Cosmetic Surgery Medical Negligence Solicitors - Injury Compensation Claims


Cosmetic surgery is a flourishing industry as surgical enhancement gains acceptance and is embraced by individuals who seek to refine their appearance and diminish aspects considered unattractive. People born with congenital medical conditions or who have sustained disfiguring injuries also commonly undergo plastic surgery. Over 100,000 cosmetic surgeries are performed each year however some cosmetic surgery procedures are unsuccessful for various reasons and patients are left with results that are less than desirable. In some instances the work that is carried out can be described as negligent, the consequences of which can be catastrophic, both physically and emotionally, for the patient.

Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors have considerable expertise in personal injury compensation claims for negligent cosmetic surgery procedures and in appropriate cases will use the no win no fee** scheme to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim. We operate the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. If you would like free advice from a qualified solicitor without further obligation just use the helpline or email full details to our offices.

Popular Procedures

Popular cosmetic surgical procedures include:

  • Facelift (rhytidectomy). There are different forms of facelifts: Traditional; Mini; Mid; and Necklift
  • Browlift to eliminate sagging skin that effects the brow, forehead and eyelids
  • Eyelid lift (blephorplasty) to remove excess or sagging skin from eyelids or “bags” under the eyes
  • Cheek reshaping (malar augmentation) is achieved with permanent implants.
  • Rhinoplasty to improve the function or appearance of the nose.
  • Lip implants to permanently plump up lips.
  • Chin augmentation (mentoplasty).
  • Breast augmentation to enlarge breasts.
  • Breast lift (maxtopexy ) to reshape, firm and lift the breasts.
  • Breast Reduction (reduction mammoplasty) for women to remove excess tissue and, in some cases, men.
  • Bariatric surgery, which includes lap band, gastric bypass, duodenal switch and gastric sleeve, to assist with weight loss.

Post-Surgical Care

Post-surgical care is crucial. While the surgery itself may have been performed without mishap, if adequate post-surgical care is substandard, the potential exists for adverse repercussions. Typically, the operating surgeon is responsible for his or her patient until the patient is discharged. Should the operating surgeon neglect to oversee appropriately the patient’s post-surgical care, he or she may be liable for harm suffered by the patient.

Infection is always a major concern after surgery has been performed. Prompt action must be taken to prevent pronounced scarring from occurring due to an infected wound. Warning signs of infection include fever, redness surrounding the wound, swelling and discharge. If symptoms of infection are not recognised and treated immediately, the infection may become systemic, meaning the infection will travel through the blood system. A systemic infection threatens the patient with even more severe medical issues.

Inadequate or negligent post-surgical care may mean the patient must undergo further surgery to rectify excessive scarring or disfigurement. Not only is the patient forced to endure another surgical procedure, the end result still may not be satisfactory due to an inability surgically repair the damage because of tissue that has died from infection.

General medical staff typically performs removal of stitches, wound dressings and other routine post-surgical care protocols; however, the cosmetic surgeon remains accountable to ensure proper procedures are followed.

Informed Consent

Prior to undergoing surgery, a surgeon is legally required to inform his or her patient of all risks associated with the surgical procedure. Not only must the surgeon discuss dangers that are inherent in any medical procedure, he or she must also warn the patient of the possibilities of factors that might influence the outcome of the cosmetic procedure.

For example, a potential consequence of cosmetic surgery is keloid scarring. A keloid scar is formed when collagen produces an excessively abundant growth of tissue at a healed surgery site. A keloid scar can grow to an immense size and be extremely disfiguring. The keloid scar can be rubbery or shiny in appearance, with colours ranging from pink to dark brown. It is benign, but may be painful and itchy. In time, the texture of a keloid scar may change. It is impossible to predict if keloid scarring will occur; however, regardless, the surgeon must warn the patient of this possibility.

If the surgeon does not fully notify the patient of every reasonably known risk, both surgical and post-surgical, he or she is liable for a medical negligence claim by the patient. The surgeon is also obligated to suggest alternative methods to obtaining the patient’s goals which carry less danger of complications.

The most common lack of informed consent lawsuits are in connection with facial surgery and breast cosmetic procedures.

Common Cosmetic Negligence Claims

While there is potential for any cosmetic surgical procedure to have a negative outcome, there are certain procedures particularly susceptible to medical negligence compensation claims. These include:

    Improper Consent: As discussed above, if a physician or surgeon does not obtain an informed consent from his or her patient, the possibility of a malpractice negligence claim exists. To recap, the surgeon must inform the patient of all risks associated with a procedure, including hazards present during the actual surgery itself and during the healing process.

    Scarring: A surgeon who is negligent during the cosmetic surgical procedure may cause excessive or deforming scarring. This is often the case with cosmetic facial and breast procedures.

    Disfigurement: Chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser surgery, especially on sensitive facial skin, can have harsh aftereffects in the hands of an inexperienced or negligent surgeon. A typical occurrence associated with dermabrasion and laser surgery is white thickened skin with a loss of colour pigmentation. Chemical peels can leave the patient with permanent redness or skin discolouration and scarring.

