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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Cosmetic op expectations warning
Plastic surgeon and patient
Cosmetic surgery is becoming more popular
Cosmetic surgeons and patients are being warned about unrealistic expectations of operations.

A report by the Medical Defence Union insurance group found dissatisfaction with surgery was the major cause of successful compensation claims.

Some 250 claims over private treatment have been settled by MDU at a cost of 8.5m in the last 10 years.

The study said it was important both parities fully discussed the potential of surgery before agreeing to it.

MDU deputy chief executive Christine Tomkins said dissatisfaction with surgery could be avoided with better communication.

We know from this analysis that some patients have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved by cosmetic procedures and what risks are involved
Christine Tomkins, of MDU

"Only a small number of claims arise from poor surgical technique.

"We know from this analysis that some patients have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved by cosmetic procedures and what risks are involved in the procedure."

She said it was important surgeons advised patients about the risks and benefits of under going surgery, including complications rates and other treatments available.

The pay-outs, the overwhelming majority of which were settled out-of-court, ranged from 200 to 305,000, which was paid to a patient who had complications following facial surgery.

More than 40% of successful claims were made because of dissatisfaction with the results of operations.

Scarring, at 24%, and infections, at 12%, were the next biggest causes.

Claims

The number of claims have risen steadily, but that has been more than compensated by the rapid increase in the number of cosmetic surgery operations being carried out.

Last year the number topped 22,000 - a rise of over a third in 12 months.

However, MDU officials warned the true impact of this rise could still materialise as it can take years for compensation claims to be heard.

Adam Searle, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said in recent years expectations of what cosmetic surgery could achieve had become unrealistic.

He said in such a climate there was a huge onus on the surgeons to make sure patients fully understood what they were getting themselves in to.

"Part of the doctors duty is to explore with the patient what expectaions they have and what the limits are."




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