Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 187–192 | Cite as

Twenty four years of oral and maxillofacial surgery malpractice claims in Spain: patient safety lessons to learn

  • Sergio Bordonaba-Leiva
  • Esperanza L. Gómez-DuránEmail author
  • José M. Balibrea
  • Josep Benet-Travé
  • Carles Martin-Fumadó
  • Coro Bescos Atin
  • Javier Mareque-Bueno
  • Josep Arimany-Manso
Original Article



Oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) malpractice risk is of special interest due to both the aesthetic component of some procedures and the complexity of the pathologies involved. This study aims to identify relevant factors involved in OMS professional liability (PL) claims to help achive better management of risks and improve patient safety.


We performed a retrospective analysis of 315 OMS claims opened between 1990 and 2014 from the database of the PL Department of the Catalonian Council of Medical Colleges, and identified their clinical, economical and juridical characteristics.


OMS showed a high rate of compensation (33.8%). Dental implant surgery, third molar surgery and rhinoplasty presented the greatest exposure to claims, and in these cases, lack of osteointegration of dental implants, neurologic injury of inferior dentoalveolar/lingual nerves and a poor aesthetic result were the most frequently compensated sequelae. Statistically, significant association was found between this perioperative complications group and the presence of PL. Poorly documented patient information (informed consent document) was also significantly related with PL outcome.


OMS is a specialty of medium risk for claims, especially oral surgery cases. Surgical complications, such as neurologic damage after oral/head and neck procedures and poor aesthetic results, do occur and deserve special attention to improve patient safety, as well as patient-information procedure.


Malpractice Claims analysis Professional liability Patient safety 



The Professional Liability Department of the Council of Physicians Colleges of Catalonia had the financial support by the Spanish Ministry of Health (FIS10/00598).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The research was carried out by the Professional Liability Department of the Council of Physicians Colleges of Catalonia.

Ethical approval

The Professional Liability Department of the Council of Physicians Colleges of Catalonia has the ethical approval to analyse records of claims by the Ethics Committee of the Barcelona’s College of Physicians.

Informed consent

There was no a priori informed consent for the use of data, regarding this record review. Any identifying information from the data set was removed before analysis and treated confidentially.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Bordonaba-Leiva
    • 1
  • Esperanza L. Gómez-Durán
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • José M. Balibrea
    • 4
  • Josep Benet-Travé
    • 2
  • Carles Martin-Fumadó
    • 2
  • Coro Bescos Atin
    • 5
  • Javier Mareque-Bueno
    • 6
  • Josep Arimany-Manso
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryGermans Trias i Pujol University Hospital; Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Area de PraxiCol-legi de Metges de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de MedicinaUniversitat Internacional de CataluñaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Department of General and Digestive SurgeryVall Hebrón University Hospital, Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryVall Hebrón University Hospital, Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryQuirón-Dexeus University Hospital, Universitat Internacional de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  7. 7.Unidad de Medicina Legal y Forense, Departamento de Salud PúblicaUniversidad de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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