Cosmetic surgery cowboys: My bumpy nose ended up even bumpier... AND it was broken

  • Lavern Barnes, 51, paid £3,400 for a nose job in 2009 to fix her 'bumps'
  • A week after the surgery she lifted the gauze to discover a broken nose
  • The surgeon had previously been struck off, but allowed to return to work

Smiling again: Lavern after she had reconstructive surgery to fix her nose a second time

Smiling again: Lavern after she had reconstructive surgery to fix her nose a second time

Lavern Barnes booked a  cosmetic surgeon to straighten out her ‘bumpy’ nose.

But her botched operation left her with even more bumps.

She later found he had a record of botched operations and had been temporarily struck off.

Beauty therapist Lavern, 51, had disliked her nose all her life. She took the advice of a client who was a nurse and booked an appointment to see surgeon Ravi Agarwal at his Chester clinic. It turned out he was the nurse’s boss.

Lavern’s consultation with Mr Agarwal lasted less than ten minutes. He claimed that he could fix her nose without breaking it and with minimal bruising. He told her it would heal within a week.

‘That was all the time I could take off work so it sounded fine,’ says Lavern.

Believing Mr Agarwal to be an expert, Lavern decided to go ahead. But alarm bells rang the next time they met.

Just minutes before the operation Mr Agarwal told Lavern that he would also be changing the tip of her nose.

‘I told him that wasn’t what I had asked for. He had drawn markings on my nose and it was only when I argued with him that he suddenly scribbled new markings across my nose. Then that was it.’

The £3,400 procedure was carried out in 2009 in an operating theatre at the back of an office block in Manchester.

Afterwards Lavern had to walk to the recovery room and just half an hour later, with bloody gauze to hold under her nose, she was sent home. ‘I was still bleeding heavily and was given a lift home by the nurse. It was traumatic to say the least.’

A week later Lavern, from Northwich, Cheshire, discovered that underneath her gauze lay a broken nose, with more bumps than it had before.

‘I had a bump on the bridge where he had broken my nose and a bigger bump lower down. The original bump had also moved.

'I felt really disappointed but Mr Agarwal quickly said it was swollen, it would settle down and I would have to come back in to have it be rasped down further.

'I’d never had an operation like this before so I didn’t know what to expect, and believed him. I thought it would all be OK.’

Broken and scarred: Lavern's nose after the bad surgery in 2009 which cost her £3,400 and left her with a broken nose

Broken and scarred: Lavern's nose after the bad surgery in 2009 which cost her £3,400

Over the following week Lavern’s nose began to collapse.  ‘I was really upset and worried. I went back to him but he said I should come back after six months to a year, to allow it to heal first. I was distraught, it looked horrendous.’

Lavern sought a second opinion from another Cheshire-based plastic surgeon, Douglas McGeorge, who told her the nose would need rebuilding and to demand a refund. But Mr Agarwal’s clinic refused to give her money back.

‘I was angry and devastated with the way my face looked. I didn’t want Mr Agarwal to perform any more operations on my nose. There was no way I would let him near me.’


Lavern sought legal help from medical negligence experts Irwin Mitchell and discovered Mr Agarwal had been struck off by the General Medical Council in 2003 for botched penis enlargement operations.

He had appealed and was given a three month suspension and allowed to return to work in 2004.

Lavern says: ‘I felt so stupid. I should have checked him out before.’

Last year, Mr Agarwal agreed to pay a five-figure sum to Lavern. Since then she has had £4,247 reconstructive surgery carried out by Mr McGeorge.

‘It has been a nightmare,’ she says. ‘I can’t believe Mr Agarwal was allowed to operate again after being struck off.’

Mr Agarwal said due to patient confidentiality, he could not comment.

Key questions you should ask your surgeon

there are key questions you must ask your cosmetic surgeon before booking an operation, says Michael Cadier, president elect of BAAPS. A good surgeon will ideally give the answers below.

Q Are you on the General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register?

A Yes. Those offering surgery should be on the register, for which there are stringent rules. They must have done the requisite training and have passed a specialist exam. Go to and enter the  surgeon’s name. It will give their GMC reference number, date of registration and speciality. They don’t have to be plastic surgeons – but they should have relevant experience. For example ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeons can perform rhinoplasty (nose jobs). Overseas surgeons must be on the GMC register. If not, they are working illegally in the UK.

Q How many procedures like mine do you carry out?

A More than 20 a year. Statistically, a surgeon performing this number gets a better outcome. Breast reduction and uplifts are counted as the same surgery.

Q How long have you been performing the procedure?

A Five years is a reasonable amount of experience and the ideal answer. If not, the surgeon needs to show sufficient training or have a mentor to vouch for them. 

Q What are the risks involved with this kind of surgery?

A It depends on the health of the individual and the nature of the surgery. Risks are based on a surgeon’s assessment of your physical and mental health.

Q What is your complication rate for this procedure?

A Under five per cent. More than this for any procedure is concerning and would need to be explained.

Q What is the likely outcome – will it meet my expectations?

A Yes. You should be given a realistic idea of what to expect. Many surgeons will show before-and-after shots of their work.

Q Do you have appropriate insurance in the UK?

A Yes. I recommend going to a big hospital group such as BMI, Spire, Ramsay or Nuffield. The practitioners are independent and have their own insurance – usually between £3million and £10million, without which they can’t practice.

Q Does the cost I am paying now cover all aftercare?

A Yes. You need to confirm the cut-off point in terms of timing.  I – and many reputable surgeons – will give a cut-off point of a year, after which you may be required to pay for any further treatment. Other companies may only give you  three months.

Q Who looks after me if something goes wrong at the time and I need further treatment?

A We do. If there is an acute problem, the surgeon who performed the operation and the hospital should look after you at no extra cost to yourself.

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