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How to ensure that your cosmetic surgeon is a board certified plastic surgeon

Tag Archives: American Board of Plastic Surgery

In the current health care climate of diminishing reimbursements, more and more physicians are performing cosmetic surgery treatments and procedures.  Unfortunately, many of these physicians are not plastic surgeons and have not undergone the same rigorous training as board-certified plastic surgeons.  All patients should take certain steps prior to scheduling a consultation to ensure that their physician has the highest qualifications to perform cosmetic surgery.
  • Ask if the doctor is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).  Membership in the ASPS ensures that the doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and meets requirements for ongoing continuing medical education.
  • Confirm that the doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Merely hearing that a doctor is board certified does not indicate which board has certified that doctor.  There is only one board, the American Board of Plastic Surgery, that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify surgeons in the field of plastic surgery.
  • Find out more about the surgeon’s specific hospital privileges.  Although some procedures are commonly performed in an office or ambulatory surgical center, it is important to learn whether the surgeon has the same privileges in an accredited hospital.  Hospital credentialing committees carefully evaluate a surgeon’s training and competency for specific procedures.  If a surgeon performs a procedure in an office or surgical center, but does not have privileges to perform the same procedure in a hospital, it may be because he was deemed unqualified to perform that procedure.

Taking these steps before scheduling a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon will ensure that you find a plastic surgeon with the highest qualifications.

Many patients have asked me if they can smoke cigarettes up to the time of their cosmetic surgery.  The procedures most often in question are breast lifts with or without implants, breast reductions, tummy tucks and facelifts.  Simply put, smoking and these procedures can be recipes for disaster.  I strongly encourage smokers to quit smoking before these surgeries, as tobacco, nicotine, and carbon monoxide, all of which are within cigarettes, can impede wound healing.  In operations which involve lifting and tightening large amounts of skin, this can result in skin separation, or worse yet, skin loss.

Most board-certified plastic surgeons are selective in the procedures that they will offer to tobacco users.  Some procedures that do not require a significant amount of skin lifting, such as rhinoplasty, liposuction and breast augmentation, are thought to be somewhat safer to perform in smokers than procedures that require more skin manipulation.  For that reason, most plastic surgeons will perform these surgeries in smokers, but will still extend significant disclaimers and warnings.

Virtually everyone knows that smoking can cause pulmonary problems, heart disease and lung cancer.  For those reasons alone, I encourage all patients to quit using tobacco products.  In regards to cosmetic surgery, tobacco usage can cause significant problems with healing.  Because cosmetic surgery is elective, it only makes sense to quit tobacco usage prior to surgery to minimize this potential risk.

This is a news release directly from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

New York, NY (July 16, 2009) – Have you seen the commercial for in-office procedures that will make your face wrinkle-free or sculpt your stomach, with no downtime and no scars?  Lifestyle Lift, Lunchtime Lift, Thread-Tox, and Smart-Lipo, are just a few of the brand-name surgical procedures being marketed to the public as a cosmetic quick fix with a clever name.Brand name surgical procedures generally fit under two categories; first, those that are legitimately assigned the name of the person that has popularized the technique, for example Saldanha’s lipoabdominoplasty or Furnas’conchal setback technique, (either through the efforts of that same person or others assigning his or her name to it) and second, those that are simply created by someone to market a the procedure to the public.  The first situation is usually a very legitimate situation and is often in the scientific literature, but not in the public domain.  However, the second situation has become very popular for cosmetic surgery procedures.  But are highly marketed procedures really the right choice when deciding on aesthetic surgery?

“In the wrong clinical setting, the results may not come close to the promises made in the advertising,” says J. Peter Rubin, MD, a plastic surgeon in Pittsburgh, PA.  “What is really indispensible for the best results, however, is not a specific procedure but the judgment of a board certified plastic surgeon who can match the right patient with the best procedure for them.”

“These named procedures are used by the marketing entity to popularize the technique so that patients ask for it whether it fits their situation or not.  This is a problem that can be very dangerous,” said Dr. Al Aly, a plastic surgeon from Iowa, and a member of the Aesthetic Society’s Body Contouring Committee.  “A procedure is only as good as the hands that perform it.”

“Patient safety and efficacy need to be the top priorities, not commerce or marketing,” says Robert Singer, MD a plastic surgeon from La Jolla, CA and a past-president of ASAPS.  If you decide a procedure is right for you, make sure you have done your homework, that the procedure has been fully explained, you know exactly who will be performing your procedure and that they are qualified to perform the exact procedure you are undergoing, and that you have thoroughly read and signed informed consent documents.

Facial surgery and body sculpting procedures are often marketed to the public with brand names.   “One does not have to be a plastic surgeon to know intuitively that one facelift technique will not be appropriate for all individuals undergoing a facelift,” says Sherrell Aston, MD, past-president of the ASAPS and member of the Society’s Facial Surgery Committee.  “The human anatomy and the aging process vary significantly from person to person. The so-called minimally invasive surgical procedures have gained popularity in all surgical specialties. For many procedures the work that is performed through the small incisions is rather extensive, and requires significant expertise on the part of the surgeon. A short incision facelift can give an excellent result, when properly performed for the appropriate patient.”

“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 Salt Lake City, UT plastic surgeon and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Renato Saltz, MD. “For ultimate patient safety it is essential that the media and the general public be better educated about what constitutes appropriate training to perform operations such as facelifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, abdominoplasty, breast surgery and cosmetic eyelid surgery.”   The demanding residency program that all plastic surgeons must complete before they can be considered for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) ensures that they not only acquire general surgical knowledge and experience but, additionally, that they master the principles, ethics and practice of plastic surgery.

Source: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

http://www.surgery.org/press/news-release.php?iid=531

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