The truth is many doctors performing cosmetic surgery in the USA are not actually cosmetic surgeons, a claim made by a growing number of board certified cosmetic surgeons around the country.
Currently, there are doctors who specialize in other areas who have little to no experience in plastic surgery who are performing these procedures.
- family physicians
MYTH: Cosmetic surgery can be performed by any doctor.
FACT: In-depth training as well as a lot of experience are needed to perform plastic, cosmetic, and reconstructive surgery.
If a physician from another specialty does a weekend course on cosmetic surgery, this in no way qualifies them as a board certified cosmetic surgeon.
Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said in September 2011 that one of the major problems in cosmetic surgery is the lack of proper training and practical skills which causes rookie surgeons to leave patients with some serious problems, including excessive scarring, the removal of too much fat, infections, and even gangrene.
Dr. Roth, said "Sometimes, lengthy procedures will be done on people who are not medically suitable for them ..... If you have somebody who's not surgically trained, they [don't know] how to decide who's a good or bad candidate for surgery. We've had people go to the ER with deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks, and unfortunately, not infrequently now, we're hearing about death."
The safest places for surgical procedures are:
- accredited hospitals
- certified out-patient facilities
"Often, physicians who are not board certified in plastic surgery do not have privileges to perform plastic surgery procedures and are only able to do them in their office setting, which may put you at risk."
Patients should see a plastic surgeon who is board certified in reconstructive and plastic surgery, suggested Dr. Reisin.
A previous campaign by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons announced that patients should check out their doctor's qualifications before allowing them to perform a plastic surgery procedure.
Training for both general surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery needs to be completed in order for plastic surgeons to be board certified.
Additionally, when a cosmetic surgeon is board certified it means they he/she has spent 3 to 5 years of residency or fellowship training centered primarily on plastic surgery.
Dr. Reisin made a list of five questions that every patient should ask before selecting a surgeon:
- Are you board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Do you practice another specialty besides plastic surgery? Or do you only practice plastic surgery?
- Did you complete a residency in general surgery AND in plastic surgery?
- Does your malpractice insurance cover the surgical operations that I am thinking about?
- Do you have privileges to perform the plastic surgery procedures that I am thinking about in hospitals? Which hospitals?