Botched Plastic Surgery? You May Be The Victim Of Medical Malpractice

Surgery  — especially cosmetic surgery — is more common than ever, along with the medical blunders that go hand in hand with it.

In 2018, nearly 18 million people underwent cosmetic procedures in the United States alone. Some people wish to enhance or preserve their looks. I mean, who doesn’t like a boost in confidence? On the other hand, many people look for reconstructive surgery because of accidents, birth defects, illnesses, etc.

No matter the reason, you deserve the best possible care! But unfortunately, like other types of surgeries, cosmetic surgery can go wrong. 

In some cases, botched plastic surgery can leave a person in a worse condition than before. We’ve all heard a horror story or two. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the risks involved with cosmetic surgery. And we’ll give tips for how to avoid medical malpractice errors as best as possible. Last but not least, we’ll point you in the right direction if you’re a victim.

A plastic surgeon showing a patient what she'll look like after surgery on a tablet.

Examples Of Botched Surgery & Malpractice (& Why It Happens)

With any type of surgery, there’s a certain level of risk involved. But that certainly doesn’t excuse surgeons who commit medical malpractice or negligence. They need to be held accountable too! 

Medical malpractice during plastic surgery can take many forms. Infection, anesthesia errors, punctures, and gross disfigurement are just a few of the issues that may arise. Unfortunately, mistakes come in many forms.

How Can Plastic Surgery Go Wrong?

Here are some ways a surgical procedure can go wrong (cosmetic or otherwise): 

  • Unqualified surgeons performing the surgery.
  • Using nurses instead of qualified anesthesiologists.
  • Not fully examining a patient’s history.
  • Not having a properly-equipped space for the procedure, such as a hospital.
  • Using the wrong equipment for the procedure.

When surgeons are negligent in the areas above, this can and often does lead to a failed surgery, and sometimes with horrifying outcomes – even death. Here’s one example from Miami.

8 Women In Miami Die Because Of Botched Surgery

Health issues as a result of botched plastic surgery can vary. In some cases, it’s an inconvenience and doesn’t look great. In other cases, it’s life threatening. What started off as a simple way to enhance your appearance can turn into something very serious.

Take for example, a cosmetic surgery clinic in Miami, where 8 women died in a span of 6 years. According to USA Today,

“Four of the women died after their doctors mistakenly injected body fat deep in their muscles and tore the veins during a popular surgery known as the Brazilian butt lift, records and interviews show. The fat pooled in their hearts and lungs, killing them in minutes.”

Women and mothers who were on the hunt for affordable cosmetic care, lost their lives far too soon. Families lost loved ones, and children who lost their mothers. And here’s the kicker. The clinic changed its name three times to protect their image and keep potential clients from learning the truth. Completely unacceptable.

Common Complications In Mismanaged Plastic Surgery

While cosmetic surgeries are generally successful, they have their fair share of complications. Here’s some complications that come with botched plastic surgeries.

1. Infection

Infection is one of the most common complications of botched plastic surgery. These infections range from cellulitis (skin infection) to infections of the internal organs. About 1.1 to 2.5 percent of breast augmentation patients suffer infections. (Source: National Library of Medicine)

2. Hematoma

A hematoma is a large, inflamed bruise containing a pocket of blood. It often occurs after a facelift. It is also common with breast augmentation procedures. Female patients are affected more than male patients. The complication occurs in roughly 1 percent of breast augmentation and facelift patients. It requires extra operations to drain the blood pocket.

3. Nerve Damage

A damaged nerve is a very common botched plastic surgery complication. Nerve damage symptoms include numbness and tingling. (And a wide variety of other symptoms.) The condition is generally short-lived, but it can sometimes be permanent. A large percentage of women report sensitivity changes after a breast augmentation procedure. And 15 percent experience “permanent alterations in nipple sensation.” (Source: University of Michigan.)

4. Organ Damage

Organ damage is a common side-effect of liposuction procedures. The internal organs can suffer serious damage when they encounter the surgical probe. Visceral perforations and punctures are common issues. Organ damage is dangerous, and can be fatal. And on top of that, correcting the mistake may require another surgery.

5. Seroma

Seroma happens when serum gathers beneath the skin’s surface. It is often one of the first signs of a botched tummy tuck plastic surgery. The condition causes inflammation and pain. About 15 to 30 percent of tummy tuck patients suffer from seroma. (Source: Healthline) The condition is also prone to infection.

