conditions such as heart problems, allergies or diabetes

What Should Patients Ask?

Here are just some of the questions you may wish to ask

  • The first thing any patient who is considering a cosmetic procedure should ask is are you registered with the GMC? The General Medical Council keeps a list of medical practitioners including plastic surgeons. It is advisable to choose a surgeon who is registered.
  • Ask the consultant if he or she is a member of The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, (BAAPS) or The British Association of Plastic Surgeons, (BAPS). Both these organisations uphold the standards of cosmetic surgery.
  • Do you have written information about the procedure that I can take away and read in order to make an informed decision as to whether I want to go ahead?
  • What are the risks of the procedure?
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • Do I need a general anaesthetic?
  • How much pain is involved?
  • Will I need time off work?

Possible Surgical Risks

As with any operation there are always surgical risks. Risks when opting for invasive cosmetic surgery include

  • Bad reaction to anaesthetic
  • Disfigurement or scars from surgery gone wrong
  • Severed nerves causing paralysis
  • Blood clots
  • Loss of blood or haemorrhage
  • Infections

Do I have Redress If I Am Not Happy with My Results?

Due to the fact that the cosmetic surgery industry is unregulated there has been a rise in the number of complaints due to botched surgery. Anyone thinking of embarking on a cosmetic procedure should carefully check out the credentials of their prospective surgeon. Cheap is not always the best especially when we are talking about procedures involving our bodies.

Compensation claims are becoming regular now with surgeons accused of giving patients an unrealistic expectation of what they can expect surgery to do for them. In some cases patients have to opt for further surgery to put mistakes right or correct damage which is a daunting thought. Cosmetic Clinics like all service providers are required by law under the Supply of Goods and Services Act to

  • Act with reasonable care
  • Act with reasonable skills
  • Patient expectations should be met up to a reasonable standard

If things go wrong in many cases you will have to pay for further corrective surgery. Successful compensation claims may result in damages being paid. There are many lawyers who specialise in cases where cosmetic surgery has gone wrong with many offering a no win no fee service. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) provides a comprehensive list of such lawyers.