When a patient ends up with a disfiguring scar or scars as a result of surgical error, the consequences aren’t just aesthetic. Serious scarring of various types can produce prolonged recovery, numbness, nerve damage, permanent disfigurement, Bell’s palsy (face drooping), emotional trauma, and psychological distress. It can also have a long-term effect on a person’s professional and financial well-being.
The Risks Involved in Surgery
About 230 million surgical procedures are performed worldwide each year overall—everything from cesarean sections to skin cancer surgeries to face lifts. There’s been a dramatic rise in recent years in cosmetic surgeries focused on body enhancement as well as plastic surgery operations that reconstruct body parts injured or damaged by trauma, disease, and burns.
General, cosmetic, and plastic surgery procedures all carry the risk of surgical error: mistakes made in anesthesia administration, wrong incision points, wrong body parts, infection, and adverse reactions to medication. Out of the 1.7 million invasive cosmetic surgery procedures performed in 2015 in the US, there were an average of one quarter-million breast augmentations, liposuctions, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, and about 130,000 tummy tucks. All have potentially painful side effects, varying recovery periods, and potential for severe scarring. Moreover, risk of infection and internal bleeding is highest with liposuction and tummy tucks.
Scarring Types and Effects
Skin tissue repair results in a broad spectrum of scar types, ranging from fine line to widespread scarring, atrophic scars (small, flat, and depressed), scar contractures (crossing joints or skin creases), hypertrophic (raised) scars, and keloid (raised and invading surrounding tissue) scars. Scars can cause severe itching, tenderness, pain, sleep loss, anxiety, depression, and interference with daily activities. Physical deformity as a result of disfiguring scarring can be disabling. Many patients have unrealistic expectations of elective cosmetic procedures that go unchecked by surgeons who don’t adequately inform patients of potentially harmful results.
Disfiguring scarring due to surgical error can affect a person’s ability to see, to smile, or to smell, and it can impede joint mobility. It can also affect a person’s ability to get married, feel strong self-esteem, make friends, and enjoy various sports or recreational activities. This condition may also result in the unfair but very real social stigma attached to disfigurement, in which case the patient’s quality of life will be clearly diminished.
Keep a Record After Your Surgery
Increasing the success of a medical malpractice claim is enhanced by having before and after photos, obtaining a second medical opinion, and keeping notes about the surgery’s aftermath and incurred emotional, physical, psychological, and financial distress.
Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you or anyone you know has experienced disfigurement from scarring due to surgical error in Florida, please contact us to speak with a qualified medical malpractice attorney. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727-446-0840 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.