Liposuction is a well-known cosmetic procedure where unwanted fat is removed from the body using suction. The procedure generally costs between £2,000 and £6,000 depending on the area being treated and its aim is to alter the body shape of the patient undergoing the procedure. It has been reported that the procedure is becoming increasingly common in the UK with more people willing to go under the knife.
The risks associated with the procedure can range from an unwanted cosmetic result to damage to internal organs. It has been reported this week that one lady has narrowly avoided death after undergoing liposuction because of fat embolism syndrome (FES). This is a rare condition which is the result of fatty tissue reaching blood vessels in the body.
The British Medical Journal has reported on the case of a 45-year-old lady who became gravely ill after undergoing liposuction on her legs. She required to be admitted to intensive care 36 hours after her procedure due to breathing difficulties, a rapid heart rate and a rash. Fortunately, doctors were able to treat this lady and she is now recovery from the effects of her illness. Her case highlights the importance of selecting the correct surgeon and being fully aware of the risks associated with a procedure prior to the operation.
While the risk of developing FES following liposuction is rare, unfortunately the risk of something else going wrong isn’t so uncommon. If a patient undergoes a cosmetic procedure and something is to go wrong, they may be able to recover compensation depending on the circumstances.
In order to pursue a claim for compensation if cosmetic surgery were to go wrong, it is necessary to prove two things. Firstly, the injured person has to be able to show that the medical professional has acted in a way in which no other reasonable medical professional would have acted and, therefore, they have been negligent in the treatment they have provided. Secondly, it has to be shown that the negligence of the medical professional has caused harm to their patient meaning they have sustained an injury.
The story in the press this week is, unfortunately, not the first time a patient has suffered serious health implications after liposuction gone wrong. A few years ago, the wife of former footballer David Hendry sadly died due to complications of liposuction gone wrong. In her case, the operation was described as ‘botched’ at an Inquest into her death.
Cases like these highlight the dangers associated with cosmetic surgery and why it is important that patients are given the information to make an informed decision prior to surgery taking place. If something were to go wrong, patients should always make a complaint to their treatment provider in the first instance and, if there are allegations of negligence, seek specialist legal advice.
Further information on cosmetic surgery can be found here.
Blog by Eilish Lindsay, Glasgow Lawyer