Cosmetic Surgery - Medical Malpractice LawyersLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician in a surgery, hospital or clinic and would like to speak to a specialist medical malpractice lawyer about cosmetic surgey without further obligation, just make contact with our law office. A medical malpractice lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims involving clinical negligence will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical malpractice. Our lawyers operate using a contingency scheme and you will not have to fund or finance your compensation claim in any respect. If our cosmetic surgery medical malpractice lawyers are not successful you pay nothing at all. You have nothing to lose in taking up our lawyers offer of free advice and there is no further obligation should you decide not to pursue a claim further. We offer a true professional risk free service and you will only ever deal with a qualified, specialist medical malpractice lawyer. Do yourself justice and contact our offices today.
Plastic surgery procedures are generally intended to rejuvenate and refresh appearance in order to beautify the patient however things do occasionally go wrong and the final appearance does not always turn out that way that the patient expected. The massively increasing numbers of cosmetic surgical procedures has been accompanied by a similar increase in the volume of cosmetic surgery medical malpractice claim settlements for injuries caused by both negligence and poor skills on the part of the surgeon or due to inadequate after-care which is always the ultimate responsibility of the surgeon notwithstanding that it may have been delegated to others in the organisation.
Cosmetic surgery is often referred to as plastic surgery except that the former implies less invasive procedures than true “plastic surgery”. It is a medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of the body. The body can undergo treatment of ageing, reconstructive surgery, microsurgery, hand surgery, burn surgery and skin resurfacing.
Cosmetic surgery has a long history. There is evidence out of ancient Egypt indicating a broken nose was repaired. This dated from 3000 BC to 2500 BC. Reconstructive surgery was in evidence as early as 800 BC in India. Sanskrit work in cosmetic surgery was translated into Arabic in 750 AD and then into European languages so that Italian surgeons become familiar with some ancient plastic surgery techniques. The most common procedure done in those times was the rhinoplasty. The Romans also performed plastic surgery around the first century AD. They repaired damaged ears and noses.
Because of the dangers of doing surgery, real advances weren’t made until the 19th and 20th centuries. What was necessary was the patient having sufficient anesthesia in order to avoid pain during the procedures.
Up until the modern techniques of surgeries, doing surgery on healthy tissues involved a great deal of pain; infection was finally reduced when sterile techniques were introduced. Antibiotics made it much safer to have elective surgery like cosmetic surgery.
Over 50,000 people in Canada undergo plastic surgery procedures every year with several thousand dis-satisfied customers considering legal action. Our plastic surgery medical malpractice lawyers are experienced in claiming compensation for personal injury on behalf of clients who have suffered injuries or an unsatisfactory outcome in a variety of operations which have gone wrong including :-
- nose re-shaping
- breast enlargement
- breast reduction
- breast uplift
- gastric band & bariatric surgery
- lip implants
- eyelid surgery
- ear pinning or correction
- chin/cheek reshaping
- silicone implants (breast, buttock, calf, cheek, chin, pectorals etc)
Regulation & Control
Private plastic surgery in Canada is inadequately regulated regarding specialist qualifications. Cosmetic surgery clinics often employ doctors who are specialists in disciplines other than either plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery including general surgeons, dermatologists, ear nose and throat surgeons, ophthalmologists and other doctors where plastic surgery was only at the most, a necessary sideline inferior to the main discipline. It is not essential under Canadian rules for a doctor who carries out cosmetic surgery procedures to have specialist training. In these circumstances it is not surprising therefore medical malpractice is a common issue in matters involving cosmetic surgery. Examples of clinical treatment that can be considered to be negligent include failure to :-
- diagnose in a reasonable time frame
- advise of risks associated with treatment
- perform surgery with reasonable care and skill
- refer to a specialist or consultant
- provide appropriate treatment
- diagnose a medical condition
- provide adequate post-operative care
The most common plastic surgery compensation claims include :-
- failure to advise of the possibility of obtrusive scarring following a face lift
- poor as a result of dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser surgery to the face
- nerve damage following a face lift causing paralysis or loss of function
- poor results from rhinoplasty which is unsightly
- breast uplift resulting in unacceptable scarring, lack of symmetry or misplaced nipples
- breast reduction resulting in lack of symmetry or unacceptable scarring
- liposuction causing scarring, unevenness, perforation of vital organs
- failure by the doctor carrying out the cosmetic surgery to obtain ‘informed consent’ which requires a detailed explanation of risks and potential alternative procedures.
One common procedure in plastic surgery is skin grafting. This is the transfer of skin tissue from one place to another. There are three types of skin grafts:
- Autografts involve skin taken from the same person to the same person. These are usually very successful and involve a low risk of rejection. You can also use cultured sheets of epithelial cells in the absence of normal tissue.
