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Compensation For Negligent Nose Surgery
Nose reshaping, known technically as rhinoplasty, and colloquially as 'a nose job' is one of the fastest growing cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK today. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reports that rhinoplasty operations increased by 25% during 2009, compared to the previous year, among both women and men. Rhinoplasty is a relatively complex cosmetic procedure, which involves the skin of the nose being lifted away to expose the bone and cartilage underneath, which the surgeon then manipulates to achieve the patient's desired effect. The skin is then reapplied, along with a splint to maintain the new shape.
Rhinoplasty is generally requested for aesthetic reasons, though it may also serve a functional, corrective purpose, for example to increase the flow of air through the nasal passages. The procedure offers a wide range of possibilities, limited only by the original structure of the individual nose. The length and width of the nose may be reduced or enlarged, while the general shape can be altered or straightened to bring it into harmony with other facial features. The essential role of the cosmetic surgeon is to analyse and advise as to what exactly can be achieved in each particular case. Though success rates have steadily risen over the years, there is still considerable room for human error on the part of the clinic or surgeon, as well as a large number of general and specific surgical risks.
Nose Surgery Risks
Many of the dangers inherent in nose reshaping surgery are common to all invasive surgical procedures. Patients may suffer an allergic or negative reaction to the administered anaesthetic, a complication with potentially catastrophic consequences. There is an ever-present risk with open surgical wounds of infections developing, though this threat is easily nullified by antibiotics. Blood clots, known as haematoma, may form under the skin, and may require surgical removal. Excessive bleeding from the nose due to blood vessels ruptured during the operation may cause blood pressure to fall to dangerous levels, potentially resulting in cardiac arrest. Most of these general surgical risks will be redundant if the clinic or surgeon has gone through an extensive medical consultation with a patient prior to surgery. People with pre-existing conditions such as heart and lung diseases and diabetes are not suitable candidates for any form of cosmetic surgery. The same applies to those who are prone to excessive 'keloid' scarring. Regular smokers are also advised to avoid rhinoplasty surgery specifically, as they are statistically far more likely than non-smokers to develop skin necrosis, a wasting condition in which the skin on the nose withers and dies.
Rhinoplasty - Surgical Errors
Rhinoplasty is more likely to cause disfigurement, and the need for further corrective surgery, than most other cosmetic surgical procedures. Often an inexperienced or simply mistaken surgeon may aim to achieve a cosmetic effect which is actually unobtainable given a person's particular physical characteristics. Botched nose jobs may then lead to a vicious circle of ongoing corrective surgery, which may cause permanent damage to the structure of the nose and disfigurement. The same may apply where a surgeon is attempting to correct a functionality issue. In both cases patients may ultimately be left with no alternative other than wearing a prosthetic nose for the rest of their lives. Where too much bone or cartilage is removed, a patient may be left with arched nostrils, a condition which is almost impossible to rectify. A surgeon may also damage critical nerves which control feeling in the nose, leading to long-term loss of physical sensation, and even loss of sense of smell entirely. The close proximity of nerves which control eyesight is also a risk, and there have been recorded cases of people losing sight in one eye following rhinoplasty surgery.
Legal Rights Of Nose Surgery Patients
The majority of compensation claims against cosmetic clinics and surgeons following rhinoplasty operations relate to the desired aesthetic or functional effect not having been achieved. Where rhinoplasty patients require further surgery to rectify errors or failures committed by their original surgeon, it is only natural that they will not choose to use their services again. Apart from seeking damages for the physical and mental injuries caused therefore, claimants will often be seeking compensation for the ongoing costs of corrective surgery. Under the Supply of Good and Services Act 1982 cosmetic clinics must perform their services with reasonable care and skill. This is a legal right which no consent form (often required to be signed by patients prior to a cosmetic surgical procedure) can remove. This duty on clinics and surgeons includes fully explaining the risks inherent in a particular cosmetic procedure to the patient, ensuring that a comprehensive medical assessment of an individual's suitability for the procedure has been performed, and providing premises which are both sanitary, and fully equipped with the necessary equipment should things go wrong. Where mistakes have been made and injuries have resulted from rhinoplasty surgery, patients are advised to seek specialist legal advice from a firm like ourselves, with many years of experience with all types of cosmetic surgery compensation claims.
Case Study: Man Sues For Polly Beak Deformity After Rhinoplasty
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