Plastic surgeon cautious of repeat patients

PHOTO: Plastic surgeon cautious of repeat patients

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A plastic surgeon urged caution when treating repeat patients because they are more likely to initiate malpractice suits and other damages.

Medical practitioners who deal with cosmetic surgery met at a dermatology and aesthetics conference at the Tri-Service General Hospital yesterday.

Repeat patients are more likely to be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, the symptoms of which are depression, social isolation and hostility, according to Yang Tsung-tsair of the psychiatry department at Cardinal Tien Hospital.

An affected patient's emotional distress can be turned against his plastic surgeon, leading to medical malpractice lawsuits or worse, said Jean Lin of Jean's Clinic of Plastic Surgery.

At the conference, Lin pointed out that six US-based plastic surgeons have been killed at the hands of repeat patients. She also noted cases of patient-to-physician violence in Taiwan, after surgeries were perceived as botched.

"A patient with body dysmorphic disorder is anathema for a plastic surgeon," she said.

In one classic case, the son of a general requested that she perform his ninth rhinoplasty to give him an aquiline nose like his father's. She declined the case, and then referred the man to a mental health professional.