Some cosmetic surgery patients at Daniel Lanzer’s clinics say they have physical and mental scars

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Patients at one of the nation’s most popular cosmetic surgery clinic networks say they have been scarred and years of their lives “ruined.”

A joint Four Corners investigation with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age examined the practices of Dr. Daniel Lanzer’s clinics and raised questions about the regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry, which has been compared to the ‘Wild West without them. sheriffs ”.

Dr Lanzer last week applied for an injunction in Federal Court to prevent Four Corners from airing tonight’s story, which was dismissed.

It is one of the top performing cosmetic surgeons in the country, with day hospitals in Melbourne and Brisbane, facilities in Sydney and Perth, and a chain of dermatology clinics in the planning stages.

DISCLAIMER: This story contains a graphic image of a patient taken after surgery.

Dr Lanzer has hosted several television shows on cosmetic surgery.(The Cosmetic Surgery Show / Channel 7)

He has become a leading expert on cosmetic surgery in the media, has hosted TV shows and has millions of people following him on TikTok and Instagram.

But some patients say that behind the “hype” there is a whole different story to be told.

“He wasted a very long period of my life”

Daniel Lanzer, specialist dermatologist, claims to have thousands of happy patients, but he also has very unhappy ones.

Donna Patterson is just one of many patients Four Corners has told about their experiences in Dr. Lanzer’s clinics.

She spent 21 years living with the mental and physical scars of breast reduction that she now thinks she should never have had.

She had requested the procedure to relieve congenital back pain.

Donna looks at the camera with a neutral expression.  The background behind it is dark and out of focus.
Donna Patterson thought she would be back to work a few days after the procedure.(Four Corners: Aaron Smith)

Ms Patterson had seen Dr Lanzer in the media launch a revolutionary breast liposuction procedure, believed to reduce recovery time compared to more traditional invasive surgery.

“I was like ‘Oh, wow. That promises three days, back to work in three days,” she said.

The operation left her in excruciating pain for two years, and she eventually had to undergo corrective surgery.

“He ruined a very long period of my life. He caused me extreme pain.”

She sued him in 2002 and the court found that he was either negligent to Ms Patterson or had broken his contract with her and ordered him to pay damages.

Dr Lanzer tried to appeal the decision but lost.

Ms Patterson wrote to the medical board after winning her appeal, but her complaint was dismissed.

A sign outside a storefront that says "Dermatological clinics Dr Lanzer".
Under current law, anyone with a basic medical degree can call themselves a “cosmetic surgeon”.(Four corners)

Dr Lanzer said in a video statement that the liposuction breast reduction method alone “has sparked a turf war between different surgical specialties.”

“After the court hearing this dispute was taken to the Australian Medical Council and they ruled in my favor and told me they informed Donna of the results,” he said.

“I am happy to report that my method is now an accepted surgical option for breast reduction around the world.”

Ms Patterson is concerned that what has happened to her may happen to others and wants the medical regulator – the Australian Healthcare Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) – to act.

In his statement, Dr Lanzer said he didn’t think there was another surgeon in the world who could show a better safety record than him.

“In my 30 year career, I have never had a single decision or recommendation against me regarding my method of surgery or my patient care by a regulatory body.”

Under the knife, on Instagram

When a Victorian woman, who requested anonymity on professional grounds, decided to have a tummy tuck, Dr Lanzer videotaped the entire process.

She had consented to be filmed but unidentified and was shocked when she saw the footage on Instagram with a tattoo that she said identified her.

The video shows the surgery step by step. In it, Dr. Lanzer comments that the woman was “well aware of this [particular procedure] was more risky “.

After a difficult healing process, the woman was horrified when she finally removed the bandages.

A woman's stomach after using staples to close the wound.
Woman’s stomach after the operation.

“My belly button shrunk to the size of a baby’s belly button and it was on the side. And Dr Lanzer tried to tell me that my belly button had to be on the side before he put my belly button on it. . ” she said.

She ended up spending thousands of dollars to get an operation from a plastic surgeon.

“I then had to undergo labiaplasty because he pulled my lower abdomen so hard and so hard that it was uncomfortable for me in the lip area then.”

She is still waiting for another surgery to repair her stomach muscles and says the experience has left her physically scarred.

A woman's belly, with a line of scars across.  There is medical tape covering her belly button.
The woman needs more surgery to repair her stomach muscles.(Four corners)

“When I went to plastic surgeons for treatment, the two surgeons I saw said, ‘Why? Just explain why you’ve been there before. And it was just [because of] the hype. “

The regulator under fire for the failure of the police of “cosmetic surgeons”

Cosmetic surgery, unlike specialized plastic surgery, is not a recognized specialty in Australia, which means that any qualified doctor can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon.

Plastic surgeons have advocated for more regulation of cosmetic surgery for decades.

The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACSS) says plastic surgeons are simply trying to protect their own territory.

ACSS President Dr Patrick Tansley said in a recent Senate inquiry that AHPRA is doing the right thing and is working.

“Firstly, ‘surgeon’ is not a protected title; secondly, ‘cosmetic surgeon’ is not a protected title and thirdly, ‘cosmetic surgery’ … national legislation as it currently exists”, a- he declared.

Marguerite False
Dr Margaret Faux wants a complete overhaul of the current system to protect patients.(Four corners)

Dr Margaret Faux is a nurse turned lawyer who has spent decades researching healthcare system regulation and says AHPRA fails to keep cosmetic surgery patients safe.

“I would describe the cosmetic treatment industry as the Wild West but without the sheriffs,” she said.

“Basically, the government has no eye on what’s going on in the cosmetics industry.

“This whole regulatory framework needs a complete overhaul, it’s fundamentally lawless. It’s like any other consumer market, it’s the buyer beware, except people’s lives can be put to danger.”

Watch the full Four Corners investigation tonight at 8:30 p.m. on ABC TV or live on the Four Corners Facebook Page.


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