Clearing the air on nude medical photos

Pre- and post-operative clinical photographs are an essential part of medical documentation, especially in a speciality like plastic and reconstructive surgery ("Doc fined $10k over nude pre-op photos of teenager"; Dec 30, 2015).

Such photographs are part of a patient's confidential medical records.

When the operation site is near or adjacent to private parts, it is within accepted standards of clinical photography to take photos without the presence of an undergarment.

Analogous to this is the removal of spectacles when taking photographs of the facial area.

Photographs are usually taken from a distance, to give perspective, and from several different angles; close-up views are also taken where applicable.

The patient's consent is sought, and this may be in the form of a verbal agreement or a signed consent form. Parental consent is sought for minors.

We hope this helps to clarify matters related to clinical photography.

Patients can always talk to their surgeon if they have any concerns.

Karen Sng (Dr)

Singapore Association of Plastic Surgeons

Wong Chin Ho (Dr)
Singapore Society of Cosmetic (Aesthetic) Surgeons

Matthew Yeo (Dr)
Chapter of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

This article was first published on Jan 9, 2016.
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