- Allografts are taken from a donor of the same species. It won’t last forever but it covers open areas for a good period of time until normal human skin from the same person has a chance to grow.
- Xenografts. This involves skin taken from another species. This lasts the least long of all the skin grafts but has a purpose for the short term.
Liposuction is another common procedure. It involves the use of a cannula inserted into the area where fat is to be removed. Using a suction device, large amounts of fat are removed and the area is sculpted so that it is smooth and much thinner than before. Liposuction can be done on the face, abdomen, buttocks and thighs primarily.
Face lifts and the like are ways a person can look younger. The face lift involves lifting the skin of the upper and/or lower face and pulling it into the hair line. Then the excess skin is trimmed off and the face looks smoother and younger. This is a tricky procedure that can dramatically alter the person’s appearance afterwards.
Common procedures in cosmetic surgery in today’s time are minimally invasive medical procedures. A common technique is laser resurfacing. The laser uses heat that stimulates the production of collagen so that eventually the skin is firm and looks younger. It can take several months for the collagen to be completely grown.
Reconstructive plastic surgery is common as well. This is done to correct impairments caused by trauma, burns and injuries like facial bone fractures, congenital abnormalities like cleft palate and cleft lip, developmental abnormalities, cancer, tumors and infection. It is designed to improve function but mostly it is designed to approximate normal appearance.
One of the most common reconstructive surgeries includes removal of tumor, laceration repair, hand surgery, breast reduction and scar repair. A number of breast reduction surgeries are done on men. The number of male breast reduction surgeries increased to over 68,000 procedures performed in 2012. Another reconstructive surgery done is a breast reconstruction following a mastectomy for cancer.
Still other reconstructive procedures include contracture surgery for burn survivors or creating a new outer ear when the ear was congenitally absent. Free flaps of skin are used to cover areas of skin that are lost due to infection or trauma. Sometimes areas of skin are removed from one body site to another to treat burn sites. The skin is specially treated to lie onto the burned area so that the new skin can grow into the area where the allograft skin is placed onto he burned part.
When it isn’t called “reconstructive surgery” it is called cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is performed on normal skin for the express purpose of improving a person’s appearance or reducing the signs of ageing. A total of 11 million cosmetic surgery procedures were done on people in 2006. It has increased by 50 percent since the year 2000. The five most common procedures done on people in cosmetic surgery include the following:
- Breast augmentation, which is enlarging the appearance of the breasts
- Liposuction which involves taking fatty tissue out of the body and sculpting the area
- Nasal surgery, designed to change the appearance of the nose
- Eyelid surgery as a way of decreasing wrinkles or looking less Asian in some cases
- Abdominoplasty, which is a way of reconstructing the way the abdomen looks
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery studies thirty-four different cosmetic surgery procedures. Nineteen of the total were surgical and include a nose job or facelift. The rest of the procedures were non-surgical and include laser hair removal and Botox. A total of 81 percent of the procedures were performed on Caucasians.
Other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures include the phalloplasty which is reconstruction of the penis, breast implants, which use saline or silicone breast prosthetics, reduction mammoplasty, in which the person has breast reduction by means of liposuction and sculpting. A mastopexy can be done to lift the breast that is sagging. It essentially reshapes the breast and removes some breast tissue.
A buttock augmentation is a popular procedure with enhancement of the buttocks using silicone implants or fat grafting (called a Brazilian butt lift) that makes the buttocks look “sexier”. A chemical peel can be done, which uses glycolic acid, trichoracetic acid or phenolic acid among others to get rid of acne scars, chicken pox scars and other scars, as well as removing small wrinkles.
Cosmetic surgery can be mild or extreme in nature but it carries what is sometimes an unnecessary risk because these are not necessary procedures but they can carry risk of infection, bleeding, or a botched surgery that doesn’t turn out the way the patient expected.
Not all procedures that have a poor outcome are the result of medical malpractice. A less than satisfactory outcome does not necessarily imply negligence justifying compensation. Medical malpractice means that the practitioner has failed to excessive reasonable skill and care. This does not require the doctor to have acted perfectly nor does it require a perfect outcome. To ascertain whether or not your doctor is guilty of medical malpractice usually requires advice from a specialist plastic surgery lawyer.
