10 Common Causes of Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice in Michigan

Medical malpractice litigation continues to grow, and the figures for cosmetic surgery is unusually high, at 13% of plastic surgeons. Nearly 30% of cosmetic surgery patients are unhappy with their results; however, you need to get expert advice from your malpractice lawyers at our law firm to determine if it is a valid medical malpractice case based on the legal requirements.

Cosmetic surgeries are mostly elective procedures that are not medically necessary. It is a very personal decision for a patient, and an unfavorable outcome can be emotionally devastating, as it involves your appearance and poor outcomes are there for everyone to see.

Cosmetic Surgery Cases

In a study published by the NIH, the Westlaw legal database showed that the majority of cases were settled in favor of the defendant (65.5%), and only 10% were settled.

Settled cases attracted an award between $29,000-$1,876,637 with the mean award at $633,960, and jury awards to plaintiffs averaged at $1,036,469, ranging between $10,697-$4,500,000.

Interestingly highly populated states did not necessarily show the highest number of cases, with California (26.9%), New York (18.3%), and Massachusetts (7.5%) being the highest, and Michigan only had 3.2% of cases. The authors concluded that the number of cases was related to tort laws in the states. The medical malpractice lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are experienced in these types of cases and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Ranking by procedure type included

  • Cosmetic breast (34.4%)
  • Liposuction (18.3%)
  • Body contouring (14.0%)

Body contouring results favored the defendant, whereas breast surgery results favored the plaintiff.

Negligence was found in 50.5% of cases, lack of informed consent (30.1%), failure to diagnose or treat injury (30.1%), breach of standard-of-case (6.5%), loss of consortium (3.2%), misrepresentation (2.1%), breach of contract (2.1%), surgical error (2.1%), retained foreign body (1.1.%), and wrong procedure (1.1%), but the primary or secondary cause could not be determined.

Most common general cosmetic surgery injuries

  • Permanent scarring, even with minimally invasive surgery
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Severe nerve damage
  • Infections
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Deformed body or face
  • Severe complications that lead to permanent injury or death

Allegations for cosmetic malpractice cases

An extensive ten-year review by a medical malpractice insurance company of closed cases showed the procedures resulting in most claims were breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, breast reconstruction, face procedures that were not around the eyes or the nose, breast reduction, and liposuction. The allegations in these cases related to:

  • Dissatisfaction 29%
  • Scar deformities 14%
  • Emotional distress 14%
  • Infection 14%
  • Asymmetry, death, and burn each 5%

The top three are neither life-threatening nor serious medical complications and only one third related to surgeon skills. The majority of cases related to poor communication and patient behaviors or unrealistic expectations.

Causes of medical negligence in cosmetic surgery

Actual medical negligence can be caused by several surgical errors due to negligence on behalf of the medical professionals or the healthcare facility:

1. Surgical error or mismanaged surgery – where the wrong technique was used, or the surgeon made an error due to negligence or inadequate training. Foreign body left behind during surgery, or lack of patient history taken leading to anaphylaxis or anesthesia-related problems.
2. Wrong procedure – where the wrong procedure was performed on the patient.
3. Wrong area – where the correct procedure was performed but in the wrong area.
4. Negligent injection – the procedure was not performed correctly.
5. Wrong use of drug injection – the type of drug used in the injection was not indicated for the patient condition or request.
6. Post-operative infection – any procedure is at risk for infection; however, a causal connection can be shown.
7. Procedures performed in rooms that should be done in surgical centers.
8. Procedures performed that is not FDA approved (e.g., some stem cell procedures).
9. Inadequate equipment was available for procedure.
10. Resuscitation equipment not available or not functioning in the room where surgery is performed.

If you had a cosmetic procedure done in Michigan, and you have suffered an injury, call Eileen Kroll, a Registered Nurse and Personal Injury trial attorney, at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642- 6261) for a free case evaluation and advice on the way forward. We never charge a fee unless a recovery is made.

Nikole has a special interest in medical-legal issues and holds post-basic degrees in medical law and business. She has developed quality improvement and safety plans for many practices and facilities to prevent medical-legal issues and teaches several courses on data protection and privacy, legal, medical examinations and documentation, and professional ethics. She has been writing professionally on legal, business, ethics, patient advocacy, research and medico-legal issues in articles, white papers, business plans, and training courses for over thirty-five years.

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