Eight general practitioners in both the Western Cape and Gauteng are currently being monitored by the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons of Southern Africa. The reason being that they have failed to properly care for patients who experienced complications due to their malpractice. These patients have suffered from complications such as septic infections, bodily denting from liposuction and even different sized breasts and hips. The issue here lies in the fact that the Health Professions Council of South Africa is doing little to protect the public from these poorly qualified doctors who are offering cheap surgery.
One committee member of the Plastic Surgeon’s Association has stated that there are around seven general practitioners who are being carefully watched. Each practitioner is estimated to have an average of three or four complaints against them. There may be even more.
If you go to a qualified surgeon, the average price for a tummy tuck is somewhere around R32000. Breast implants or reductions cost about R28000 and 30 minutes of a liposuction is R14000. Doctors who lack the proper qualification for plastic surgery will often attract customers by undercutting the price to R7000 for half an our of liposuction.
There are many potential patients who will look around for the cheapest price before deciding on a doctor because they have to pay out of pocket for the operations. They will often not report complications and unless these problems are reported, then there is not much that can be done about them.
A general practitioner from Kempton Park was found guilty of unprofessional conduct in May for conducting a breast reduction and not recognizing the ensuing complications.
The acting CEO and registrar for the HPCSA has stated that if a practitioner is found guilty, the organisation will ensure that he or she will be given the appropriate penalty.
The aforementioned practitioner was suspended for one year from the register on the condition that he would cease to perform cosmetic surgery for at least three years.
Patients should be advised to verify that their practitioner has the proper qualifications and experience before having cosmetic surgery.