There has been much press coverage recently highlighting the dangers associated with predominantly non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including a lack of regulation in some areas of the industry. Nigel Mercer, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, has long voiced his views and called for tighter regulation and testing of drugs, procedures and implants to offer greater protection to patients.

The Times has reported that the number of cosmetic surgical operations conducted by ‘audited members of the profession’ has more than tripled to 34,000 since 2003, but that many additional procedures are being carried out illegally on the black market. The newspaper says that these are ‘fuelled by internet promotions, magazine advertising and aggressive discounting’.

Following the recent faulty breast PIP implant scandal, which prompted the Government to review the cosmetic procedures industry as a whole, Sir Bruce Keogh has now released his independent report into the cosmetic surgery industry, setting out recommendations to protect people who choose cosmetic surgery.

Alison Johnson, senior associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons, said: “We are seeing an increase in enquiries from patients who have undergone a cosmetic treatment within what is largely an unregulated industry. People injured by negligent cosmetic surgery or treatments do not have the NHS ‘safety net’ to protect them when things go wrong. For example, we have recently settled a claim for a lady who underwent laser treatment for facial hair removal in a high street clinic and was left with permanent scarring due to hyperpigmentation. Bearing in mind her skin type, the risk of hyperpigmentation had not been considered and discussed with her as it should have been. Furthermore, when the laser treatment started to cause permanent damage to her skin, this was not recognised promptly and treatment continued when it should have been stopped immediately. This is exactly the kind of situation that we hope the recommendations in the Keogh report will address and prevent.”