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Cosmetic surgery procedures get a nip and tuck

New regulations and safety advice have been launched this year recognising the growing popularity – and potential risks – of cosmetic surgery procedures ranging from breast implants to tummy tucks and facelifts.

A previously unregulated industry, cosmetic surgery procedures have been hit by controversy in recent years with negative stories never far from the headlines. From the PIP implants scandal just a few years ago which involved leaking and unapproved silicon gel, to shocking images of celebrities post procedure and frequent media headlines on cosmetic surgery gone horribly wrong.

One recent example involved a woman who had undergone an eye lift procedure however, the surgeon removed too much skin. Rather than having the desired post surgery younger appearance, she was instead left unable to go to sleep without taping her eyes closed due to the botched procedure.

The General Medical Council, the body responsible for regulating doctors, has stepped in to add regulation and guidance to limit and ultimately stop, incidence of negligence involving cosmetic surgery procedures.

Its main message is that cosmetic surgery should be approached with the same level of caution as any other surgical procedure and for these services not to be marketed or positioned in the same way to consumers as other relatively risk free beauty treatments.

The new guidance includes a ban on promotional tactics being used to convince new patients into having cosmetic surgery procedures. Two for one offers or giving away treatments as a competition prize are provided as examples.

It is difficult to believe that such tactics were allowed at all given the potential risks involved, surgery is surgery after all.

The consequences of breaking the GMC’s new rules could see less than scrupulous cosmetic surgery practitioners struck off the medical register, better aligning the consequences of malpractice with other medical professionals.

For those considering going under the knife for cosmetic reasons either to enhance their appearance or perhaps for reconstructive purposes following serious illness, better protection is now in place.

The Royal College of Surgeons provides individuals with the following advice:

• Reputable cosmetic surgery individuals or practices should be registered with the General Medical Council

• Find a reputable cosmetic surgeon through a recommendation by a GP

• The hospital or clinic undertaking the procedure should offer patients an initial consultation with the surgeon who will carry out the procedure

• Discuss the availability of After Care – check that support is available post procedure

• Ensure that the total cost is discussed from the outset

• Approach inappropriate promotional messages or offers with caution – cosmetic surgery is as serious as any other type of operation

• Research and read as much information as possible about the cosmetic surgery procedure being considered before proceeding

• Any concerns about a surgeon or cosmetic surgery clinic or hospital should be reported to the GMC

When it goes wrong it can leave patients with significant scarring or worse, unable to function as normal. If you have suffered a significant injury following a cosmetic surgery procedure, contact a member of our team for a free initial consultation on 0800 085 3295. Alternatively, contact us with details of your potential claim by email

Download our step by step guide to pursuing a medical negligence claim guide Find out more about our Medical Negligence team
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