Whether it’s on television, billboards, magazines, or the omnipresent internet, we are constantly bombarded by the notion that we will be happier, richer, and more successful if we fit society’s standards of beauty. Therefore, it should come as no surprise, that according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2017 alone there were 17.5 million cases of cosmetic procedures reported in the United States (up 2% from 2016) and 5.8 million reconstructive procedures. A whopping $16.7 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures in the U.S. And while many people come out quite happy with the results, all plastic surgery comes with risk and there are still those who experience negative outcomes.
However, not all negative or undesirable outcomes are based in plastic surgery malpractice. In many cases, risks that are made known to the patient prior to surgery may result in complications that occur during surgery; the patient has assumed the known risks.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “plastic surgeons are at an especially high risk of facing malpractice claims, with recent studies demonstrating that the proportion of plastic surgeons facing malpractice claims each year is 13%. Non-surgical specialties had claim rates ranging from 2-9%. The only specialties with higher rates of claims than plastic surgery are:
- Neurosurgery (19%)
- Cardiovascular/thoracic surgery (18%)
- General surgery (15%)
- Orthopedic Surgery (14%)
Common Plastic Surgery Malpractice Allegations & Claims
A study that was released in September 2016 by the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurance company, The Doctors Company, found that the most common medical malpractice allegations made against plastic surgeons were:
- Improper Performance of Surgery (49%)
- Improper Management of Surgical Patient (13%)
- Improper Performance of Treatment or Procedure (12%)
- Retained Foreign Body – Surgical (6%)
- Breach of Confidentiality (4%)
- Failure to Obtain Consent (3%)
The most common injury alleged in medical malpractice claims was emotional trauma (35%), followed by:
- Scarring (23%)
- Cosmetic Injury (14%)
- Infection (12%)
- Burns (6%)
- On-Going Pain (6%)
- Tissue Necrosis (4%)
- Nerve Damage (4%)
- Retained Foreign Bodies (2%)
- Wound Dehiscence (2%)
- Hematomas (2%)
- Adverse Reactions to Medication (2%)
- Contractures (2%)
- Punctures or Perforations of an Organ (2%)
How Can You Mitigate Your Risk?
Unfortunately, we cannot control everything and each surgery comes with some level of risk. Luckily though, according to CosmeticSurgeryPhil.com, the following tips have been expressed as those that may help to minimize that risk:
Approach plastic surgery as an extremely serious medical procedure.
1. Approach plastic surgery as an extremely serious medical procedure.
2. Ensure that you are fully aware of the risks and complications of the procedure that you are embarking upon.
3. Don’t be a guinea pig – wait at least 18 months after a new technology is introduced.
4. Do extensive research on a doctor; this often includes getting second or third opinions.
5. See if the surgeon has hospital privileges – these usually require certain standards to be met.
6. Choose a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon (certified by the U.S. Board of Plastic Surgery). This often means someone who specializes in the procedure you are looking to do.
7. Don’t just go for a physician who is inexpensive.
8. Check out the surgeon’s staff as well as the surgical facility.
9. Discuss your expectations and concerns with your surgeon.
10. Ensure physical fitness and health prior to surgery.
11. Be honest and forthcoming about any past or present medical conditions
12. Follow your surgeon’s instructions for before and after surgery.
13. Contact your surgeon immediately should you experience any complications post-operatively.
If you have initiated a medical malpractice lawsuit as a result of a plastic surgery procedure gone wrong but worry about your ability to keep up with all of your expenses, call USClaims.
At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding, if a case is qualified for pre-settlement funding then we would purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement for some cash now. USClaims only gets paid if a case is won or has reached a settlement! Apply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to learn more.