Commonly Failed Surgeries/Procedures

Breast Augmentation Gone Wrong

Many people have had their breast surgery go wrong.

This often includes one of the following:

  • Implants in the wrong place.
  • Deflated implants.
  • Implants that are too small or too large for the body’s frame.
  • Scars from a botched procedure.
  • Capsular contracture – when scar tissue around the breast implant hardens and causes an unnatural look and pain as well.
  • Symmastia – when the skin in between the implants lifts because the implants are too close together. This makes it look like a single implant.

In many situations, doctors have to remove the implants and begin the process over again. One of the most common causes of these botched procedures? The implantation of breast implants without proper consultation. Failing to give a proper consultation is often the cause of a botched surgery.

A Bad Lip Lift

Lip lifts are also frequently botched. In many cases, the top lip is handled improperly, resulting in an unusual curve and shape. The upper lip can turn out larger than the lower lip, for example, making it out of proportion to the rest of the face. There are many other potential complications as well, like scarring, nerve damage, and allergic reactions.

Botched Face Lift Surgery

Pixie ears are a common example of this. A pixie ear is a tugged or tethered earlobe that looks attached to the side of the face vs hanging normally. This is a common side effect of a botched surgery facelift (and it basically shows that the doctor botched the procedure).

A Botched Neck Lift Surgery

A botched neck surgery often results in neck burns, but there are other complications as well, such as scars and infection.

Botched Injections

Hyaluronic Acid (gel injections) or Sculptra injections into the cheekbones or the mid-face are very common. Injections in general, are some of the most commonly botched procedures. (Although they’re not technically surgeries.)

Botox injections are another common procedure that goes wrong. Unnatural or frozen foreheads are common botched surgical procedures. Lower brow position or malposition of the lateral half of the brows are too. And finally, lip fillers are often botched as well.

Botched Liposuction

Infections, uneven fat removal, and numbness in the belly are common side effects of botched liposuction. Although its complication rate seems to be fairly low, liposuction carries plenty of risk, like any surgical procedure. If you’re experiencing any of these side effects, you may want to contact your attorney to discuss your options.

Why do we call it “Botched?”

Botch is a verb that originated from the old English word bocchyn. Bocchyn translates to “to repair or fix.” With time, the definition changed meaning from “repair” to “a clumsy repair job.” Today, the word is used to refer to a failed plastic surgery job. (Or a different type of failed surgery.) So basically, a failed plastic surgery is “a clumsy repair job.”

Plastic surgery enthusiasts often use the word in a derogatory manner. This is usually to criticize unfavorable plastic surgery results. You’re bound to see the words botched plastic surgery being tossed around on social media.

Plastic surgery patients often share their botched plastic surgery results. Some other patients share their recovery journey. Overall, the use and portrayal of the word shows that the world of plastic surgery is far from perfect. And anyone can fall victim to the errors therein, regardless of social status or body type.

How Common are Botched Surgeries? (Cosmetic & Otherwise)

They may be more common than you think. As you know, there are plenty of horror stories associated with botched plastic surgeries and other surgeries as well. Did you know that plastic surgeons performed over 300 surgical procedures in 2021, on average? It’s no wonder they make mistakes – that’s a lot of procedures. On the whole, surgical errors occur more than 4000 times a year in the United States.

Now, would you consider surgery on the wrong body part botched? Well, let’s say it is for now at least. Doctors in the US apparently perform wrong site surgery an estimated 20-40 times a week. That’s 40 “botched” surgeries every week, according to the National Library of Medicine (and some sources report closer to 20).

The NPDB recorded 5,940 wrong-side/site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient adverse events over the course of 13 years. That’s an awful lot of bad surgeries, cosmetic and otherwise. And worse still, only 10% of wrong site surgeries actually get reported. So the total number of horribly flawed surgeries is likely a lot higher.

Avoiding the Risks

How can you get the procedure you want or need, but steer clear of unnecessary risks? As with any surgical procedure there’s risks involved, but there are things you can do to lessen the odds. If you’re looking to have a cosmetic or plastic surgery, here’s a few tips we recommend: 

  • Always do your research and use a cosmetic surgeon with a track record.
  • It’s best to avoid cosmetic surgery abroad, as you won’t have as many legal rights in a foreign country. 
  • Make sure you see the doctor’s qualifications. They’ll be operating on YOU after all, so there’s no reason to not ask for proof. 
  • Check that the surgeon has board certification. The certifications can vary greatly, so be sure to research diligently! 
  • Insist that the doctor checks all existing health conditions, is aware of allergies, and evaluates any potential risk.
  • Google the practice. It sounds like an obvious tip, but see what other people have to say.

