Solicitor and Managing Partner
A cosmetic procedure is one that is not required for a medical or functional reason – its main goal is to improve someone’s physical appearance. This could be for a variety of reasons:
In 2021, over 15,000 cosmetic surgery procedures were performed across the UK. However, this does not include reconstructive procedures.
Plastic surgery aims to repair and reconstruct missing or damaged tissue and skin following an illness, accident or birth defect. This could include rebuilding a woman’s breasts after a mastectomy, repairing a cleft lip and palate, or removing prominent birthmarks.
Purely, cosmetic surgeries are primarily performed by private practices rather than the NHS. However, there are exceptions if the patient requires the procedures for psychological or other health reasons, such as:
Cosmetic procedures, whether performed by cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons or another healthcare professional, carry risks like any other surgery. While most surgeries are performed to a good standard and leave patients happy with the results, mistakes can and do happen, affecting people both physically and emotionally.
Poor surgical technique could lead to a result you did not expect or want, such as asymmetrical or lopsided breasts, or a misshapen nose. This can be deeply psychologically damaging, especially when these procedures are specifically undergone in order to make you look and feel better.
Whether your surgeon failed to give a realistic view of what the procedure can and cannot achieve, or they failed to make you fully aware of the risks associated with your surgery beforehand, poor consenting can be negligent treatment.
During surgery, a nerve or blood vessel may be cut or overstretched by mistake. The impact of this can vary significantly from case to case, from losing sensitivity in places, to parts of the body being left completely paralysed. In addition, a cut blood vessel may lead to abnormal bleeding leading to bruising and clots (haematomas) post-surgery.
Open surgical wounds and cuts can provide entry points for bacteria and viruses, making infection a very real risk following any form of cosmetic surgery.
If a dermal filler moves away from the intended area of the body, it may cause you to suffer rashes, swelling, itching and potentially allergic reactions, leading to anaphylaxis.
An anaesthetist may use too much anaesthetic during a surgery, placing your health in jeopardy, or too little, which could result in anaesthesia awareness.
There is inevitably scarring following any procedure. However, when the aim of cosmetic surgery is to look better afterwards. Poor technique of patient selection can result in extensive or unacceptable scarring, which can be both unpleasant to look at and painful.
A lack of reasonable aftercare following cosmetic surgery, whether it is the application of compression garments or massaging scar tissue, can lead to unwanted results.
Have any of the above affected you or a loved one following cosmetic surgery, either relating to your appearance or your health and wellbeing? We guide you through the claims process to help you secure compensation for corrective treatments and any further support you might need.
The physical and psychological damage that can result from a negligent cosmetic procedure can be significant, and should never be underestimated.
It could be that your result is not what was expected, meaning you need to undergo further procedures to correct the issue and take more time off work to recover. It is important to note that it may take several months to recover from cosmetic surgery, and some problems will heal naturally over time.
Or, as is the case in other surgeries, nerve or blood vessel damage can have long-term consequences on your health. This could range from a minor loss of mobility to total paralysis, or you could become very unwell due to internal bleeding that is not addressed post-surgery.
Furthermore, if you were seeking to improve your appearance through surgery to benefit your body image and self-esteem, we recognise that an unsatisfactory result can be an even bigger blow to your emotional and psychological wellbeing.
The scope of potential outcomes is vast, and at Gadsby Wicks we never undervalue how a poorly performed cosmetic surgery can change your lifestyle, relationships and career. We take the time to understand exactly how you have been impacted by the negligent care you received to ensure your compensation reflects this.
In the unfortunate event that a patient dies as a result of negligence during surgery, those who depended on the deceased financially, or benefited from services they provided for free, may be entitled to claim for compensation.
Like other surgical complication claims, we will work with you establish the three key elements needed for any successful claim:
To help us do this, we engage with independent, impartial cosmetic surgeons, who are both actively working in their field and understand the legal and medical tests we require of them. Their expertise helps us understand whether negligence was the most likely cause of your pain and suffering, and whether your cosmetic surgeon gave you realistic expectations.
We will also speak to relevant medical experts on how much your circumstances have changed compared to if your surgery had gone according to plan. This will be crucial in quantifying the compensation you deserve.
Furthermore, we will thoroughly investigate all available evidence to get to the bottom of your case, including:
We can provide this specialist legal advice and support on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. This means you will only pay us if we win your case, with our payment recovered from the compensation you receive.
As qualified and specialised medical negligence solicitors with over 20 years experience, we are experts at handling cosmetic surgery claim cases.
Our credentials and established reputation mean that hospitals and trusts are willing to work with us, and often recommend us, to seek fair outcomes for claimants to receive the compensation they deserve.
Trust us with your compensation claim and contact us today to see how we can help you.
Due to the breadth of outcomes that can occur following a negligent cosmetic surgery, it is impossible to suggest an ‘average’ settlement amount. It will depend entirely on your unique circumstances and how you have been affected in the short and long-term.
For instance, in the case of Miss H, she consulted a private plastic surgeon to undergo breast reduction surgery, as the size was causing her both embarrassment and back pain. Read more on her story below:
Had the outcome for Miss H presented a more permanent issue, say partial paralysis due to nerve damage, then the compensation would likely have been greater.
We always take the time necessary to understand your specific case and how you’ve been affected, so we pursue the right amount of compensation for your needs.
At Gadsby Wicks, medical negligence is all that we specialise in, and we have the expertise and experience to support your cosmetic surgery claim from start to finish.
It is not uncommon for people to have cosmetic procedures performed overseas, as this can be cheaper compared than in the UK.
We deal with breaches of obligation in England and Wales. If the contract for the procedure is made in England or Wales and then performed overseas, we can support a medical negligence claim. If the contract is made outside of England and Wales, we cannot help someone make a claim.
While every case is different, we would expect a cosmetic surgery claim to take between two and five years to reach final settlement. However, this depends on the stance taken by the defendants, and how long it takes for medical experts to reach an accurate prognosis.
Like other medical negligence claims, most cosmetic surgery claims must be made within 3 years of the injury being realised. However, there are exceptions to this:
Furthermore, the date of knowledge ensures that the three-year time limit only begins at the point a claimant could reasonably realise that something was wrong with them. This is useful if it takes several months for a surgical error to become apparent, such as a nerve gradually dying due to ongoing blood loss.
If your injury did occur over three years ago, we would still urge you to contact us. Every claim is at the discretion of the Court, and we can advise on whether your claim is likely to be allowed.
If you or a loved one have experienced issues from cosmetic surgery and would like to speak to someone about your options, our team is here to listen and advise you on your next steps.