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Med Law. 2004;23(3):479-88.

Medical litigation in cosmetic plastic surgery.

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Department of Forensic Sciences, University of Crete Medical School, Crete, Greece.



This article aims to highlight issues related to malpractice in plastic surgery and to point out the importance of good understanding of the law and the value of a patient's written informed consent as measures of professional protection.


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The demand for cosmetic plastic surgery increases despite the increasing cost, in contrast to other traditional goods for which demand typically declines as price increases. Cosmetic plastic surgery has moved beyond the stage of being an exclusive privilege of the rich and famous. Nevertheless, cosmetic plastic surgery is one of the medical specialties exposed to a substantially high risk of malpractice claims. Most malpractice claims in cosmetic plastic surgery are not consequences of technical faults but because of inadequate patient selection criteria and lack of adequate communication between patient and surgeon. Proven efficient training, careful utilization of computer imaging techniques in association with the adoption of simple precautions and guidelines and adequate communication along with a completed patient's consent form are important essentials in case of medical litigation.


In today's litigious society, maintenance of high standards in daily practice with continuous training and appropriate documentation of every procedure are all a sufficient defense of the plastic surgeon in case of medical litigation. Written patient's informed consent remains an integral part of the communication between physicians and patients, and importantly is facilitating professional protection.

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