Woman's nose deformed after botched laser procedure

CORRECTION: The patient is reported to be a woman, not a man as stated in our previous report.

SINGAPORE - A doctor had his license suspended after performing an inappropriate cosmetic procedure on a patient's nose, resulting in burns and deformation of the nose tip.

The female patient had wanted to make her nose slimmer and sharper. But instead of a rhinoplasty or 'nose job' which would require cutting the nose open, a procedure called laser lipolysis was used.

In the end, the patient suffered burns, resulting in scarring and a "loss of nasal tip profile", said the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).

The doctor, Dr Chee Yew Wen, 40, was found guilty of using an inappropriate treatment on his patient and was suspended for six months from July 29 by the SMC, reported The Straits Times.

Dr Chee, a general practitioner with the Wen & Weng Medical group in VivoCity and the Medical & Rejuvenation Centre in China Square Central, had performed the procedure on March 20, 2008.

Known as SmartLipo, it involves the use of a laser to dissolve fats, which are later drained or absorbed back into the body. It is commonly used on chin, cheeks, forearms, upper part of the abdomen and knees.

This was the first time that Dr Chee used the procedure on the patient.

According to the Lianhe Wanbao, the patient returned about a month later, as she felt the results were not obvious. This time, her skin was badly burnt.

Experts called on by the SMC said the nose contained so little fats that burning it off would not make it slimmer or sharper.

With so little fats, there would also be less of a buffer against the heat from the laser, hence a higher chance the skin would burn.

They agreed that a rhinoplasty would have been the best option for the patient's requirements.

In addition to the suspension, Dr Chee was also censured and ordered to pay the costs and expenses of the disciplinary proceedings.

Another charge of mis-managing the post-procedure treatment was dismissed.