Malcolm Z. Roth, MD, ASPS President, said:
"Patients are getting injured, some are dying during procedures performed by non-board-certified plastic surgeons. We want patients to understand what to ask their doctor and what to look for so that they can maximize their chance of a safe and successful procedure."
White Coat Deception - a term used by plastic surgery industry leaders. If a doctor is wearing a white coat, it does not necessarily mean that he/she is a qualified plastic surgeon.
A white coat is just that - a coat. It is not a board certification in plastic surgery
Dr. Roth said:
"There is a misconception among consumers that as long as a doctor is certified in a medical field that he or she is qualified to practice plastic surgery. This is absolutely wrong and it is dangerous for patients. If you are considering a plastic surgery procedure it is critical that your doctor is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This is the best way to be certain that he or she has completed the necessary training and meets certain standards to practice plastic surgery."
By law, in the USA any doctor who has a medical license to practice in any field of medicine can legally perform plastic surgery. They do not have to be board certified in plastic surgery. Texas, Louisiana, Florida and California have Truth-In-Advertising requirements which demand that medical providers be clear about their training.
Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, MD, an ASPS Member Surgeon who practices in the Los Angeles area, said:
"Today when you get your medical license you can practice in any medical field that you choose. What should happen is that every state medical board should say, 'if you're trained in pediatrics you are allowed to practice pediatrics and if you're trained in orthopedics you can practice orthopedics.' But, unfortunately, most state laws and regulations enable some physicians to drift into the practice of plastic surgery without proper training and certification. It has become increasingly apparent that some physicians fail to use proper judgment and enter into practice areas beyond their core training."
Dr. Teitalbaum explains that a growing number of patients are coming to him to have botched plastic surgery procedures fixed, all of them carried out by non-board-certified doctors. He quoted the case of one of his patients, Dinora Rodriquez who had a breast implant surgery from a non-board-certified plastic surgeon. When she woke up after her operation, she found that the implants were merged together. Her surgeon had also decided to do a procedure on her eyes without asking her first. She is unable to close her eyes properly now.
Dinora Rodriguez said:
"It was a terrible experience waking up from surgery and seeing that this had happened. I didn't know to check my doctor's qualifications and I regret it."
The ASPS says that when you are checking out your plastic surgeon:
- Ask whether he/she is board certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Seek out a certificate in the doctor's office that is endorsed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Click on "Find a Surgeon" at www.plasticsurgery.org. See if your doctor is listed there.