In the UK, plastic surgery has become an increasingly popular option for people unhappy with their appearance. Undertaken in an appropriate way with experienced plastic surgeons, the result can be extremely positive and beneficial.
Although uncommon, plastic surgery can sometimes go wrong and leave you feeling upset and dissatisfied with the changes to your appearance. It’s not possible to predict with 100% certainty how the body will react to plastic surgery as each individual is different, but generally speaking you should not experience a drastically different outcome from the expected result discussed with your surgeon beforehand.
However, if something does go wrong, and the plastic surgery has not improved your appearance or has made it worse, there are some steps you can take to resolve the problem.
This article is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
Discuss your plastic surgery results with your surgeon
The first thing to do if you’re not happy with the results of your plastic surgery is to talk to your surgeon. He or she may be able to resolve your problem by explaining the healing process more clearly, making plans for a future assessment, or sometimes even revisional surgery. It’s important to wait until the healing process is complete and your body has settled down again before making any decisions.
Discuss your plastic surgery results with the hospital
If you feel that the problem lies with hospital or clinic procedure, or that your plastic surgeon is not going to help you resolve the matter satisfactorily, you can take the matter further. All hospitals and clinics in the UK that offer invasive or laser cosmetic surgery are required to be registered with the Healthcare Commission. If it can be proved that the hospital or clinic has not met current regulations or standards, the Healthcare Commission can take action against that establishment. Write to The Healthcare Commission, Finsbury Tower, 103-105 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TG, or call 0845 6013012.
Alternatively, if you feel you have a case for medical negligence or malpractice you could engage a solicitor to work on your behalf to ensure an apology, recognise responsibility, or secure compensation. Some solicitors are registered with the Law Society's Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme, meaning that they have:
approximately three years’ experience of clinical negligence matters
at least 36 clinical negligence cases during the past three years
at least 20 hours of relevant training during the past three years
If you can’t afford to go to a solicitor you could approach the ‘Action against Medical Accidents’ (AvMA) charity. This independent charity works to gain justice for patients involved in cases of medical negligence. They have a free helpline open Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm 0845 123 2352 which you can call for impartial advice.
Of course it’s best to try and ensure the possibility of anything going wrong with your plastic surgery is as remote as it can be beforehand. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) published a series of guidelines encouraging people to only use reputable, registered surgeons, and to take their time researching the best options before going ahead. Minimising your risk in advance is the best way of preventing bad cosmetic surgery.
How to choose an experienced plastic surgeon
There are a few things you can do to make sure you get a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon:
Try and find a surgeon who is a specialist in your area of plastic surgery (eg, the face, or breasts, or tummy tucks etc). You are more likely to get a good result with someone who specialises in what you want to achieve rather than someone who is a more general practitioner.
Ensure the surgeon you choose is a member of the General Medical Council’s specialist register. Consultants who gain membership have to satisfy strict and rigorous criteria to be members, which ensures good standards straight away. You can check the list at www.gmc-uk.org
Use reputable searchable lists to find your surgeon, for example BAAPS has a searchable list on their website, as does Private Healthcare UK if you want to find a cosmetic surgeon.
In most cases, when plastic surgery goes wrong, the problem can be rectified to the satisfaction of the patient with the surgeon. However, if you have to look elsewhere there are even consultant plastic surgeons who specialise in reconstructing bad cosmetic surgery. Don’t despair – one way or another there will be a way to completely solve your problem.