Cosmetic surgery is popular in the United States, with an estimated two million cosmetic surgeries taking place per year. It is estimated that another nine million less invasive procedures to augment patients’ features are also performed per year. The same risks which are present in other types of surgeries and procedures are present in cosmetic surgery. Many patients suffer injuries, deformities, and infections as a result of cosmetic surgery errors. A number of these errors are a result of cosmetic surgery malpractice.
Types of Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice
If a physician does not take proper precautions to assure patient safety, it is considered negligence. Most cosmetic surgery malpractice stems from negligence. Errors which are a result of inexperience or taking unnecessary risks may also be considered malpractice.
Scenarios in which cosmetic surgery malpractice has taken place include:
- Failure to thoroughly evaluate patient history
- Unqualified personnel taking part in surgery
- Inadequate anesthesia administered
- Incorrect procedure performed
- Operating beyond a patient’s consent
- Performing procedures without proper equipment or supplies
- Failure to adequately respond to complications
If a patient is unhappy with the results of cosmetic surgery it is not always a case of malpractice. Results of cosmetic surgeries may vary, and complications may develop despite precautions and adequate surgical training. Patients may also be unhappy with results despite a successful surgery and a lack of complications if the results do not meet patient expectations.
Cosmetic Surgery Reasons
Patients may choose to undergo cosmetic surgery for a number of reasons, including correcting birth defects or repairing superficial damage from an injury. Patients may also elect to alter features which may be perceived as unattractive using cosmetic surgery. In cases such as breast reduction, a patient may choose cosmetic surgery to prevent discomfort or future medical complications.
Types of Cosmetic Surgery
Types of cosmetic surgery which patients may elect to undergo include:
- Face lift
- Skin grafting or dermabrasion
- Otoplasty to alter the ears
- Hair transplants
- Tummy tuck
- Breast reduction
- Neck or chin surgery
- Breast enlargement or augmentation
- Lip augmentation
- Surgeries around the eyes, including eyelid surgeries
- Rhinoplasty to alter the shape or size of the nose
Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice Complications
Errors or complications stemming from cosmetic surgery malpractice may leave patients with permanent disabilities or disfigurements. In some cases, these complications may require multiple surgeries to correct or treat. Patients may endure pain and suffering, lose wages, and develop psychological disorders as a result of cosmetic surgery errors.
Malpractice may increase the risk of complications during or following cosmetic surgery, including:
- Anesthesia complications
- Necrosis, or tissue death due to oxygen deprivation
- Nerve damage
- Blood clotting
- Loss of feeling
- Drop in blood pressure
- Skin discoloration
- Trouble breathing
- Adverse drug reactions
- Death from infection or severe complications
Cosmetic Surgery Bias
The perception that cosmetic surgery is usually done for reasons of vanity may influence decisions regarding malpractice claims. Especially in jury trials, blame may be placed on the patient for electing to undergo a surgery that was not deemed medically necessary. This bias may prevent patients from receiving just compensation for legitimate cosmetic surgery malpractice claims. An attorney that is experienced in handling cosmetic surgery malpractice lawsuits may be very helpful in preventing this common bias from affecting a malpractice lawsuit.
Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice Claims
If a patient wishes to file a malpractice claim, an attorney may be able to provide assistance and advice. A patient must be able to prove several factors to show that there is a legitimate case for malpractice. A patient must be able to provide evidence that a procedure or surgery has taken place, and that the surgeon acted negligently or carelessly during the procedure. The patient must also be able to show evidence of an injury or illness that is a direct result of the malpractice committed during the procedure.
“Cosmetic Procedures.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons. American Society of Plastic Surgeons, n.d. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures.html>
“Notes from the Field: Rapidly Growing Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Wound Infections Among Medical Tourists Undergoing Cosmetic Surgeries in the Dominican Republic — Multiple States, March 2013–February 2014.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA.gov, 07 Mar 2014. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6309a5.htm?s_cid=mm6309a5_w>
“The 2013 Florida Statutes.” Online Sunshine. The Florida Legislature, n.d. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0766/Sections/0766.203.html>