A woman sits with her head cradling her knees looking depressed.

Botched Surgery? Find A Medical Malpractice Lawyer 

Nobody deserves to fall victim to negligence or malpractice. No matter the type of surgery, you deserve quality care. That’s why it’s so important to keep medical professionals accountable! Take the cosmetic facility in Miami, for instance. The fact that numerous people died within such a short period of time is scary. Things like that shouldn’t happen. 

Plastic surgeons and cosmetic professionals need to be competent and certified, in order to keep patients safe. And if they’re not, then they need to be held accountable for their crimes. 

Have you experienced a botched surgery? If you find yourself the victim of a plastic surgery gone bad, please reach out to us. You may deserve compensation. To figure out your options, and discuss your legal rights, contact us right away.

Botched Surgery & Plastic Surgery FAQs – Quick Answers Section

What is a botched surgery?

Plastic surgery is usually called “botched” when the result is much worse than expected. That is, it’s substantially different from the result the doctor told them to expect. If the patient has medical issues caused by the surgery, that’s often considered botched too.

What is a botched plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery is called “botched” when the result is far from what was expected. In a bad way. Botched plastic surgery can be medical malpractice, of course. Botched procedures take many different forms. Examples include disfigurement, infections, organ damage, and fatal punctures.

Can you sue a plastic surgeon for a botched surgery?

Of course! If the plastic surgeon committed malpractice, you can certainly sue them, just like any other malpractice case. It can be a more difficult process. (And sometimes patients get upset with the surgery when the surgeon didn’t commit malpractice.) But if you are a victim of malpractice, you have the right to sue for compensation.

What can you do if you have a botched plastic surgery?

If you believe your surgeon has committed malpractice, call a trusted malpractice attorney. Discuss your experience to determine whether you have a case, and your options. If you don’t think your surgeon has committed malpractice, you should talk to him or her directly, to discuss your revision options.

Is a botched surgery malpractice?

It definitely can be, and often is. Put it this way. If your surgeon was negligent, that means their procedure fell below the accepted standard of care. In that case, you probably have a malpractice case on your hands. Call your malpractice attorney right away to discuss your next steps.

Can botched plastic surgery be fixed?

Yes, botched plastic surgery can be fixed. But that doesn’t mean you’re sure to like the “fix.”There are cosmetic surgeons trained to correct botched surgeries. A corrective surgeon uses special methods to fix surgical mistakes committed by other physicians. Make sure you work with a reputable and certified corrective surgery specialist. That’ll help you avoid worsening your situation.

Do plastic surgeons do revisions for free?

Generally speaking, no. It’s an ugly truth but an understandable one. Because sometimes, patients get upset about their surgery and want revisions even when the surgeon did what he or she was supposed to.

That said, sometimes the doctor will offer revisions for “free.” More or less anyway. You’d probably still have to pay for the facility and anesthesia expenses. If you believe you’re a victim of malpractice, however, we advise you to talk to a malpractice attorney. They may have to pay you instead of you paying them.

What happens if you don’t like your plastic surgery results?

You can bring a surgeon to court if he or she botched your surgery. Also, if the surgeon promised specific results but failed to deliver. That sort of promise is generally called a warranty. So the surgeon may be held liable for a breach of warranty.

What is the highest risk cosmetic surgery?

The body lift and BBLs (Brazilian butt lifts) are both very high risk cosmetic surgerys. But BBLs have been cited by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons as the most dangerous. (They have the highest death rate of all aesthetic procedures.)

And the body lift is actually several procedures in one, including a butt lift. Which is why it’s so risky. The purpose of the body lift is to improve body shape. It requires the thighs, buttocks, belly and genitals to be lifted.

What happens if my plastic surgery goes wrong?

There are a number of potential consequences when a plastic surgery goes wrong. Severe burns, for one. Or disfigurement. Or paralysis, scarring, asymmetry, prolonged and even permanent pain. And worst of all, death. Do you believe your surgeon has committed malpractice? Call your malpractice attorney to discuss your options.