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Claiming Compensation For Collagen Injections Gone Wrong
Collagen injections into the face and lips are the second most popular cosmetic beauty treatment in the UK today, after Botox. This popularity is based on the fact that collagen injections are non-surgical, painless, cheap and immediately effective in terms of physical results. With collagen you can literally look younger and more attractive in the time it takes to eat your lunch. Collagen is a natural protein, the most common in the human body, and composes around 80% of our skin. It plays an pivotal role the body's connective soft tissues, effectively providing skin with its shape and texture.
As we grow older collagen in the skin breaks down, and this results in the natural signs of aging, including wrinkles and laughter lines (also known as 'crow's feet') around the eyes and mouth. These depressions in the skin can be reversed by the injection of collagen which replenishes our natural reserves of this essential protein, making skin look smoother and fresher. Avoiding the expense, pain, risk and extended recovery time of the traditional face lift, it is no surprise that collagen injections gained instant popularity following the introduction of the procedure to the UK in the late 1980's.
Despite the undeniable benefits and attractions of collagen injections, there are still a number of potential complications. The media regularly seizes on photographs of celebrities sporting the now infamous 'trout pout', though this is actually one of the rarer risks involved. Injecting collagen it is not a surgical procedure, and is indeed much safer than any invasive cosmetic surgical technique, yet it still shares many of the same dangers. One of the most common of these is the possibility of an allergic reaction to the collagen filler itself. Most liquid collagen used for cosmetic procedures is derived from bovine collagen, and it is estimated that roughly 3% of people are allergic to bovine-sourced products. Collagen also contains lidocaine, a local anaesthetic, which triggers allergic reactions in certain cases. Allergic reactions to both bovine and lidocaine can have disastrous results, and may induce respiratory failure, seizures, cardiac arrest and ultimately death. Collagen injections are therefore not suitable for a significant number of people.
Responsibilities Of Collagen Clinics
Pre-treatment medical consultations and skin tests must be conducted by clinics offering collagen injections to check whether a person is fit to receive the treatment. Normally two skin tests should take place two weeks apart over the course of a month. These tests are performed by injecting a small amount of collagen into the arm, which is then monitored for any negative reaction. The essential problem here is that the speed and ease of the procedure, the intense competition between suppliers, and the lack of effective regulation of the cosmetic treatment industry generally creates an incentive for practitioners to take short cuts. Many customers for collagen injections are likely to be unaware of the potential risks, and a small number of unscrupulous suppliers may be unwilling to enlighten them.
Bacterial infection is another complication that may be caused by collagen injections, particularly where the procedure is performed in unsanitary conditions, or with dirty or reused needles. If a patient scratches the treated area, the possibility of infection is increased. An infection may result in swelling, sores and even abscesses developing. This can lead to permanent scarring, disfiguring lumps, or areas of skin peeling off. Patients may also be left with undesirable cosmetic results if the procedure is poorly performed, for example if too much collagen is injected into the lip. This can lead to permanent stiffness and loss of physical sensation.
Legal Rights of Collagen Patients
Those offering collagen injections to the general public have a legal duty to perform the procedure with reasonable care and skill. The appropriate skin tests must be provided, and the risks of the procedure fully explained. Where patients experience an allergic reaction, bacterial infection, or are left with an aesthetic result significantly different to that which they intended, the clinic or cosmetic specialist will have been negligent in their duty of care, and a claim for compensation against them should be considered. Whatever the physical or psychological damage done by a poorly performed collagen injection, patients are advised to seek specialist legal advice from a firm like Bartletts Solicitors who have many years of experience with all types of cosmetic surgery compensation claims.
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