Cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK are by and large performed by highly qualified and experienced surgeons. Patients are usually pleased with their new look and benefit from the greater self-confidence it gives them. However, with hundreds of thousands of operations taking place each year, there are inevitably going to be a minority of cases where cosmetic surgery goes wrong. Whether complications with surgery have put your health at risk or you’ve simply been left disappointed with the results, knowing what to do next is vital.
Seeking medical help
Cosmetic surgery carries all the same risks as other types of surgery including blood clots and infections – patients are at risk of these complications even if they have the most gifted surgeon operating on them. Any responsible surgeon would have informed you of these risks during your consultation, and made sure you had the knowledge to spot any warning signs that may have occurred post-surgery.
Whatever the reason for your concern, don’t just wait to see if it will get better naturally – always contact your surgeon or make an appointment to see your GP immediately if there’s any risk to your health. In the event of an emergency don’t hesitate to visit your nearest accident and emergency department.
Not satisfied with surgery?
If you aren’t satisfied with the outcome of your cosmetic surgery the best initial course of action is to raise these concerns with the surgeon who operated on you. It may be the case that your problems are only temporary – any scars you have may still be recovering for example. If the problems aren’t temporary your surgeon may want to perform some small touch ups to ensure you’re pleased with the procedure.
If you’re unhappy with your surgeon’s response or feel unable to trust them after a botched procedure, you may want to seek out a second opinion. See the section below on ‘The steps to successful surgery’ to help you choose someone best qualified to help you.
Complaints and compensation
In rare cases surgeons may not perform operations with the ‘reasonable care and skill’ that is demanded of them. This negligence can result in both physical and psychological injury to the patient, which may warrant making a formal complaint and seeking compensation.
In most cases initial complaints should be raised with the practice directly, but if you don’t believe they’ve responded to your complaint adequately or you think they may be putting other patients at risk you may need to escalate your complaint.
The Care Quality Commission publishes national standards on the care that should be received in all hospitals and clinics. If your clinic didn’t follow these standards you can contact them directly to make your complaint. If you believe your surgeon acted negligently another course of action is to make a complaint to the General Medical Council.
Deciding to make a compensation claim is usually the last resort, if you can’t come to an agreement directly with your surgeon or clinic. The Law Society can help you find a solicitor experienced in making medical negligence claims.
The steps to successful surgery
While you can never eliminate complications entirely, there are still steps you can take to maximise your chances of successful surgery. The most effective way of doing this is to choose a highly skilled, experienced surgeon. Finding a surgeon registered with BAAPS or BAPRAS is the easiest way to do this.
However, because complications can affect even the best surgeons, you should make sure these surgeons work for a clinic that offers a comprehensive aftercare programme. Even though you probably won’t need to use it, the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be well looked after should something go wrong can’t be overestimated.
Finally, remember that your consultation shouldn’t be a passive experience, so use it wisely. For a start, avoid any unnecessary disappointment by getting a realistic idea of what the surgery will achieve. Make sure you’re confident your surgeon can do a fantastic job, and if you don’t feel sure remember it’s never too late to look elsewhere.
Visit the cosmetic surgery experts MyBreast online at http://www.mybreast.org for more information on procedures and their comprehensive aftercare policy