How do I claim medical negligence compensation for cosmetic surgery gone wrong in Australia?

In Australia, it is often the case that doctors who are not specialists in plastic surgery perform cosmetic surgery. “Cosmetic surgery” is not a recognized specialty of medicine in Australia and the title of “cosmetic surgeon” is not protected by the National Law of the Health Practitioner Regulation.

The consequences of undergoing an invasive procedure by an untrained person can be devastating. State governments are currently reviewing the legislation with the aim of tightening up the laws, particularly the requirements for extreme body modification procedures performed by non-medical personnel.

If you are considering having cosmetic surgery, it is important that you seek professional medical advice. It is advisable to consult your general practitioner (general practitioner) who is likely to have knowledge of reputable and experienced surgeons skilled in the procedure to be performed.

Examples of the types of invasive procedures for which you should specifically seek the expertise of a specialist accredited plastic and reconstructive surgeon include:

  • abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

  • brachioplasty (arm lift)

  • breast augmentation or reduction

  • buttock enlargement, reduction or lift

  • facial implants where an implant is placed on the bone or surgical exposure to deep tissue

  • liposuction where more than 2.5 liters of lipoaspirate is removed

  • mastopexy or mastopexy augmentation

  • neck lift

  • breast implants

When an intervention is not performed with the required care or expertise, things can often go wrong. Permanent scarring, injury, disability or even death can result. When this happens, a patient (or their family) will often seek compensation for their loss, pain, and suffering. A cosmetic surgery negligence claim can be made in situations where surgery was not performed with due skill and care, resulting in damage.

If you need to take legal action, it is recommended that you speak to an expert Australian medical negligence lawyer who is experienced in handling cosmetic surgery claims. Australian civil law varies from state to state, but the regulation of doctors’ conduct is much the same, and standards are judged based on expert evidence by professional peers. Australian doctors are required by law to have professional liability insurance, so it is their insurance company that pays any fees. There are time limits that apply when suing for negligent damages, so it’s important to act without delay.

If your surgeon offers to continue operating on you at no cost after the first unsuccessful surgery, you should carefully consider getting a second opinion from an alternative plastic surgeon, and possibly speak to a medical negligence attorney for legal advice about your options.