A legal analysis of the precedents of medical disputes in the cosmetic surgery field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Disputes regarding medical malpractice occur between practitioners and patients. As patients have become increasingly aware regarding medical care, an increase in the unexpected side effects of procedures has been observed, thereby leading to an increase in disputes regarding medical malpractice. In this study, we reviewed trends in precedents involving cosmetic surgery-related medical disputes, with the goal of helping to prevent unnecessary disputes in the future. Methods we conducted a search of the judgments made in South Korean courts between 2000 and 2013 that were related to the field of plastic surgery. A total of 54 judgments were analyzed, and the selected precedents were reviewed and classified according to the kind of negligence involved. Results The claim amounts ranged from under 8 million KRW (6,991 USD) to 750 million KRW (629,995 USD). The most common ratio of the judgment amount to the claim amount was 20%–30%. The judgments were classified according to the following categories: violation of the duty of explanation in 17 cases (29%), violation of the duty of care in 10 cases (17%), violation of both duties in 20 cases (35%), and no violation of duty in six cases (10%). Conclusions Cosmetic surgery-related suits require different approaches than general malpractice suits. The Supreme Court requires plastic surgeons to determine the type, timing, methods, and scope of their treatments when considering possible results. Therefore, practitioners should be educated on their rights and responsibilities to enable them to cope with any possible medical dispute that may arise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Plastic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.


  • Legal
  • Liability
  • Malpractice
  • Medical errors
  • Plastic
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'A legal analysis of the precedents of medical disputes in the cosmetic surgery field'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this