Post regarding the rise in cosmetic surgery and some of the risks, both practical and legal.
It may seem like a quaint and old fashioned idea now, but there was a time when surgery was something which people tended to embark upon only as a last resort in the case of serious illness. Such were the risks involved in being anaesthetised and operated upon that people wanted to avoid the option if it was at all possible to do so. Advances in medicine have made things much safer, of course, but surgery still has to be regarded as a serious step to take, and one which should only be contemplated if you’re in the best possible hands.
The exception to this rule, at least in the minds of many people, is the field of cosmetic surgery. It would take far more room and time than is available here to debate and decide upon the reasons for the growth in popularity of cosmetic surgery, but whatever psychology lies behind it, there’s no getting away from the fact that undergoing procedures for aesthetic rather than medical reasons is a trend which is growing and looks set to continue doing so.
The latest figures available indicate a 5.4% rise in the number of people undergoing cosmetic surgery between 2008 and 2011, with the actual number rising from 34,187 to 43,069, with women outnumbering men ten to one. These figures, collated by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), include only surgical procedures and do not take into account increasingly popular non-invasive treatments such as Botox injections. When the surgical and non-surgical treatments are taken into account together, it’s clear that cosmetic surgery is something that a growing number of people are coming to regard as being on a par with getting a haircut or a facial.
This casual acceptance indeed, is where the problem lies. The recent PIP breast implant scandal highlighted just how wrong things can go if the correct care has not been taken. The scandal, to recap, affected up to 40,000 British women who’d been provided with Poly Implant Prothese breast implants manufactured in France. These implants were of a dangerously poor quality, making them much more likely than usual to rupture inside the woman’s body. When it came to seeking compensation, or even just having the dangerous implants removed, many women discovered that the private clinics which had fitted them in the first place were no longer in business, thus leaving them with no place to turn.
Claims4Negligence believes this highlights a major problem with the under regulated nature of the cosmetic surgery industry. The findings of a public consultation on the industry, due to form the basis of a review to be published shortly, highlighted the fact that surgical procedures are often sold as if they are merely commodities, with hard sell ‘hurry while this offer lasts’ style salesmanship often pressuring people into taking decisions which ought, more rightly, to be the result of careful consideration. Not only that, but the people liaising with customers (or, to put it correctly, patients) tended to be sales oriented rather than clinical. Rather than the surgeon who would carry out the procedure pointing out exactly what it entailed and how much bruising and pain might be caused, prospective patients often find themselves bombarded with details of payment plans and special offers.
Although things may improve in the future, a change driven in part by responses to the PIP scandal, the world of cosmetic surgery is still one which the average person would be well advised to approach with a fair degree of caution. Horror stories abound and, while these may be extreme exceptions, patients should still be keenly aware of the standards of care they ought to expect to receive and what they can do to seek amends if these standards aren’t met.