The Taiwan High Court rendered the 104-Yi-Shang-12 Civil Decision on April 19, 2017 (the “Decision”) in which it concluded that as there is no medical literature specifying how to assess the amount of autologous fat cells to be implanted, the amount is generally clinically assessed based on the actual extent of concavity and the reaction on the skin surface after the implant.
In this case, Individual A underwent an eye bag removal procedure and a tear trough autologous fat injection procedure (the “Procedures”) at a clinic operated by Individual B. However, Individual A subsequently suffered from swollen cheeks after the surgery, and the symptoms did not subside despite medical treatment. Individual A then went to another hospital for a drainage procedure with around 3 cc of abscess drawn from each cheek, after which the swelling gradually went away. As a result, A then filed a complaint asserting that B injected excessive autologous fat cells which resulted in the swelling and infection and sought compensation from B.
According to the Decision, whether the injection was excessive in the Procedures was referred to the Medical Review Board for examination. According to the Medical Review Board, since there is no relevant medical literature providing for a method how to precisely estimate the amount of autologous fat cells to inject in advance, the amount of autologous fat cells to be implanted is determined based on clinical experience and on general assessment (or consideration) of the actual extent of concavity of the patient and the skin surface reaction after the implant at the time. In addition, pictures of Individual A before the surgery indicated that there was concavity in the eye bags, and pictures taken after the autologous fat cell transplant showed fullness without deformity caused by excessive injection. Therefore, the Procedures were conducted in a way that was consistent with common medical practices. Therefore, Individual A’s assertion that the swelling and infection were caused by excessive fat of 4cc out of negligence was not persuasive.
It was further pointed out in the Decision that the lower court had ordered B to pay NT$80,000 in compensation for emotional distress since B’s clinic had breached its duty by failing to inform Individual A, who had an autoimmune disorder, of the risks associated with the autologous fat cell injection procedure and of the option for hyaluronic acid injection, but because B’s clinic agreed to return the fee for the Procedures and the medical treatment fee before the appeal has been finalized, this part of the decision against B was affirmed, and the rest of Individual A’s appeal was rejected.