    Numbness: Should a surgeon injure a nerve during a cosmetic surgery procedure, the patient may experience temporary or permanent numbness or partial paralysis. In some cases, the patient may suffer a loss of function. This type of claim is usually connected to facial cosmetic surgery, such as a facelift.

    Loss of function: Patients undergoing rhinoplasty for either cosmetic or functional reasons can sustain a substantial loss of the nasal support structures, which will result in breathing difficulties. Rhinoplasty is an exacting cosmetic surgery that requires a surgeon experienced with nose jobs. For patients with loss of function, revision rhinoplasty to correct the medical error may be necessary through utilizing cartilage grafts harvested from other regions of the patient’s body.

    Nonsymmetrical Appearance: Breast lifts and breast reductions are typically the reason behind this form of negligence claim. Breasts that are of unequal size and/or height or misaligned nipples are usually the foundation of nonsymmetrical appearance negligence claims.

    Liposuction: Incompetently performed liposuction has the possible aftermath of scarring, organ perforation and an uneven or lumpy appearance.

What is Clinical Negligence?

Clinical negligence is defined as an act or omission by a doctor that did not meet the standards expected of a reasonably competent doctor. In other words, the doctor did not act as other similarly qualified doctors in the same medical field would have reasonably done in the same set of circumstances.

There are certain requirements that must be proven by the patient, before a doctor is found to be negligent. The patient must demonstrate, on the balance of probabilities, that the doctor did not satisfy the standards established by other cosmetic surgeons, that the treatment was logical and that the doctors actions or inaction was the cause of the injury suffered by the patient.

Not all cosmetic surgery with less than perfect results are due to clinical negligence. Each surgical procedure is dependent on a number of factors that may be beyond the control of an expertly trained cosmetic surgeon. Additionally, patients with unrealistic expectations and a surgeon’s failure to fulfill those dreams do not usually form the basis for a clinical negligence compensation claim.

Compensation for Cosmetic Surgery Claims

The purpose of compensation for negligent cosmetic surgery procedures is to put the patient back into the position that they would have been in had the negligence not occurred and this is achieved by the award general damages and special damages:

    General Damages typically consist of compensation for pain and suffering, future medical expenses and loss of earning capacity. There are no set figures for general damages. The amount of the award for general damages is based upon previous cases and the evidence presented to the Judge. The Judge has discretion to decide upon the amount the claimant will receive as compensation for a cosmetic surgery negligence compensation claim.

    Special Damages are awarded based upon calculated (rather than assessed) figures supported by documentation. For instance, if the claimant paid for any necessary items and has the payment receipt, the claimant will be reimbursed in full for those expenses. Special damages can include a wide variety of expenses that are tangible (i.e. provable), such as lost wages.

In addition, the Defendant may be obliged to reimburse the Claimant for his or her legal expenses according to specific guidelines set out by law.

Statute of Limitations

The Limitation Act is simply a law which states when a cosmetic surgery compensation claim may be commenced. Typically, if the Claimant is 18 years or older, the claim must be settled or legal proceedings must be issued in a court of law within three years of the injury caused by the negligent action being discovered. In default, the opportunity to claim compensation may be lost forever.

A claimant under the age of 18 years has three years from the eve of their 18th birthday to commence legal proceedings. This applies even though the act of medical negligence may have been a number of years before he or she reached the age of 18 years. There are also special considerations for mentally challenged claimants.

These time limitations must be adhered to or a lawsuit may not be permitted. Time limitations are crucial. It is highly recommended you seek legal advice immediately, especially if a substantial amount of time has passed since the cosmetic surgery medical error occurred.

Remedies for Cosmetic Surgery Negligence

If your cosmetic surgery outcome is less than can be realistically expected, disfiguring or leaves residual chronic pain or paralysis, you have some options to consider.

Firstly, you can try to resolve the issue with the cosmetic surgeon who performed the surgery by requesting he or she perform further surgery or such treatment as required to rectify the error. Alternatively, you could obtain a refund for the original procedure fees.

Secondly, you can meet with another cosmetic surgeon for a second opinion. This is always a wise course of action, even if you decide to permit the original surgeon to correct the error. A second opinion is valuable in that you may discover you have further choices than the original cosmetic surgeon offers.

In all cases if further operative treatment is required to correct the original error then damages may be awarded for cosmetic surgery medical negligence whether or not the original surgeon repairs the damage caused by the negligent procedure.

Cosmetic Surgery Medical Negligence Solicitors

Finally, if the original cosmetic surgeon refuses to negotiate or take responsibility for the cosmetic surgery mistake and a second opinion fails to provide you with alternatives to correct the flawed procedure, it is time to seek the advice of an experienced cosmetic surgery medical negligence solicitor.

A medical negligence lawyer will explain the process of commencing legal action to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, losses and expenses, both past and future, and what to expect as the legal action proceeds. Telephone consultations are available without charge. You are not obligated to instruct the solicitor that you speak with. If you decide to speak with one of our specialist clinical negligence lawyers just use the helpline or send an email to our offices and you will be connected with a specialist solicitor promptly.


*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here