There are certain risks inherent in all surgeries. In nearly every case, your surgeon and his or her medical team are experienced, skilled, and properly trained. Unfortunately, in a small percentage of surgical procedures, something goes wrong. While in some cases that “something” may be nobody’s fault, and would have been unavoidable no matter who performed the surgery, in other cases avoidable surgical errors can lead to permanent injury, disfigurement, or even death. Some statistics regarding cosmetic surgeries include:
- Approximately two million cosmetic procedures go beyond minimally invasive procedures such as Botox or microdermabrasion. (Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures amount to more than nine million annually.)
- Infection following a cosmetic surgical procedure is the biggest risk.
- About one in every 13,000 people who undergo cosmetic surgery will die–as compared to the risks of dying in any surgical procedure, which is one in 250,000.
- Because liposuction procedures require general anesthesia, that number jumps to one in every 5,000 cases.
- More than 350,000 people have rhinoplasty (nose re-shaping) performed each year.
- Another 320,000 have liposuction procedures done each year.
- Malpractice claims are filed for only one out of every eight preventable medical errors, and punitive damages are awarded in less than 1% of medical malpractice cases.
Most Common Cosmetic Surgery Injuries and Errors
The general risks associated with cosmetic surgical procedures include infection, complications from anesthesia, dangerous drops in blood pressure, scarring, tissue death, blood clotting under the skin (hematoma), damage to nerves, and death due to severe complications. Certain cosmetic surgical procedures bring additional risks such as:
- Rhinoplasty –numbness in and around the nose, difficulty breathing through the nose, and recurring nosebleeds.
- Liposuction –excessive bruising, swelling, scarring, and numbing of the skin.
- Tummy tuck –slow wound healing, permanent abdominal numbness.
- Eyelid surgery –detached retinas, inverted lower lid.
- Breast enhancement –ruptured implants, breast hardening.
- Face lift –discoloration of skin, nerve injury to the nerves which control facial muscles.
- Hair transplants –irregular-looking hair in the grafted area, infection.
- Dermabrasion –keloid scarring.
- Breast reduction –excessive scarring, the inability to breastfeed, asymmetrical breast shape, loss of sensation.
- Augmentation of the lips –lumps in the lips, scarring, numbness, cold sores, asymmetrical lips.
Patients who are considering cosmetic surgery should have their health fully evaluated, including medical history, current health, use of alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications, and family history.
The Liability of the Cosmetic Surgeon
Cosmetic surgeons must exhibit a certain standard of competency and care when treating patients–just like any other type of surgeon. In other words, your plastic surgeon must provide the same level of treatment, skill, and care that any other reasonable plastic surgeon would have provided under the same circumstances. When your treatment fails to meet accepted medical standards, and results in injury, you may have a medical malpractice case. Some cosmetic surgery errors can leave you with lifelong complications, requiring any number of corrective surgical procedures. Lost income, psychological difficulties (particularly when the injury is on your face), disfigurement, and chronic pain are all potential outcomes following a cosmetic surgery, which goes horribly wrong.
In order to successfully sue for medical malpractice, you will need to prove that there was a doctor/patient relationship between you and your cosmetic surgeon. Next, you must show that that your cosmetic surgeon failed to act in a manner that a reasonably competent surgeon would have acted under the same circumstances. You must then demonstrate that you suffered injuries as a result of the failure of your surgeon to act competently and that your damages were caused by this failure, or breach of duty.
Other Issues Associated With Cosmetic Surgery Medical Malpractice Cases In Philadelphia and Elsewhere
It is important to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney quickly so that you do not risk exceeding your state’s statute of limitations, which can range from one year to six years. Unfortunately, if your case goes to a jury trial, your attorney will have to combat certain biases juries tend to have regarding elective medical procedures, which is yet another reason to ensure that you speak to a highly skilled medical malpractice lawyer.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured after undergoing a cosmetic surgical procedure, the medical malpractice attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., can help. Our team of lawyers consists of some of the best medical malpractice attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will fight aggressively for you throughout the legal process.
The medical malpractice attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 68 years of experience representing patients and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton counties. We area also proud to serve injured patients throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today at 215-568-1510 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.