Towie effect sees doubling in legal complaints over botched lip filler ops
Hit ITV-series TOWIE has been blamed for a huge rise in the number of botched lip-filler ops on young women and girls as young as 14.
The popularity of the Essex-based “reality” TV show and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian is thought to be behind a dramatic increase in the complaints.
One medical negligence legal firm has reported a doubling in the number of legal claims against back-street clinics which are offer the service for as little as £50 a time.
Many young victims, according to lawyers, are claiming the procedures have left them looking like "freaks" and have ruined their lives.
They say the problem is heightened by the treatments being advertised by unqualified practitioners cheaply on social media sites such as Facebook.
Among those who received a bad lip filler was Michelle Williams, 23, of Liverpool.
She had the operation after seeing it advertised on Facebook as a two-for-one priced at £55 each.
She added: "All my mates have had lips done and I just really wanted them done.
"I went to get it done and it was like a backstreet salon that was extended on the back of a lady's house.
"I felt pain at first and thought that was normal.
"Only after five weeks I realised something was not right.
"The left hand side was a lot more swollen than the other side - and they looked ridiculous."
Michelle said she emailed the lady responsible after she had the procedure done in May and told her she was not happy and the swelling had not gone down.
She added: "A few weeks went by and she stopped replying.
"I knew something was wrong. It has ruined my life and totally knocked my confidence."
Medical claims specialist James Ware of Medical Negligence Assist said Michelle was one of a number of clients who had contacted them in recent weeks about the issue.
He said: "Some carrying out the procedure are not fully qualified. Sometimes though they might say they are - they don't have to show any certificate.
"We have had an enquiry from a victim as young as 16 and I am aware that there was even a 14-year-old who had it.
"A lot of it is being advertised through Facebook and I just think a lot of young girls seem to want to get their lips done.
"I have heard a lot of them saying they want to be like the Kardashians. Kylie Jenner has had it done and it is also popular in Essex - mainly because of TOWIE I think.
"They are not looking for who is qualified - they are just after the cheapest deal they can get."
Consultant plastic surgeon, James McDiarmid, says he regards the UK aesthetic industry as one of the least regulated in the world.
He said: "In the UK I think we probably have the least regulated aesthetic industry and I don't know why that is.
"In France only specialist doctors can do these treatments, but in the UK any Tom, Dick or Harry that goes and pays £500 for a two-hour lunchtime course can call themselves an approved injector and start doing the treatments."