Number of potential negligence claims for non-invasive cosmetic treatments rises

Posted: 20/03/2014


The demand for non-surgical cosmetic procedures has surged, with figures showing that nine out of ten cosmetic procedures performed in the UK are non-surgical treatments, such as Botox, chemical peels and dermal fillers. Cosmetic practitioners can perform non-surgical facelifts and other skin treatments, using radiofrequency waves, lasers and infra-red light. These treatments are increasingly popular because they are less invasive than traditional surgical methods but this does not mean they are free from risks and complications.

Botox and fillers are among the most popular non-surgical treatments but despite their popularity, an article by The Daily Mail highlights the serious risks that can be associated with anti-wrinkle dermal fillers. The article has confirmed that, over the years, a number of fillers have been withdrawn from the UK market because they cause serious side effects, including swelling, pain and hard lumps beneath the skin.

Commenting for The Daily Mail, leading cosmetic surgeon Dr Julian De Silva has confirmed that there have been at least 30 cases of vision loss as a result of using dermal fillers. The injections have also been known to cause strokes. He confirmed; ‘The problem comes when filler is accidentally injected into an artery. This can lead to necrosis, or death of the skin tissue, and if they’re the arteries that supply oxygen to the back of the eye, this can lead to loss of vision. In a worst-case scenario, filler can even block oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in a stroke.’

Dr De Silva advises; ‘You should know before your procedure exactly what is going to be injected into your face and what the side effects could be. I suggest using only hyaluronic acid-based fillers as these can be broken down if the patient has a reaction to them, and only having fillers that have been approved in the US because they have a good safety record. And make sure you’re in the hands of a qualified medical professional with knowledge of the anatomy of the face.’

Sarah Gubbins, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, comments; "We completely agree with Dr De Silva's comments about the importance of ensuring that you research the type of treatment you are having and its side effects, to ensure you make a fully informed decision. It is imperative that, when considering any type of procedure, you ensure that there will be a qualified medical practitioner performing your treatment.

"Unfortunately, as we see an increase in the popularity of non-surgical cosmetic treatments, we are also seeing a rise in the number of clinical negligence claims for serious side effects. Many non-invasive cosmetic treatments are not regulated and if treatments are carried out incorrectly, they can have devastating consequences. This is particularly distressing for patients who have had treatment on their face, where the side effects cannot be so easily covered up."


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