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As the popularity of plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures has increased, so too has the incidence of complications, mistakes, and clear examples of medical malpractice. There are numerous reasons for this trend, some natural and others of a more concerning nature. For example, with more surgeries being performed it is expected that the number of total complications experienced will increase – this is only natural considering a fixed rate of incidents. And it is not entirely unexpected that rate of complications would increase as well, since having more people enter the field of plastic surgery means that, on average, the later entrants will not be as drawn to the practice out of a love for cosmetic procedures or particular skill in that area, but by the money that can be earned.

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But according to numerous news reports and regional studies, the number and rate of complications is rising out of proportion to the increase in procedures. Evidence is accumulating that due to a relative lack of regulation with respect to licensing of cosmetic surgeons coupled with the incentive for marginally qualified individuals to claim experience in order to cash in on a lucrative, booming business, many plastic surgeons are simple not qualified to offer services. With ads for plastic surgeons and all manner of cosmetic procedures filling print media and the airwaves, the issue of receiving a face lift gone horribly bad is on the minds of many who are close to the industry.

Without a doubt, even someone undergoing an elective cosmetic procedure for the worst possible reasons has a right to be treated by someone who is competent in performing cosmetic operations. No one should suffer the physical and mental scars of being damaged under the knife of someone who should not be holding it. Understanding your rights if you are a victim of malpractice is vital.

Cosmetic surgery, or plastic surgery as it is often called, is defined as any procedure meant to alter – usually improve – a person’s physical appearance. It does include the area of reconstructive surgery, often done to improve someone’s physical function after an accident or fix defects inherited at birth.

Cosmetic surgery of any variety is a medical procedure fraught with the same potential types of complications as with other forms of major surgery. Malpractice is an extremely troubling and damaging event because it undermines the trust between doctor and patient, trust that is vital in a functioning society that provides medical care to its members. And when it comes to cosmetic surgery, the damage is done not just to a person’s health, but also their self-image.

Breast surgery, for example, can result in infections, size errors, damage to nerves and ducts, scarring, and unpleasant firmness or distortion in shape. Loss of skin is another risk, as is a general post-operative asymmetry. Similarly, face lifts can cause all of the above and more: the eyes can be so badly affected that it is no longer possible to fully close them, which leads to them drying out. For a part of the body that is so important to a person’s self-perception, to have this area damaged is likely to have major psychological effects.

Other cosmetic procedures can go terribly wrong as well. Rhinoplasty can result in breathing issues, liposuction can leave numbness or result in the puncture, perforation, and sometimes even lethal damage to internal organs. Other abdominal procedures that go wrong cause unsightly scarring, infections, and permanent skin discoloration.

For anyone affected by the results of an improperly done cosmetic procedure, contacting a reputable cosmetic malpractice attorney is a powerful means of obtaining financial restitution and securing their rights. When the lifelong complications of botched plastic surgery are taken into consideration, an attorney may be the only avenue left to people facing disfigurement, injury, or even the death of a loved one due to irresponsible plastic surgery and the resulting complications.