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When can you sue a plastic surgeon for malpractice?

Many people choose to have cosmetic surgery over the holidays when they can take a couple of weeks off to heal. The rate of noninvasive cosmetic procedures also rises over the holidays because people want to look their best at gatherings of family and friends who haven't seen them for a while.

Not everyone is pleased with the results of their surgery. Some patients realize afterward that in trying not to look like they'd had "work done," they were too conservative in their requests. For others, the results may be too stark.

It's often subjective. We've all seen people who clearly have had cosmetic surgery,, and we believe they look unnatural. They, however, may look in the mirror and feel great.

However, we've all heard horror stories of cosmetic surgery that's gone tragically wrong, with long-term and even fatal consequences. Someone goes under the knife to have their stomach flattened, and they don't survive the surgery.

So, when is a medical malpractice case against a plastic surgeon an option? Medical malpractice in general can be difficult to prove. When it involves cosmetic surgery, bringing a case can be even more complicated.

However, there are some cases in which a doctor or someone on the medical team clearly didn't provide a reasonable standard of care. This can include cases involving:

  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Implant malfunctions
  • Scarring
  • Nerve damage

In some cases, surviving loved ones may be able to sue for wrongful death. Our readers might remember the case of singer Kanye West's mother. She died in 2007, shortly after her cosmetic surgery. While her cause of death wasn't conclusively determined, the coroner's report noted "multiple postoperative factors" that led to her death. She also had coronary disease. A qualified plastic surgeon needs to consider a patient's overall health before performing any type of procedure.

Doctors can and have been sued for misconduct around plastic surgery patients. They've been known to post nude photos of their patients or photos of themselves during the procedure online.

If a plastic surgeon's malpractice or misconduct has caused harm for which a person can seek compensation (such as lost income, damage to reputation or the need for reparative surgery or other medical care), it may be wise to consult an attorney.

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