A patient of a cosmetic surgeon, who featured on the television series 'Embarrassing Bodies' and a clinic featured on '10 Years Younger', has been left suffering and disfigured after a liposuction procedure went badly wrong in 2008. The patient, an actress living in London, saved up her money and used credit cards to pay for liposuction to her abdomen and flanks, costing £4,500.

To protect her privacy, we have not identified the patient in this report.

Surgeon 'would make her more beautiful'

The patient was told by the surgeon that he would make her beautiful and, after convincing her to have more liposuction than she originally requested, he assured her that she would love the results. However, the patient, who is in her early 30s does not love her new self. Her abdomen is uneven and lumpy with an obvious protrusion near her naval.

Seeking redress from the cosmetic clinic

Despite contacting the now folded clinic on numerous occasions by telephone and in person to express her concerns, the patient was simply advised to do abdominal crunches and to massage her abdomen using a shiatsu massage device, which added to her discomfort. The surgeon was not interested in meeting with her and declined to acknowledge there was a problem. The clinic was similarly unhelpful.

Liposuction during pregnancy

Shortly after undergoing the procedure, the patient was shocked to discover that she was pregnant and had in fact been approximately 12 weeks pregnant at the time of her surgery. This discovery caused her extreme distress. She became pre-occupied with whether she had caused harm to her baby by undergoing surgery and/or consenting to a local anaesthetic and painkillers. This resulted in depression throughout her pregnancy, accompanied by anxiety attacks, nightmares, irritability, guilt and excess worry about her family's health.

All of this could have been avoided had the clinic performed a simple pregnancy test prior to the surgery as required by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidelines in place at the time of her surgery.

How we helped

After a lengthy legal battle with the surgeon and the clinic as joint Defendants, Michelmores secured the patient £25,000 in an out-of-court settlement. The patient can now afford the extensive corrective surgery to improve her appearance.

The popularity of cosmetic surgery is ever increasing, even with the high risks associated with many of the procedures. Liposuction is quickly gaining popularity, even though it is among one of the most dangerous operations. Patients often forget that the procedure is invasive and that the potential risks are significant.

Liposuction Risks

One of the biggest risks of liposuction is perforation of vital organs. The mechanics of the procedure require the surgeon to suction out fat by repeatedly jabbing a suctioning device deep into a person's body without being able to see where the device is all of the time. Additionally, there is a tendency for blood clot-related problems to occur after surgery, by which time the patient has often been discharged home and has no doctor to monitor him or her.