What To Do If You Are A Victim of Cosmetic Surgery Medical Malpractice

An Explanation From A Cosmetic Surgery Lawyer Serving Maryland, DC and Virginia

The growing focus on body image has created a significant increase in the amount of people seeking the services of plastic surgeons. As with any increase in services, an increase in numbers carries an increased risk for surgical error medical malpractice.

Unfortunately, errors happen daily for even the smallest of surgical procedures. Just because your surgeon makes a mistake does not necessarily mean that a surgical medical malpractice has occurred.

It must be shown that your surgeon deviated from the standard of care as defined by the medical community, and it must show that the surgeon caused injury to you. According to the 2007 United States Census Bureau, there were 11.5 million cosmetic surgeries in 2006. Science Daily reports that in the year 2015, more than 55 million cosmetic surgery procedures will be performed. This more than quadruples the number of procedures performed in 2005.

The most common plastic surgical error malpractice includes:

  • Breast Augmentation

    Incorrect size, lack of feeling from nerve damage, infection, hardening and encapsulation of implants and excessive and noticeable scarring.

  • Breast reduction

    Disfigurement, including lack of symmetry, loss of nipple or skin cover, which requires grafting and excessive scarring.

  • Liposuction

    Numbness, organ penetration or abdominal perforations requiring additional surgery. Internal bleeding, disfigurement, dimpling, and death.

  • Face Lifts

    Nerve damage requiring additional surgery. Excessive skin removal and inability to close eyes. Excessive scarring.

  • Eye lifts

    Nerve damage, dry eyes and excessive skin removal and inability to close eyes.

  • Nose surgery (rhinoplasty)

    Breathing difficulties and asymmetry

  • Tummy Tuck

    Excessive skin loss and scarring. Nerve damage, infection, skin resurfacing complications, blistering or burns causing scars and permanent skin discoloration.

  • Chemical peels and laser surgery

    Burns and excessive scarring

While plastic surgery has become such a common surgery often performed in a physician’s office as an outpatient, it is important to know that the same complications that may arise from mandatory surgeries are also prevalent in elective surgeries.

Surgical Complications From Non-Elective Surgery:

  • Brain Damage if blood circulation is compromised.
  • Airway obstruction from anesthesia, which causes vocal cords to spasm and blocks the airway. Aspiration may also occur, which is vomiting during the surgery with the vomit are forced into the lungs. This can lead to infection, obstruction in the lungs or pneumonia.
  • Any type of blood clot often referred to as thrombosis, in the vein can become fatal. The cause of blood clots is usually because of immobilization. This can come from staying in one position too long after surgery. It is important to move around and flex your feet. The most likely candidates for thrombosis are people who have liposuction on their legs.
  • Infection is a common risk in any surgery. Many times a physician will order antibiotics prior to surgery to prevent infection. Infection can be a very serious complication. The longer a surgery lasts, the more risk there is for infection. Surgeries, which are done in physician’s offices, are also found to have a less likely chance of developing an infection than those done in a hospital.
  • Necrosis (skin death) is another common problem occurring with cosmetic surgeries. This can happen when an infection occurs or when the skin is removed.

A condition referred to as seroma can occur. This commonly happens after liposuction, tummy tucks or breast augmentation. Seroma is when fluid collects under the skin.

Women who take or have recently ceased taking oral contraceptives, smokers, or women who are undergoing hormone-replacement therapy are at greater risk for complications. A physician should evaluate the patient to see if they are extremely overweight. This can cause not only complications during anesthesia but also the added stress on the heart.

Recent traumatic injuries may complicate the surgery because the patient may suffer from a compromised immune system and added stress on the heart and the lungs. Physicians should check for a history of cancer, infections or any type of blood or nervous system disorder.

As with any surgery, it is very important to qualify the physician who is doing the surgery. Surgeons who specialize in a certain procedure are found to have a much lower rate of surgical error than those who do a variety of procedures.

Make sure they are certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and The American Board of Plastic Surgery. In the United States, any physician with a medical degree and a license to practice medicine can legally perform plastic surgery. While they may perform the surgery in their office, it is also important to see which hospital has granted them privileges.

If they are not granted privileges at an accredited hospital this is a red flag, as being granted privileges at an accredited hospital means they are subjected to regular medical scrutiny. You should also ask to speak and view prior patients and their results. Do not overlook the anesthesiologist, as this is an extremely important part of any surgery.

A thorough and detailed history should be taken, thus eliminating any potential complications to the surgery. You should depend on your regular internal physician to perform a detailed physical, making sure there are not situations, which may cause you pulmonary or heart distress.

The nature alone of cosmetic surgery lends itself to a review of the results. Make sure if your physician has taken before and after photos of your surgery and that they are not used in a promotional manner without your consent.

Plastic surgery can be a very personal and emotional decision. When a surgical error happens, it can be a devastating problem not only emotionally but also financially. If you or a loved one has suffered any type ofsurgical error malpractice injury, you may have some type of legal claim against the surgeon responsible. The surgeon owes you a reasonable duty of care. Contact an experienced surgical error medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible if you feel you have been the victim of malpractice.

Next Steps...

If you or a loved one has suffered from cosmetic surgery medical malpractice, call cosmetic surgery lawyers at Greenberg & Bederman at 301-589-2200 or toll free 800-800-1144 or submit our online form below for a free legal consultation.

The initial cosmetic surgery malpractice consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your malpractice case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. A lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations, so please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.

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