The number of people turning to cosmetic surgery procedures and non-surgical treatments in the UK has significantly risen in recent years. We now spend more money than ever on an increasing range of beauty and cosmetic treatments.
In a bid to be more beautiful, a total of 43,172 cosmetic surgical procedures were carried out in 2012 according to research by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). However, as the number of cosmetic surgical procedures increases, sadly, so do the victims of complications requiring corrective surgery.
These figures only represent surgical procedures and do not include the significant rise in complications related to non-surgical “lunchtime” plastic procedures, such as Botox injections and facial fillers which are injected to plump up lips and skin.
So called “non-invasive cosmetic procedures” have little regulation and there is no quick fix when things go wrong and a patient can be left high and dry with no help. At present anyone can inject a patient’s face with filler after just a weekend course, without any medical qualifications or the need to be registered with a regulatory body.
When any type of cosmetic procedure goes wrong, the physical effects on an individual can be devastating and often lead to serious psychological effects, in addition to the financial implications of corrective surgery.
According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Rajiv Grover; “Non-surgical does not mean non-medical. Treatment with dermal fillers has clear benefits but also risks – it is not just about who can wield a syringe but who will have the capabilities to deal with any possible complications”.
Unqualified practitioners administering fillers incorrectly, poor patient selection and inadequate regulation (allowing unproven substances to be used in the UK) are some of the main reasons why complications can occur.
A recent survey of BAAPS members revealed a shocking 69% of surgeons saw patients suffering complications from temporary fillers and nearly half (49%) of surgeons saw problems with semi or permanent fillers. Out of those patients who suffered problems with permanent substances, over 8 out of ten (84%) required corrective surgery or were deemed untreatable due to the damage caused.
Following the recent scandal in which 50,000 British women were given faulty PIP breast implants filled with industrial grade filler used in mattresses, a review led by NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh into the regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry was commissioned. The review found that, there was almost no regulation for non-surgical cosmetic procedures. Sir Bruce Keogh said; “If you have a buttock implant, a calf implant or fillers, you have no more regulation of that than you have around a toothbrush or a ballpoint pen”.
The report recommended that all cosmetic surgery procedures from breast implants to laser hair removal should be carried out solely by medical practitioners with appropriate training and specific qualifications with proper redress if things go wrong.
It is no surprise therefore that the most recent winner of BBCs The Apprentice has come under strong criticism for the chain of Botox clinics she intends to set up. Although Dr Leah Totton’s selling point was that she is a proper doctor, the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) has expressed its concern that “a very junior doctor” should be held out as an authority in cosmetic interventions.
Anyone planning to undergo a cosmetic procedure should make sure that they are aware of the experience of the person who is going to be undertaking the procedure and any potential risks and side effects. If in doubt, seek a second opinion.
If you or a member of your family have suffered an injury due to mistakes made during a cosmetic procedure please contact our specialist team of clinical negligence solicitors who can advise if you are eligible to claim compensation.