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Compensation For Tummy Tuck Surgery
Abdominoplasty, known more commonly as tummy tuck surgery, aims to remove patient's excess skin and fat, leaving them with a tighter, flatter stomach. The procedure is not a substitute for more conventional slimming techniques, but is rather intended for people who cannot get rid of fat any other way. It is also effective in removing stretch marks caused by pregnancy or sagging skin resulting from weight loss. A tummy tuck tightens the abdominal muscles, which naturally sag with age, and can be used to effectively 'resculpt' or repair the abdominal region.
While abdominoplasty is still a major surgical procedure, it is a relatively safe one, with medical statistics showing that under 5% of patients experience complications following their operation. Cosmetic surgery in the UK as a whole is however complicated by ineffective regulation of the industry, surging demand, and a subsequent rush for profit among unscrupulous practitioners. Any form of invasive surgery carries a set of inherent risks, and a high percentage of cosmetic clinics in particular fail to take adequate precautions to safeguard patient health. This had led to a situation where surgical errors and failings in post-operative care cause injuries and botched aesthetic results. As the number of tummy tuck operations increases every year, unfortunately so do the number of injured or dissatisfied patients seeking compensation from their clinic or surgeon.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Risks
Every cosmetic clinic which is registered with the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) must comprehensively assess an individual's suitability for tummy tuck surgery, as well as fully explain the risks involved. It is advisable for example that those taking birth control pills should discontinue using them before and after the operation. The same goes for smoking, which limits the flow of oxygen to the skin, causing potential problems with the healing process. A properly conducted medical consultation will also show whether a person is prone to excessive (keloid) scarring, and whether they are likely to suffer an adverse reaction to the general anaesthetic. Wound infection is an ever-present risk with all types of invasive surgery. It is therefore essential that surgeons use properly sterlised equipment, and that clinics provide clean, hygienic operating theatres. For the same purpose, they should also advise patients on how to properly clean and dress their wounds in the days and weeks following the operation. One of the most important regulations laid down the the NCSC is that clinics allow prospective patients a two week 'cooling off' period, so they can evaluate the potential risks and benefits of cosmetic surgery and take a well-informed, considered decision as to whether to proceed.
Tummy Tuck Operations - Surgical Errors
Excessive bleeding under the skin (haematoma) is another potential complication during major invasive surgery such as a tummy tuck operation. Bleeding of the kind carries with it the possibility of blood clots developing, due mainly to the fact that anaesthetic causes blood pressure to fall. Though these accumulations of blood normally disperse naturally, in certain cases they may induce deep vein thrombosis in the leg, or move to vital organs such as the heart or lungs (pulmonary embolism) which can be potentially life-threatening. There is also the possibility of an excess build up of tissue fluid under the skin, known medically as seroma. In either scenario, blood or fluid can be drained off by a surgeon using a needle, and if spotted early enough should not have further consequences. This highlights the importance of choosing a well-equipped cosmetic clinic, with a crash unit on hand in case of emergencies. Other risks involved with tummy tuck surgery include nerve damage, which can cause temporary or permanent loss of sensation and numbness in affected areas. Both patches of skin and fat cells may also die (skin or fat necrosis) due to the interruption of the flow of blood to them. A tummy tuck operation usually requires that the surgeon repositions or reconstructs the belly button towards the end of the operation. This is one area where a poorly trained or inexperienced surgeon may make mistakes which leave patients with asymmetrical results which amount to deformity. In these circumstances a patient may require further surgery to correct errors made during the original operation.
Legal Rights Of Tummy Tuck Patients
As with all types of cosmetic surgical procedures, tummy tuck patients have a legal right to expect that their operation will be performed with reasonable care and skill. A clinic may be negligent in failing to conduct a proper medical consultation with a patient, if the latter suffers an allergic reaction to anaesthetic for example. Both the clinic and surgeon may be negligent if they have given a patient unrealistic expectations of what a procedure may achieve, and then substantially fail to deliver the intended results. Compensation awards will reflect physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as financial costs involved, such as loss of earnings and the cost of corrective surgery. Persons injured by tummy tuck surgery are advised to seek expert legal advice from a firm like ourselves, who specialise in all types of cosmetic surgery compensation claims.
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