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Plastic Surgery Malpractice Guide To Better Understand Your Situation

Plastic and cosmetic surgery has boomed in recent years. Once the exclusive province for movie stars and the very rich, plastic surgery is now affordable and available to anyone willing to part with a few thousand dollars…often financing is available.

With the increase in cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery mistakes follow. Many physicians who are not board certified plastic surgeons undertake cosmetic surgeries. Sometimes plastic surgeons themselves fail to meet the standard of care required by the field. Some are not competent. Some are competent but make mistakes. Sometimes patients have bad outcomes that are not due to what is called plastic surgery malpractice.

Plastic Surgery Malpractice Background and Statistics

When we talk about plastic surgery we are generally referring to cosmetic surgery. This is usually reconstructive surgery on the skin or tissues. Sometimes these are not really aesthetic in nature, where a doctor performs plastic surgery to treat serious burns or scarring. Some of these surgeries can be restorative, such as following a mastectomy.

Most cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure to enhance some part of the body. Common examples of these are facelifts, tummy tucks and breast augmentations.

plastic surgery malpractice

Because most plastic surgeries are cosmetic in nature, injured patients have a harder time bringing these cases than other types of medical malpractice actions. There is a sense by some that since these were elective and for cosmetic purposes, they were not necessary and therefore the patient “took their chances.”  Of course this antiquated belief is quickly fading with the frequency and availability of these procedures.

Yet actual statistics of the numbers of plastic surgery malpractice cases are hard to find.

Because so many physicians have begun performing these procedures even though they are not plastic surgeons, we have been seeing more mistakes. Any licensed physician who takes a course on a particular procedure may decide to start performing plastic surgery. This, of course, leads to many problems.

The best indicator of who you should see for a procedure is someone with a long track record in performing a particular surgery.

Patients should seek out a board certified plastic surgeon before having any procedure. There are a few different fields of medicine where plastic surgery overlaps. There are general plastic surgeons, there are facial plastic surgeons (generally trained otolaryngologists with a specialty in plastic surgery), and dermatologists who specialize in cosmetic procedures.

Under any circumstance, insist on a board certified physician and find out how many surgeries of the same type the doctor has performed.

One consequence that patients face is what to do when there is a mistake made. And is it truly a mistake, or just a bad outcome? With cosmetic procedures, a bad aesthetic outcome is sometimes a foreseeable consequence of a properly performed procedure. Sometimes scarring cannot be predicted, as everyone heals differently.

Sometimes the patient has not been fully compliant in recovery. It may be that there was a medical error or a failure to properly treat which resulted in damage to the patient. That’s when you should consult an experienced and skilled medical malpractice lawyer.

How to find a plastic surgery malpractice attorney

plastic surgery mistakes

Just like plastic surgeons, medical malpractice lawyers come in all types. You should seek out a trial lawyer who actually tries cases. Many lawyers who hold themselves out as personal injury or malpractice lawyers rarely if ever try cases.

Always inquire as to whether the lawyer you are consulting will be handling the case themselves or intends to refer it out or co-counsel the case with someone else. Find out what kind of results they have obtained for clients in medical malpractice cases. Determine whether they are board certified trial lawyers.

Any surgery, including plastic surgery, can have serious consequences. You need to find out what the risks are before undergoing the procedure. Most plastic surgeries have a risk of injury or death, and in the hands of a skilled and experienced surgeon those risks are truly minimized. When the doctor or health provider makes a mistake, that’s when the consequences become devastating.

Plastic surgery mistakes can result in:

  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infection – at the surgical site or systemic (sepsis)
  • Skin discoloration
  • Hemorrhage (excessive bleeding)
  • Paralysis, brain damage or death
  • Hypertensive or hypotensive complications (high blood pressure/low blood pressure)
  • Serious anesthesia reaction

The most common plastic surgeries performed are breast augmentation, liposuction, body contouring/tummy tuck, and face lifts.

Most plastic surgery mistakes occur when there is a complication from anesthesia or there is a surgical error causing nerve damage. Sometimes there is excessive bleeding because a vessel has been incorrectly cut. Some patients who should not be candidates for elective surgery are nonetheless approved for financial reasons and they tend to have a greater risk of serious complications.

If you feel that you have suffered a medical mistake due to a plastic surgery, consult with an experienced and skilled medical malpractice lawyer. There are a limited number of top flight medical malpractice attorneys because it is a highly specialized field. Insist on a board certified trial lawyer to handle your case, just as you should in a surgeon.

The last thing you want is to have a legal malpractice case on top of a medical malpractice case. It’s bad enough to be the victim of a medical mistake. You do not want to make it worse by having someone who is not competent to get you the best result in your malpractice case.

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