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Icon of male cosmetic surgeon for cosmetic surgery negligence article

Cosmetic surgery is undertaken by people for various reasons’ some personal and some out of necessity after an illness or trauma such as a car accident injury or burn injury

Whether you want to remove skin with a tummy tuck after significant weight loss, reshape your nose to bring you more confidence, or get the breast augmentation you have always wanted, you should have the confidence that the person performing your surgery is a competent and qualified professional.

  • Cosmetic surgery such as breast augmentation, tummy tucks, and facial restructuring and can be performed by any medically-qualified professional - including generalist GPs with no surgical training
  • Reconstructive surgery restores the appearance of a part of the body after an accident, trauma, cancer (such as breast cancer) or disease and can only be performed by a specialist plastic surgeon who has additional training

If you've been injured during a cosmetic surgery procure due to doctor or medical negligence then you may be entitled to compensation. Our medical negligence lawyers can provide free and no obligation information on your rights and options to a no win, no fee claim with no upfront costs.

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What is the difference between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons?

Icon of lady about to get facial plastic surgery

There is a large difference in the qualification of cosmetic surgeons compared to plastic surgeons. To become a plastic surgeon a doctor must firstly qualify and then complete an additional five years of training through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to obtain this specialist qualification. Whereas, any level of doctor can say that they are a cosmetic surgeon without any further training after their initial medical qualification.

The Australian appetite for cosmetic surgery has increased significantly in recent years. In 2015, cosmetic surgeons performed around 8,000 breast augmentations a year. In 2018, there were just over 17,500 breast augmentation procedures out of a total of 102,404 cosmetic surgery procedures performed, with an additional 100,238 non-surgical procedures performed (such as sclerotherapy - vein removal, fillers and botox). 

Whether the increase in procedures can be linked to Insta-perfect images, more disposable income with Covid-canceled travel, or just a desire to put yourself first - there is no denying that the cosmetic surgery industry is growing.

No matter how experienced your surgeon or medical professional is, if you have experienced an injury or problem as a result of your surgery, you may be entitled to compensation if your injury has been caused by medical negligence. Speak to our compensation lawyers today and organise your free consultation to find out where you stand.

Compensation or Corrective Surgery

If you have undergone a cosmetic procedure and you are unhappy with the end result, you could seek financial compensation and have the issue rectified elsewhere, or you could request that the surgeon correct the procedure to achieve the outcome you want.

Example 1: Grace has undergone breast augmentation surgery to alter the size of one of her breasts which has always been smaller than the other. While she is originally satisfied with the end result, after some weeks the implant begins to droop and her breasts are differing shapes. She returns to the same surgeon who has consulted with her throughout the process and she agrees to perform corrective surgery at no additional cost to achieve the outcome Grace wants.

Example 2: Michelle visits a cosmetic surgeon for a liposuction procedure. After the procedure, the site of the liposuction becomes infected and her skin begins to ripple. The site becomes seriously infected and Michelle does not feel comfortable returning to the same doctor for a corrective procedure, as she has recently read that they have been sued for negligent practice. She goes to see a law firm about making a cosmetic surgery compensation claim, and they assist her to go through the claims process and recover compensation for the pain and suffering she has experienced, as well as loss of income because of having to take time off work.

If you have had a surgical procedure that has caused you injury, or has resulted in an outcome that you were not expecting such as pain or infection, you can take steps to correct your procedure:

  1. Contact the doctor who has performed your surgery as soon as possible - especially if you have infection at the site of your surgery or the area is sore, warm, or more tender than it should be at this stage of your recovery.
  2. Arrange a follow up consultation and let them know what your concerns are. Find out if they are willing to correct the procedure (and identify if you feel confident that they can correct the procedure).
  3. Speak to a lawyer and find out where you stand in relation to your cosmetic procedure and corrective plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome from seeing your original doctor, you can also make a complaint to the Queensland Health Ombudsman who can assist you with the process of getting to where you need to be with your surgery.

