Make Sure Your Plastic Surgeon is Certified
When you use a plastic surgeon, make sure you're really getting a board certified surgeon, and don't just assume all doctors who claim to be specialist in this field really are.
The American Board of Plastic Surgeons is one of the largest organizations of cosmetic surgeons with seven thousand members. This organization is widely recognized as a leading authority in plastics, and to become a board member entails racking up at least five years as a general surgeon and another two years minimum as a cosmetic surgeon. This certification tells patients right off the bat that they are dealing with a legitimate cosmetic surgeon and not just someone with a doctoral degree and no training in cosmetic surgery.
USA Today brought the horror of unqualified surgeons playing cosmetic surgeons to light with the story of a woman who died as a result of a botched liposuction performed, as it turns out, by a doctor who was not qualified to be doing the procedure but did it anyways.
Sadly this is not an isolated doctor or an isolated patient. It has almost become an epidemic as state laws which are weak on regulating who can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon allow dentists to do breast implants based on observing other doctors performing the procedure.
So why the push to branch into plastics from other fields of medicine all of a sudden? The answer is simple: the root to all evil, money. Cosmetic surgeons never run out of patients, and the field is very lucrative financially. That isn't an excuse, however, to practice outside of the scope of training and ability levels, and doctors that do are deadly.
Since you can't assume the state is regulating your cosmetic surgeon, you have to be proactive and ensure you are doing for yourself. It is more important than ever to ensure your cosmetic surgeon is who you think they are, so don't skimp on the hard questions to make sure your doctor has the skills you assume they have. You not only have a right to know if they are certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, you have an obligation to know for your sake and the sake of your family.
Do your homework and be prepared to ask questions about training, past surgeries, and their experience during your consultation. If you do encounter a doctor who does not meet these minimum qualifications, don't ignore it and don't accept the excuse that their certification is in the mail. This is your life. Protect it.
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