Cosmetic treatment is a booming billion pound business, with over 100,000 medical and non-medical procedures carried out every year in the UK. But whilst demand is high, confidence in this "murky world" (Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of Action Against Medical Accidents) is low, and many now question the safety record and fitness for purpose of cosmetic surgery clinics.
There were already concerns about standards and the lack of regulation, but the government decided to act following the PIP breast implant scandal in 2011, when it emerged that 47,000 UK women had implants that carried double the normal risk of rupture. Respondents to the government review called for a ban on aggressive sales and advertising. The report will be published in March.
Risks from non-invasive surgery
There are plenty of cases of malpractice and substandard treatment, and reform is now overdue. The problem seems to be a combination of the lack of regulation and the high demand; there is no requirement to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for non-surgical treatments, so anyone with a modicum of training can hold themselves out as a cosmetic treatment practitioner and perform non-surgical treatments - and the majority of treatments are non-surgical - and there is fierce price competition to meet the demand.
These non-surgical treatments include practices that are less invasive than surgery but which nonetheless carry a risk of injury, and which are usually directed at smoothing the appearance of the skin, such as Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, laser treatment and hair transplant.
Botulinum toxin (or Botox) is a muscle paralysis agent used to relax facial muscles and so to reduce lines and wrinkles. Occasionally Botox injections cause some drooping of the eyelid or a raising of the eyebrow, and require corrective treatment.
Dermal fillers are another popular way of ironing out facial wrinkles. The procedure involves injecting hyaluronic acid or collagen into the skin. It is generally regarded as safe but reported complications include numbness, lumps and bumps, movement, swelling, inflammation and infection.
Chemical peels are also designed to reduce the appearance of facial lines and to improve the texture of the skin, by removing the outer layer of the epidermis to allow a new layer of fresh cells to grow back. Effects are usually mild but there is a risk of permanent pigmentation (lightening or darkening of the skin) and of infection.
Laser treatment can be used to remove unwanted facial or bodily hair and also to reduce scars and blemishes (laser skin resurfacing). As with all laser treatment there is a risk of burns, pigmentation and scarring.
How we can help
If you have undergone a treatment which did not leave you with the desired results and which you believe was carried out incorrectly contact us to speak to a member of our personal injury team who will speak to you in more detail about all aspects of your claim and let you know what documents you may need to provide to move forward in your claim, should you decide to proceed. Be assured that all information you provide us will remain confidential. You can contact us by: