What to ask your cosmetic surgeon

August 30, 2012

What to ask your cosmetic surgeon
What to ask your cosmetic surgeon

According to an August 23rd blog in NEWBEAUTY.com, “Only 3.5 percent of doctors in the U.S. are truly qualified to perform aesthetic procedures.” That is really bad news when you consider the number of untrained or inadequately trained doctors who are actually performing plastic surgery. Board-certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists call the cosmetic enhancement industry the "wild west" of medicine because the number of doctors performing surgical procedures without proper qualifications keeps climbing.

A plastic surgeon from La Jolla, California told NEWBEAUTY that doctors are leaving managed care programs and other specialties and entering into cosmetic procedures with little to no training. In California, as in most states, it's legal for doctors without any appropriate or necessary training to perform cosmetic procedures. Patients think the industry is regulated, but there are no good regulations in place. For example, there’s nothing to stop your dentist or gynecologist from advertising Botox injections. The bottom line is that with current California legislation, doctors can perform cosmetic procedures without proper training and board certification in that particular area of expertise.

So, as a consumer, it’s up to you to be extremely aware of what qualifies a doctor to perform cosmetic procedures on you or a loved one. NEWBEAUTY echoes advice put out by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: If you’re undergoing plastic surgery, check your doctor’s credentials. Not only make sure the doctor is board-certified, but know what board. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board that certifies a doctor in face, body and breast surgical procedures. Surgery isn’t the only thing to worry about. Lasers and injections in untrained hands can result in scars and infections. Otolaryngologists are trained in cosmetic surgical and non-invasive procedures, from the neck upward, and dermatologists also have training in some of the noninvasive procedures.
Ask these questions before you undergo a cosmetic procedure:  

?Are you board certified? If so, which board?

?Who will be doing the procedure?

?If it's surgical, who is the anesthesia provider?

?Do you have hospital privileges from a hospital that is an accredited institution for the procedures that you are going to perform?

?How long have you been doing this? How many times have you done this procedure?

?What are the pros and cons of the procedure?

?What are the potential problems as well as the upsides? What are the alternatives?

Getting the right answers is the first step in achieving the cosmetic results you want.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

WE ARE AESTHETICS.

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