American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Commends Schwarzenegger's "Termination" of Proposed Bill Allowing Dentists to Perform Cosmetic Surgery

NEW YORK, NY (August 31, 2004) -- The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) commends Governor
Schwarzenegger for his decision to veto California Senate Bill 1336, which
would have allowed dental surgeons to perform cosmetic surgery of the head
and neck in their offices. The bill, which passed both the California Senate and Assembly despite significant controversy over its potential impact on patient safety, was vetoed by the Governor on August 30, 2004. ASAPS, the nation's leading professional organization dedicated to cosmetic plastic surgery education, supports ongoing public education to increase awareness of the specialized training of board-certified plastic surgeons and how this training contributes to cosmetic surgery patient safety.

“The issue of untrained or inadequately trained practitioners, some of whom are not medical doctors, performing cosmetic plastic surgery is an extremely serious patient safety concern,” says Los Angeles plastic surgeon and ASAPS President Peter B. Fodor, MD. “ASAPS is proud to have worked with the Coalition for Safe Plastic Surgery, which includes the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, California Medical Association, American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, to educate the public and our governmental leaders about the dangers inherent in allowing individuals to perform complex surgical procedures for which they have inadequate training. This issue is about the safety of patients, and there can be no compromises."

Some consumers mistakenly believe that any practitioner who is called "Dr." has a medical degree. Among dental practitioners, oral surgeons are the most highly trained. Oral surgeons, following college, undertake a four-year course of dental study limited to oral health, followed by another four-year of study in dental surgery. This training does not lead to a medical degree; it is considered advanced training in dentistry. It is ASAPS' position that dentists and oral surgeons, who are not medical doctors, should perform procedures limited to treating or correcting dental conditions. Any diagnosis or treatment of a condition of the skin, eyelids, eyes or ears is clearly beyond the scope of dental practice. On the other hand, treatment of fractures involving the jaws, which can result in bite abnormalities, falls within the scope of training of an oral surgeon.

“Oral surgeons have trauma experience and are qualified to treat jaw-related injuries,” says Dr. Fodor. “Plastic surgeons have the medical and surgical training to remold, reshape, and remodel the body, head to toe."

Even among medical doctors, those who have not undertaken years of rigorous training in plastic surgery, do not qualify for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS.). The ABPS is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists to certify physicians in the specialty of plastic surgery, which includes both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

“There is a tremendous sense of relief that SB 1336 is dead,” says Santa Monica, CA plastic surgeon Michael McGuire, MD, who represents ASAPS on a special task force dedicated to examining scope of practice issues and protecting patient safety. "Fortunately, there were many people who understood that allowing dental practitioners to perform facial cosmetic surgery could have led to increased surgical complications, patient dissatisfaction and worse."

“The people of California can be grateful that their governor recognized the risks involved in allowing non-physicians to do cosmetic surgery on the eyelids, nose and face of unsuspecting patients,” agrees La Jolla plastic surgeon and Past-President of ASAPS Robert Singer, MD.

"Plastic surgeons and others who share our vital interest in patient safety hope that this action by the Governor will provide a strong example for other state leaders who may be asked to consider similar ill-advised legislation in the future," says Dr. Fodor. "Our leaders have a responsibility to be well-informed about these issues and to take appropriate action, such as Governor Schwarzenegger has done, to protect the public."

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.

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