The cosmetic industry has grown dramatically in Ireland in the last decade. Because it has grown so quickly, the industry is still largely unregulated. As a result the number of personal injuries* resulting from cosmetic interventions has also grown.
There is a difference between cosmetic procedures such as laser hair removal, IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal, botox, thread vein removal and collagen fillers, and plastic surgery, such as breast augmentation, tummy tucks, face lifts, pinnoplasty (ear pinning) and rhinoplasty.
Any doctor, even a dentist or nurse can perform non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as botox, chemical peels and dermal fillers. Laser and IPL hair removal is usually performed by beauty therapists who have been specially trained in the use of the equipment.
Examples of personal injuries from cosmetic procedures include:
- IPL burns or scars resulting from insufficient patch test or untrained/ or improperly trained practitioners
- Complication from chemical peels such as infection, excessive scarring or loss of pigmentation
- Nerve damage resulting from incorrectly administered botox injections
Surgical procedures however must be completed by a qualified surgeon. Only surgeons who are registered on the Special Register of the Medical Council are specifically qualified to carry out plastic surgery procedures. Medically speaking, there is no such thing as a “cosmetic surgeon”. This can be very confusing for consumers as many clinics advertise the services of cosmetic surgeons and they may not have nor are they required legally to have specialised training in the area.
Examples of personal injuries from plastic surgery include:
- Nerve damage
- Excessive skin removal or scarring
- Infections or complications requiring further surgery
In order to prove that personal injury has been caused by the surgery, expert medical opinion will be required and either negligence in the duty of care toward the patience or lack of skill carrying out the procedure must be proved.
You must remember that most cosmetic procedures and surgeries are voluntary and that there are risks associated with any surgery. Most will have minor side effects that will last a few days, such as swelling and soreness. Other, more permanent, side effects include scarring. However you should be properly advised of the risks and potential side effects beforehand and before you sign any disclaimers or waivers. Informed consent and knowledge of the risks is vital.