Cosmetic or plastic surgery is an elective surgery which a person undergoes to improve their aesthetic appearance. It is not only aesthetic surgery but also surgical repair of congenital deformities and maintaining, restoring and enhancing normal appearances.
Common types of cosmetic negligence claims
There are many common types of medical negligence claims arising from plastic surgery.
Breast augmentation claims
Breast augmentation uses implants to enhance breast size or shape. Complications can occur in the form of scarring, infection, nipple sensitivity, asymmetry, leakage of silicone, haematoma, chest infection and DVT.
If you experience an issue following breast enlargement or breast implant surgery and you feel that this is due to the negligence of the surgeon you may be entitled to bring a claim. We can help you secure the most favourable outcome in such a case.
Most commonly known as a “nose job”. This is surgery to improve the appearance and shape of the nose and if the procedure goes wrong can result in deformities and difficulties breathing. The motivation for rhinoplasty may change the appearance of the nose, improve breathing or both.
Risks associated with rhinoplasty procedures include:-
- Bleeding, infection, or an adverse reaction to the aesthetic;
- Difficulty breathing through the nose;
- Permanent numbness;
- Uneven looking nose;
- A hole in the septum (septal perforation); and
- A need for additional surgery.
Laser hair removal
Removal of hair by means of exposure to pulses of laser light that destroy hair follicles. When things go wrong this can cause a burning to the skin, pigment changes and skin irritation.
Laser eye surgery
This is where the surgeon uses a cool beam laser to gently reshape the cornea to improve a person’s vision and can be an alternative to glasses and contact lenses. If the procedure is carried out incorrectly this can result in partial vision loss, blindness, burning around the eyes and dryness of eyes.
This is a fat removal procedure that breaks fat up and sucks it from the body. If the procedure is carried out incorrectly by the surgeon it can result in nerve damage, deformities, scarring, burns and infection.
This is deposits of excessive amounts of collagen giving rise to raised scarring often containing nerves and blood vessels as a result of incorrect procedure.
Facelifts (another name for this is rhytidectomy)
This is in relation to cosmetic procedures that give rise to more youthful facial appearance. The procedure can reduce the sagging of folds of skin on the cheeks and jawline and other changes in the shape of a face that occur with age. When the procedure is carried out incorrectly this can cause deformities and scarring as well as burning to the skin and nerve damage.
Dermal fillers / lip fillers
Like Botox, it is also used to prevent or eliminate signs of aging in the face like wrinkles. Botox reduces the activity of the muscles in the face that cause wrinkles. If the procedure is not carried out correctly it can result in deformities in the face.
Burn surgery can occur as a result of a personal injury accident. The goals of reconstructive burn surgery are to improve both the function and the cosmetic appearance of burn scars. Skin grafts and skin re-arrangement of skin donor flaps can be used. Burns are tissue damage that results from heat or over-exposure to the sun or other radiation or chemical and electrical contact. Burn symptoms vary depending on how deep the skin damage is. It can take a day or two for the signs of severe burn to develop.
Dental negligence, injury caused by a dentist which would have been avoidable had the dental practitioner provided proper care. Common types of dental negligence relate to cosmetic dentistry such as improper procedure in teeth whitening, placing implants and veneers in the wrong position and improper installation of fillings which can cause nerve damage.
Hair transplant surgery
Hair transplant surgery is a surgical technique that removes hair follicles from one part of the body called the ‘donor site’ to a bald or balding part of the body known as the ’recipient site’. The hair transplant procedure is called the follicular unit transplantation (FUT). If the hair transplant surgery goes wrong it can result in scarring and permanent hair loss.
Hair loss can also occur if patch tests for hair dye are not carried out correctly in hair salons and this results in burns to the head and hair loss where a cosmetic negligence claim can be taken against the salon due to failure to carry out proper procedures.
This is where a medical expert typically performs a skin biopsy by using a tool to remove the mole. If carried out incorrectly can cause scarring.
This procedure is carried out through laser surgery. If the procedure is carried out incorrectly it can result in burning to the skin, pigment changes and scarring.
Eligibility for a cosmetic surgery claim
A person can take a personal injury claim* within two years from the date of the procedure. Law prevents a person taking a claim outside of this time period (save for in exceptional circumstances) so it is important to seek advice from a solicitor as soon as possible after a procedure if you are concerned.
Process and assessment for cosmetic negligence claims
- Get in touch with your solicitor to ascertain if you have a case;
- We will assess your medical records;
- A report will be drafted by the cosmetic negligence expert or/and psychologist;
- A submission will then be made to the Injuries Board;
- The defendant will then liaise with the Injuries Board as to whether or not they should proceed with an assessment or not;
- To prove negligence, the defendant must have proof that the surgeon failed or breached a duty of care to the patient, and fell below the required standard of care or competency.
- The Injuries Board issues an authorisation and we can then proceed to issue proceedings in the Circuit Court or the High Court, depending on how significant the personal injury is; and
- We will require medical and expert reports in order to establish the extent of physical and emotional injuries. There may be a loss of income as well as financial costs incurred for corrective surgery.
More people are becoming concerned in improving their aesthetic appearance and are undergoing procedures with private clinics and hospitals. The risks involved and instances of cosmetic surgical bad practice has also increased in Ireland. The consequence of a procedure going wrong can be devastating leading to physical, emotional and financial suffering.
If you had a plastic surgery procedure within the last two years and it has not been aesthetically pleasing, or if you have suffered complications after cosmetic surgery due to mistake, negligence and incompetence of the cosmetic surgeon, we can help you make a cosmetic negligence claim and secure the most favourable outcome in your case. We can help you bring a legal action for your pain, suffering and loss in addition to recovery for the cost of corrective procedures to repair the damage caused by a negligent surgeon.
An unregulated industry
The unregulated nature of the cosmetic injury in Ireland has led to many surgeons or practitioners making errors that lead to personal injuries, deformities, unsightly scars and emotional trauma. The new Patient Health and Safety Bill will be made law shortly. It will introduce a framework for regulation into this area including ensuring that there is insurance to compensate individuals who are victims of negligent cosmetic surgery.
To make a cosmetic negligence claim* it must be established and proved that the injury sustained was directly caused by the medical negligence of the surgeon. The solicitor will have to ascertain and examine your medical records and will provide you with legal advice in relation to the best course of action to take.
A person who suffered from cosmetic negligence and is a victim of this type of negligence may recover settlement for:-
- Pain and suffering;
- Past treatment received;
- Future treatment;
- Psychiatric or psychological injuries;
- Loss of earnings;
- Loss of opportunity;
- Costs of hiring someone to carry out household duties; and
- Any other costs that can be directly linked to the injury sustained.
At HOMS Assist we have over fifty years’ experience in plastic surgery claims. You can contact one of our experienced advisors who will be happy to assist you.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.