Plastic surgery is a growing field with more and more people enlisting doctors to help them achieve a certain look. While these procedures are elective and often do not address a medical issue, it is important to remember that they carry the same risk of complication as any other surgery. If not performed by trained specialists, these procedures can put patients at unnecessary risks.
Plastic surgery refers to reconstructive procedures designed to correct bodily or facial defects. There are multiple types of procedures, including cosmetic surgery, which helps patients alter their appearance. Common plastic surgery procedures include liposuction, face and neck lifts, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, eyelid reconstruction, and abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck. In some cases, these procedures also serve a practical purpose; rhinoplasty patients may want to reshape their nose as well as address breathing issues.
The desired outcome of these procedures makes the process of plastic surgery very subjective. Patients must do their research to make sure they are working with the right provider to meet their needs. This often includes referrals from friends or relatives and consulting your primary care physician. It is crucial, however, for patients to examine providers’ credentials before hiring them.
There are two organizations that issue certifications for plastic surgery: the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Physicians must complete several years of surgical training, including at least one year of training in plastic surgery, to receive one or both certifications. Physicians certified in another surgical field, such as surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, or ear, nose, and throat surgery, must obtain further training specifically in plastic surgery to be recognized by these boards.
There are other organizations that may sound like certifying boards, but are educational or membership organizations with no means of qualification. Patients who see doctors certified by either the American Board of Plastic Surgeons or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery can be confident that their practitioner received thorough training. In addition, patients should seek out physicians with experience in the specific procedure they are hoping to receive; surgeons who perform breast augmentations regularly are more likely to give patients what they are looking for with minimal complications.
Doctors who perform plastic surgery procedures are held to the same standard of care as any other surgeon. When they fail to uphold that standard or fail to warn patients of potential risks, they can be held liable for any damage that their patients suffer as a direct result. A patient’s dissatisfaction with the result of the procedure would not be considered grounds for a medical malpractice suit; however, there are legitimate surgical complications that can result from reconstructive procedures, including infection, nerve damage, scarring, or complications from anesthesia.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury or illness after receiving plastic surgery, call the Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine if medical negligence was a factor and prepare an aggressive legal strategy to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online.