Most common plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery procedures in Australia

Of the thousands of Australians having procedures performed every year, the one procedure that is performed more frequently than all the others is breast augmentation surgery. In fact, breast augmentation is the most popular elective cosmetic surgery procedure worldwide. Around 20,000 women undergo breast augmentation each year in Australia, with eyelid surgery, liposuction and abdominoplasty all popular procedures as well.

While surgeons are embracing a move towards greater regulation of the industry, there are people who have had their procedures performed who now have to live with the consequences of surgery gone wrong. If you have had any kind of cosmetic surgery treatment and are considering a cosmetic surgery compensation claim due to injury, pain or suffering, speak to our personal injury compensation lawyers today.

Breast Implant and Surgery Compensation

Cosmetic breast implant icon with surgeon

As we mentioned above, breast augmentation is the most common elective and reconstructive procedure performed in Australia and globally. As a result, it is uncontroversial to state that there is a comparative risk associated with the procedure. 

Breast implants, it must be noted from the outset, are not a lifetime device. They have a lifespan of approximately 10 to 15 years. Any risk of adverse consequences arising from the insertion of implants commences from the time the implant is inserted. Common breast implant complications include:

●     Rupturing

●     Rotation of the implant

●     Bubbling of the implant

●     Displacement, or migration (where the implant moves)

●     Visibility or rippling of the implant

●     Deflation with a saline-filled implant

●     Folding of the implant

Source: Australian Journal of General Practice

Any of these issues with your implant can and should be rectified by your original surgeon, or otherwise compensated for the rectification or correction procedure. Treatment for a waterfall deformity, for example, would involve an implant exchange with a breast lift. Speak to your original surgeon if you have experienced issues with your breast augmentation treatment or get in touch for a free consultation if you have approached your original surgeon and not had the outcome you expected.

How Cosmetic Surgery Compensation Claims Are Calculated

Compensation calculator icon with money and calculator

When calculating cosmetic surgery compensation, a claim will take into account the pain and suffering associated with the procedure, as well as any associated financial loss that has happened as a result of the procedure. Your cosmetic surgery compensation claim may include compensation for:

  • Loss of income
  • Costs of further corrective medical procedures
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment in life

A claim for cosmetic surgery compensation is ultimately a medical negligence claim, which can be complex and involve expert reports, so it is helpful to speak to a compensation lawyer who can advise you on where you may stand and how you can commence a claim for compensation. 

Our team is experienced in helping people who have had surgical procedures that have had adverse outcomes and are here to support you as you go through the claim process, if this is right for you.

Time Limits for Cosmetic Surgery Compensation

Clock with alert symbol to show concussion compensation time limits

When making a claim for cosmetic surgery compensations, you have time limits for starting your claim. Generally, a claim has to be started within three years of the date your injury was suffered (the date of the surgery) or three years from the date you became aware of your injury. 

In some cases, a person making a claim will need to provide notice within a certain time frame - and it is important to be aware of time limits to ensure you are not barred from getting the compensation you may deserve. You can read more about specific time limits. The Murphy's Law team can provide free initial advice on your rights and help figure out what your time limits would be.

Overseas Cosmetic Surgery Errors

Icon on plane travelling around globe

Medical expenses for cosmetic surgery can run into the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Pre-covid, many Australians were heading off overseas each year to get procedures done, but the duty of care for an overseas surgeon is potentially not the same as it is in Australian clinics so if something goes wrong it can be difficult to have it rectified easily.

People either book their own travel by doing their own research or will book through a plastic surgeon tourism provider in Australia. It is important to note that if booking your own overseas cosmetic procedure, any claim and regulation of the procedure would be related to the country in which your procedure was done. 

But if you do book with a cosmetic travel provider they may have a guarantee which can help in some cases. Whatever the case, exercise caution if electing to have cosmetic surgery outside of Australia.

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