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Plastic surgeons are doctors that perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries on patients. These doctors specialize in procedures that improve both the appearance and functionality of the body.
There are currently over 28,000 physicians who are board certified to practice plastic surgery.
Students must complete about 13 years of educational requirements to become a plastic surgeon. After earning a bachelor’s degree, future plastic surgeons must complete medical school and graduate with either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.).
After graduating medical school, doctors will complete a 5 to 6-year medical residency training program in both general and plastic surgery. Usually, the first three years focus on general surgery, and the final two to three years focus on plastic surgery.
Plastic surgeons can choose to complete additional education in subspecialties like:
- Hand surgery (the only specialty that can be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery)
- Craniofacial surgery
- Laser surgery
- Reconstructive surgery
- Aesthetic plastic surgery
- Reconstructive microsurgery
- Pediatric plastic surgery
Plastic surgeons need to obtain a medical license before practicing medicine in any state. Medical licenses are controlled by individual states, so requirements will vary across the country. Medical licenses allow doctors to practice any type of medicine but do not demonstrate any special knowledge of one area of medicine.
Plastic surgeons gain board certification through the American Board of Plastic Surgery by meeting certain professional requirements and by successfully passing a lengthy examination.
Where Plastic Surgeons Work
Plastic surgeons work in a variety of settings depending on the doctor’s specific specialty. They may work in private practices providing elective cosmetic surgery to patients, or can work in hospitals providing reconstructive surgery. Plastic surgeons also work in outpatient clinics and in educational settings.
How They Help People
Plastic surgeons in the United States see millions of patients each year for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Plastic surgeons may alter a patient’s face to enhance its aesthetics, or they might work with a burn patient to restore healthy skin. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most popular procedures in 2015 were:
Plastic surgeons also perform non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures on patients. The most common minimally invasive treatments in 2015 were:
Plastic surgery is a broad field of medicine that is constantly evolving. Plastic surgeons can work in a small, specialized section of the field, or can work with a range of conditions.
Plastic surgeons will meet with patients and discuss the desired outcome of treatment, restore functionality or alter the appearance of the body after trauma or for elective purposes. Plastic surgeons perform invasive procedures on patients to improve the aesthetic appearance of the body or to reconstruct and repair the body. They may surgically implant inserts to create an aesthetically pleasing cheek bone, or may use inserts to restore bones that were damaged or malformed.
After completing a surgery, plastic surgeons will continue to provide patients with post-operative care. They may also schedule additional treatment sessions if the procedure needed to be broken into parts.
The average salary of a plastic surgeon is $346,408.
Medical Negligence and Plastic Surgeons
Medical malpractice is common in plastic surgery due in part to the high profits doctors can yield from these procedures. But patients may find it difficult to get representation for most plastic surgery malpractice cases because law firms can only take on cases of serious injury that are worth the work, time, and money these cases demand. Minor errors in malpractice cases are unfortunate, but they may not be worth an entire case.
Plastic surgery malpractice can involve:
- Nerve damage
- Damage to surrounding anatomy
- Excessive blood loss
- Blood clotting
- Wrong site surgery
- Skin disfiguration or severe discoloration
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
Plastic surgery malpractice cases commonly involve mistakes like:
- Ruptured silicone breast implants
- Floating implant
- Permanent numbness after a tummy tuck
- Formation of keloid, or abnormal scar, after dermabrasion
Patients who suffer a serious injury while under the care of a plastic surgeon may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and physical and emotional suffering.
Dissatisfaction with the results of a procedure is not enough to claim malpractice. Malpractice cases must involve a breach of standard of care between a doctor and patient that resulted in a significant injury to the patient.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Every surgery involves risk, but patients should be able to expect that their doctor will provide them with the best possible care. Plastic surgeons are responsible for warning patients about the dangers and risks associated with procedures. If patients were not aware of the risks or suffered serious harm, they may be entitled to compensation.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury while under the care of a plastic surgeon, you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian understand the difficult situation patients and families face after a malpractice injury, and our attorneys have a track record of success in protecting malpractice victims across Maryland.
Call Gilman & Bedigian today at (800) 529-6162 to start your case.