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Be Prepared: What if Things go Wrong?

What do I do if something doesn’t go according to plan?

Find out who you should contact, before you have surgery, if something does not go to plan or if you have an emergency or need help out of hours. Take a note of their contact details. This should be a named doctor who can deal with any complications rather than an NHS helpline. You should also be clear, before your surgery, on what your aftercare package includes and what is not included, what will happen if something does not go to plan, what will happen if something goes wrong immediately after surgery,  and how long the surgeon and hospital will continue to support you. Make sure at your consultation that your surgeon is fully insured to carry out the procedure in the UK. Find out what your surgeon’s and your hospital’s insurance does and doesn’t cover you for. Check all your insurance policies as they may cover you for legal protection.

You should have access to advice and support at all times. The surgeon who performed your procedure, and the hospital where the procedure took place, should be open and honest with you if something does not go according to plan – as can happen with any surgical procedure.  They should give you an explanation of what has happened, and tell you about the short- and long-term effects. Sometimes an apology might be appropriate.

Read essential information about what to discuss with your surgeon and what you need to know before you have cosmetic surgery. 



What happens if something goes wrong with my implants?

After your surgery, before you leave the hospital, ask for written information about the procedure you’ve had. This should include the type and manufacturer of the implants used, in case you ever need this information for any follow up appointments or further surgery.

Your hospital should keep a record of your surgery including information on the type and manufacturer of the implants used. So if a product is ever recalled they can contact you to let you know.


What happens if something goes wrong with my breast implants?

If you choose to have breast implants in England, the hospital is now expected to record some information about your surgery, including details on how to contact you, the type and manufacturer of your implant, the surgeon who carried out your surgery and the hospital where it took place.  The hospital will ask for your consent before recording this information. The information will then be held securely on the Breast Implant Registry by NHS Digital. If a product is recalled in the future they will be able to identify any patients who may be affected and can inform the hospital or surgeon, who will then contact you.

For more information about this registry, and any other concerns related to a possible product recall please, speak to your surgeon or hospital, or visit the Breast Implant Registry website.


How to make a complaint

  • Your hospital should have a complaints procedure. Find out what this is before your surgery.
  • Talk to the surgeon and the hospital in the first instance.
  • If the matter is not settled to your satisfaction, and it relates to the surgeon who performed the procedure, you can contact the General Medical Council (GMC).
  • If the matter is about the hospital, the Independent Healthcare Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS) may be able to help you (if the hospital you had your surgery at is registered with ISCAS). Not every hospital is registered with ISCAS.
  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) does not investigate complaints from individuals. However, if you had surgery in England and have a concern about the service you received, you can share it with the CQC.

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