A student who was dissatisfied with the results of a nose job after asking for an “ideal” nose with “perfect symmetry” lost her claim for negligence against top Harley Street plastic surgeon Shailesh Vadodaria. Mijin Zahir underwent the cosmetic nasal surgery in July 2010 but, she said that she was horrified to discover that the operation had left her with a kink in her nose, a “collapsing” right nostril and difficulty breathing. The same surgeon then performed revision surgery in 2011 but Miss Zahir was still unhappy with the results and sued Mr Vadodaria for mishandling the initial operation and using negligent surgical technique.
Claims of Cosmetic Surgical Negligence and Mishandling
The case hinged on the issue of what was an ‘acceptable’ surgical outcome. According to reports, Miss Zahir had originally consulted Mr Vadodaria about a nose job as she wanted to reduce the width of her nose and make the tip less bulbous. She asserted in court that her nose had been “straight” and “very symmetrical” before the operation but could see that this was no longer the case immediately following the procedure.
The court heard that Miss Zahir’s right nostril had experienced some collapse due to the surgery weakening the supporting cartilage, causing breathing difficulty, an “irregular nose tip” and an “asymmetrical nose”. Miss Zahir stated that she was extremely disappointed with the initial cosmetic surgery outcome and was also left dissatisfied with the result of the revision surgery, saying “the whole ordeal has had an enormous impact on my life”.
Miss Zahir’s barrister told the court that, “In any medical procedure, there are a range of acceptable outcomes. We say this result was outside that range.” An expert medical witness for Miss Zahir also testified that, in his opinion, negligent surgical technique and mishandling of the operation by Mr Vadodaria had caused the collapse of the right nostril. He added, “The damage caused in this procedure is outside the range to be expected. Minor irregularities do occur, but I consider this to be far from minor.”
However, the defence denied surgical negligence arguing that, although the operation had resulted in some problems, Mr Vadodaria had been careful to explain to Miss Zahir that the outcome of the operation might not meet her expectations. The court heard that that asymmetry is an inherent risk in this type of procedure and there is statistically a 15% to 20% risk that revision surgery may be necessary.
Ranald Davidson, acting for Mr Vadodaria stated, ” Any surgeon cannot produce an ideal result. One cannot guarantee perfect symmetry,” he continued, “The results of cosmetic procedures are variable. A surgeon cannot be held negligent because the result is not perfect.”
The High Court Verdict
The court found that there was now a slight deviation in Miss Zahir’s nose and an indentation in her right nostril that had not been present before the operation. However, Justice Garnham, presiding, decided that Mr Vadodaria had carefully explained the limitations of surgery to Miss Zahir and the risk that the outcome might not meet her expectations. The judge concluded that the surgeon could not be blamed for Miss Zahir’s disappointment in the results of her cosmetic surgery procedure and dismissed her compensation claim on the basis that that Miss Zahir had “not established that there was negligence in the conduct of the surgery”.
“When contemplating cosmetic surgery, be warned that you might not get the look that you desire. And when discussing the possible outcomes with surgeons, ensure that you fully understand the risks involved.”
In this case, the surgeon had not been negligent, but the patient had still ended up with an unsatisfactory outcome. While the case illustrates that not all claims for alleged botched cosmetic surgery will be successful, if you are contemplating surgery, you should certainly expect to have been advised in detail of the possible outcomes of surgery. If you are unhappy with the results of cosmetic surgery and feel that you weren’t properly told of all possible outcomes, you may wish to consider a compensation claim. We can guide you through the process, wherever you are in the country, from our offices in Harrogate, Manchester, London and York.
If you are currently being represented by solicitors, but you are experiencing a poor level of service or that your representative isn’t qualified, you may want to switch solicitors. Changing lawyers is relatively straightforward process. At Truth Legal we specialise in switching solicitors claims. We are happy to speak to you and to review the paperwork at no cost to you.