The Botched-Op Bill; NHS 'Bears the Multimillion Cost' of Bungled Plastic Surgery

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Byline: COLIN FERNANDEZ

BOTCHED plastic surgery operations carried out at private clinics are costing the NHS millions of pounds to repair, a study claims.

More and more people are paying for cheap cosmetic surgery in this country and abroad - but when things go wrong it's the health service that has to pick up the pieces.

Surgeons at two London hospitals dealt with 50 cases of bungled surgery in one year. Nationally, the number of NHS 'repair jobs' could run into six figures.

Peter Butler, a consultant plastic surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, said: 'It is a case of buyer beware. There are a number of people who want surgery but cannot afford it so go to great lengths to get cheap surgery.' Cases uncovered by the Royal Free and the Chelsea and Westminster hospitals included: * A woman who travelled to Europe for a breast enlargement whose wounds would not heal.

When the implants were removed, two swabs were found inside her.

* A nose job in Thailand which resulted in the bridge of the nose collapsing.

* Eyelid surgery that had pulled both bottom lids down so far the eyes could not close properly.

* A liposuction and tummy tuck operation that had ruptured a patient's spleen - requiring emergency surgery to remove the damaged organ.

* A tummy tuck where the wound had split open and needed to be restitched.

Over half of the botched operations in the report were breast enlargements, although the surgeons also had to repair nose jobs, tummy tucks, liposuctions, facelifts, eyebag removals, buttock surgery and bicep implants.

Ten patients needed repeated surgery and 33 went on hospital waiting lists for future operations.

Mr Butler said the number of botched surgery cases he had to treat at his hospital was around three times higher than it was six years ago and now accounted for over 3 per cent of his workload.

'More and more people are treating plastic surgery like buying a pair of shoes, when it is a serious undertaking,' he said. The results are likely to be repeated across the UK. …