In Australia, it is often the case that doctors who aren’t specialists in plastic surgery perform cosmetic surgery procedures. “Cosmetic surgery” is not a recognised specialty of medicine in Australia and the title of “cosmetic surgeon” is not protected under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.
The consequences of undergoing an invasive procedure at the hands of an untrained person can be devastating. State governments are currently reviewing legislation with the aim of tightening the laws, in particular, regulations on extreme body modification procedures which are carried out by non-medical practitioners.
If you are thinking of undergoing cosmetic surgery, it is important that you seek professional medical opinion. It is advisable that you consult with your GP (general practitioner) who is likely to have knowledge of reputable and experienced surgeons skilled in the procedure to be undertaken.
Examples of the types of invasive procedures that you should in particular seek the expertise of a specialist accredited plastic and reconstructive surgeon include:
- abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
- brachioplasty (armlift)
- breast augmentation or reduction
- buttock augmentation, reduction or lift
- facial implants that involve inserting an implant on the bone or surgical exposure to deep tissue
- liposuction that involves the removal of more than 2.5 litres of lipoaspirate
- mastopexy or mastopexy augmentation
- pectoral implants
When a procedure is not performed with the requisite standard of care or expertise, things can often go wrong. Permanent scarring, injury, disability or even death may result. When this happens, a patient (or their family) will often seek compensation for their loss, pain and suffering. A cosmetic surgery negligence claim may be brought in situations where a surgery was not performed with due skill and care, resulting in damage.
If you need to take legal action, it’s advisable that you speak with an expert Australian medical negligence solicitor that is experienced in handling cosmetic surgery claims. Australian civil laws differ from State to State, however the regulation of doctor’s conduct is much the same, and standards are assessed as per expert evidence by professional peers. Australian doctors are required by law to have professional indemnity insurance, so it is their insurance company which will pay for any compensation. There are time limits which apply when suing for negligence compensation, so it is important to act without delay.
If your surgeon offers to further operate upon you without cost following the first unsuccessful surgery, you should carefully consider seeking a second opinion from an alternative plastic surgeon, and possibly speak with a medical negligence solicitor for legal advice as to your options.