Informed consent is a vital document while performing all surgical and aesthetic procedures, particularly in the current day practice. Proper documentation and counseling of patients is important in any informed consent.
Medical practice today is not simple because of various factors impinging on the doctor-patient relationship. Mutual trust forms the foundation for good relationship between doctor and patient. Today, patients tend to be well- or ill-informed about the disease and health. With the hype created in the print and visual media regarding ‘beauty’, ‘shape, size and appearance of body parts’, ‘quality and quantity of hair’, etc., patients tend to come to dermatologists with unreasonable demands and unrealistic expectations. Therefore, providing adequate information and educating the patient about realities and obtaining informed consent before subjecting a patient to any test/procedure/surgery is very essential.
The concept of consent arises from the ethical principle of patient autonomy and basic human rights. Patient's has all the freedom to decide what should or should not happen to his/her body and to gather information before undergoing a test/procedure/surgery. No one else has the right to coerce the patient to act in a particular way. Even a doctor can only act as a facilitator in patient's decision making.
There is also a legal angle to this concept. No one has the right to even touch, let alone treat another person. Any such act, done without permission, is classified as “battery”- physical assault and is punishable. Hence, obtaining consent is a must for anything other than a routine physical examination.
In simple terms, it can be defined as an instrument of mutual communication between doctor and patient with an expression of authorization/permission/choice by the latter for the doctor to act in a particular way.
The very act of a patient entering a doctor's chamber and expressing his problem is taken as an implied (or implicit) consent...