Cosmetic surgery gone wrong? Consider your options for redress

According to an American Society of Plastic Surgery report, over 18 million cosmetic procedures were carried out in the USA in 2019, and the number of people electing to enhance their appearance with an elective surgery is increasing every year.

On the whole, complications from plastic surgery are not common, with one review of more than 25,000 cases in 2018 reporting less than 1% of outpatient surgeries resulting in issues. 

But, if you’ve opted for cosmetic surgery, and are not satisfied with the results, what are your options for redress? In the article below we consider the actions you can take.

Go back to your surgeon

This is obviously your first port of call – you’ll want the work ‘put right’ as quickly and as painlessly as possible. If your dissatisfaction is because the procedure hasn’t produced results you’re happy with, your doctor may agree to carry out a revision for free.  If the problem clearly hasn’t achieved the look you could reasonably have expected – for example, if a breast lift has resulted in an uneven look, it’s in the doctor’s interests to correct the work – his or her reputation could be damaged unless it’s put right. 

If the doctor believes that the results are in line with what you should have expected, they may still agree to re-do the procedure without charge. However, when it’s a case of your personal preference, you will probably have to pay for anesthesia and any in-house stay.

File a lawsuit

If you believe that your problems have arisen due to the doctor’s error it’s important to seek help for medical malpractice and consult and specialist attorney as soon as the situation arises. Gathering evidence is critical, and your lawyer will be able to advise you on what will be needed, as well as whether you have a strong enough case to file a lawsuit. 

If you can prove that your surgeon made an error that no reasonably qualified person would make in the same situation, it may be possible to sue. However, proving negligence can be complicated, and there will likely be conflicting opinions about a failure to anticipate complications or a correct response to the unexpected when they don’t arise directly due to the doctor’s error.

If you plan to sue for medical malpractice, you’ll need to meet the statute of limitations in your state. For example, in California, that’s within a year of you becoming aware of your injuries, whereas, in Illinois, it’s within 2 years. 

Consider insurance

Although no one decides to go for surgery if they think it will go wrong, it’s a good idea to protect yourself against any further costs you may need to pay. Not everyone realizes that their medical insurance may not cover expenses incurred for elective surgeries, even if you believe they can be medically justified – for example, nasal reconstruction may ease breathing, or a breast reduction and lift may help reduce back pain. Taking out a complications insurance policy can give you peace of mind as if the worst should happen, the costs of further medical interventions will be covered.