When laws fail, patients must play it smart

December 26, 2012

When laws fail, patients must play it smart
When laws fail, patients must play it smart

If you live in an urban or suburban area, chances are you've seen a medi-spa, even if you didn't know it. These facilities are popping up all over the place, and offer cosmetic treatments like Botox injections, dermal fillers and other non-invasive procedures that can help reduce the signs of aging. While some people working at these facilities are trained to provide such treatments, it's rare that anyone employed at a medi-spa has undergone the proper training to carry out more serious surgeries, like liposuction. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop some medi-spas from offering these procedures, and the results can be disastrous, according to USA Today.

Irma Carabajal LeCroy of Dallas, Texas, knows this all too well. In early 2011, LeCroy visited a medi spa and received a treatment from a man known as Dr. Hector Molina. While he was a medically trained doctor, Molina dealt in internal medicine and was not trained to use technology to provide liposuction. The faulty liposuction seriously impaired her ability to walk - now LeCroy has to use a wheelchair or walker to get around. Her medical treatments also cost her most of her financial assets, and a year later she finds herself without job.

Patients like LeCroy aren't to blame for these procedures. Laws governing plastic surgery vary state to state, and it's not difficult for people like Molina to make hazy claims about their certification or training. According to the news source, last year, only 25 states required licensing or accreditation at medical offices - which could include medi-spas where surgery is performed. Critics of plastic surgery legislation agree that the laws restricting office-based surgery don't go far enough.

Patients' best defense against unscrupulous cosmetic surgery providers may be to simply education themselves about how to find a trustworthy, board-certified plastic surgeon. The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) offers a find-a-surgeon tool on its website, which makes it easy for prospective patients to locate a credible plastic surgery provider in their area. 

ASAPS advises patients to never choose a doctor simply because he or she offers cheaper services. The facility where the surgeon will perform the procedure can be a big indicator of your safety as well - cosmetic plastic surgery must be performed in a safe, accredited office-based facility, free-standing ambulatory surgery facility or a hospital. 

The mission of the Aesthetic Society 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 the Aesthetic Society, 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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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. The Aesthetic Society 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 nonsurgical 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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