Compensation Claim Settlements
The compensation settlement in medical malpractice compensation claims is intended to put the injured person back into the position they would have been in had the injury caused by negligence not occurred. The financial award may contain monetary compensation to cover some or all of the following elements:-
- loss of wages
- future losses
- pain & suffering
- cost of care
- cost of medical treatment
- loss of lifestyle
There are time limits for talking legal Action to claim damages for personal injury caused by medical negligence in Canada. If you are in any doubt about the statute of limitation for your potential cosmetic surgery compensation claim you should take qualified advice from a specialist lawyer without delay. Once the time limit has expired the opportunity to receive an award of damages may be lost forever.
The doctrine of ‘informed consent’ regularly features in medical malpractice compensation claims relating to cosmetic surgery. A patient is entitled to receive advice from the surgeon who is to carry out the clinical procedure relating to all of the possible outcomes and the risks of the surgery prior to signing the consent for the operation to proceed. Failure to fully inform a patient can in due course amount to a criminal assault.
A very large proportion of plastic surgery medical malpractice claims relates to inadequate aftercare. Notwithstanding the fact that surgery may have been carried out skilfully, the patient is often put at risk due to failure to the control of infection. Many surgeons abrogate their responsibilities once the surgery is finished and leave aftercare to less well qualified staff. The surgeon does however remain liable for after-care and is usually responsible for the failings of less well qualified staff under his authority.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you are unhappy with the outcome of any plastic surgery you should initially discuss your reservations with the surgeon who carried out the work to see if he has any proposals to rectify the problem. The surgeon may be willing to make a refund or may provide further corrective surgery. If you are unable to resolve the matter directly with the surgeon you should take advice from a cosmetic surgery medical malpractice lawyer with a view to claiming compensation.
Our medical malpractice lawyers deal with Cosmetic Surgery negligence cases. If you would like legal advice at no cost and with no further obligation just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices. Our Cosmetic Surgery lawyers usually deal with personal injury compensation cases on a contingency basis which means that you only pay legal fees if the case is won.
Cosmetic Surgery Overview
Cosmetic Surgery Complications are common and can be seen in the faces and bodies of celebrities who do not look as good as they did or have awful scars as a result of having had plastic surgery. Regular people who want to undergo plastic surgery can have complications, too, and these are unfortunately not that uncommon. The most common complication of cosmetic surgery is that the individual doesn't have the desired outcome. They thought they would look better but instead are left with ugly scars and an appearance they did not expect.
Complications can be more severe than that. People who have major surgeries like tummy tucks or body lifts can die from massive infection or from pulmonary emboli or cardiac complications after having the surgery. The older the patient and the bigger the surgery, the greater is the risk of death or serious complications from the surgery. Cosmetic surgery can be just as deadly as any other kind of surgery and should best be done for patients who are in good health at the time of surgery.
You can decrease your risk of surgery complications by looking into the risks and benefits of the various surgeries done in plastic surgery. You need to research your doctor, including looking at before and after photos, looking at the morbidity and mortality of the procedure and looking at the doctor's credentials. You need to ask yourself whether or not the procedure you are having is worth the risk of being performed versus not being performed. Are there nonsurgical approaches you can have done instead?
You need to have realistic expectations of what it is you are looking for. You might look better but you probably won't look exactly like your favorite movie star. Cosmetic surgery just isn't that good.
Make sure the surgeon you are to be using knows your complete medical history because it can play a role in whether or not the surgeon will be able to successfully do the surgery. Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgery and make sure that the facility is fully accredited as well. Having a surgeon who belongs to the ASPS means that he or she has had significant successes and few failures. Hospitals or free standing surgery centers that are accredited have been inspected and are good places to have plastic surgery because they are considered superior places to have surgery.
You need to have a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. These are doctors who have passed tests and done enough surgeries to be fully qualified to do plastic surgery. They have undergone five years of a plastic surgery residency, which includes three years of general surgery and two years of cosmetic surgery. They need to pass a written and oral test regarding plastic surgery cases and they need to have practiced for at least two years before accreditation.
Read about the specific details of the surgery you will be having. Find out what complications the surgeon has had before when doing the procedure. Some complications include excessive bleeding, poor outcome, nerve damage, heart attack, pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, among others. In facial procedures, you can damage the facial nerve, which will lead to permanent paralysis of part of your face. You can get numbness of the face that does not go away after the procedure is over with. Cosmetic eye surgery can do significant damage to the eyes, including affecting your vision or giving you the inability to close the eye completely. Surgeries like body contouring or tummy tucks have perhaps the greatest risk because of permanent nerve damage, scarring and deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
Surgery has risks, even if you choose the best surgeon and the best location to have your procedure done. Some complications are simply unavoidable and you need to know what they are and be prepared to take the risk anyway. Speak to the surgeon before the surgery about the potential risks and be prepared to speak to an attorney later if the procedure did not go the way you expected it to go.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here