Cosmetic surgery is usually not medically necessary. However, if you still choose to do this for personal reasons, there are a few things to watch out for.
The essentials in brief:
- Statutory health insurances only cover the costs of an aesthetic operation in exceptional cases.
- Doctors who have a recognized additional qualification for aesthetic operations can be recognized by the designation “Specialist in plastic and aesthetic surgery”.
- There is a special duty to provide information.
- Particular caution is required when performing cosmetic surgery abroad.
Depending on the procedure, these are quite considerable. In some cases, the procedures also entail additional operations and costs. If complications arise after an intervention that is not medically necessary and which require further medical treatment, the statutory health insurance company has to pay the insured person a reasonable amount of the costs and to refuse or reclaim sickness benefits in whole or in part for the duration of this treatment.
But even doctors without this additional qualification and without trained medical staff can perform aesthetic operations.
Liability and special duty of the doctor to provide information
For doctors who perform cosmetic surgery, the same liability rules as other doctors are, in part, in acute form: Because there is no medical reason for engaging in the patient’s body generally, stricter requirements apply to the obligation to inform the physician than for medical reasoned operations.
You must fully educate patients about every risk associated with the procedure, including possible cosmetic failure and the risk of postoperative disfigurement, and give the patient several days to think about it. Advertising for cosmetic surgeries that are primarily or exclusively aimed at children and young people has been banned since 2020 (Measles Protection Act). This also applies to advertising on social networks.
Doctors are liable if they use surgical methods for which they are not trained and which they therefore do not have sufficient command of. You can also be held liable if you use methods that no longer correspond to the state of the art. Beauticians are not allowed to perform wrinkle injections.