Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery
In the family of ophthalmology subspecialties, ophthalmic plastic surgery is the adopted child. There are probably more differences than there are similarities with the other subspecialties. The diseases that oculoplastic surgeons treat are unique, and the surgeries they perform are quite different from those of ophthalmology colleagues. These unique attributes of ophthalmic plastic surgery warrant special consideration in the study of ophthalmology and the law.
From a legal perspective, the practice of oculoplastic surgery has risks similar to those of other ophthalmology subspecialties, but perhaps most unique is the high visibility nature of the operations. The eye–periocular complex is arguably the most significant aesthetic feature of the entire body, and thus problems in oculoplastic surgery are highly visible to the patient. Problems in this area also fall under the scrutiny of all the patients’ family members and friends. Thus, there is a complex set of interactions between the patients’ emotions regarding their appearance and their functional oculoplastic problems. This emotion and high visibility are present not only with elective cosmetic procedures but also with reconstructive and functional surgeries, as well as medical treatments.
This chapter should serve as a guide for physicians and is not designed to delineate the standard of care in ophthalmic plastic surgery. We practice in a unique academic and university environment. Our approach is not necessarily representative of the community at large and should not be construed as the standard in the community
KeywordsCosmetic Surgery Informed Consent Process Slippery Slope Medical Malpractice Legal Counsel
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