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Nipntuck Myths: Who Performs Cosmetic Surgery?

November 23rd, 2015

Nipntuck Picasso-esque


Patients often ask me some of the same questions and many of them are the myths that I will address in this new series.

MYTH: Only plastic surgeons can legally perform cosmetic surgery. Surprising there are no restrictions governing what type of physician can perform any medical or surgical procedure. Virtually every state in America, provides that any licensed physician can do brain surgery, open-heart surgery, etc. However, common sense usually limits the scope of a doctors own practice. So it is important to understand individual qualifications when choosing a cosmetic plastic surgeon. Basic facts to consider include evaluation of Board Certification/s, (American Board of Medical Sub-specialties) and the quality of patient surgical results. Another important indication includes both patient and physician referrals. All of this information is equally important and is significant in not only choosing your cosmetic plastic surgeon, but any physician under your consideration. Understanding the qualifications of your cosmetic plastic surgeon is paramount, board certification is the gold standard. Do your homework and check here at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


Patient Satisfaction

January 26th, 2010

What cosmetic surgeries rated highest in patient satisfaction? has published a list of cosmetic procedures ranked on whether patients think having a particular procedure was worth it, based on patients answering their survey question, Was your cosmetic surgery or treatment worth it?

While the ranking of patient satisfaction for various cosmetic surgery procedures is debatable, I find that there are definitely favorites.   For my own practice, breast enlargement and liposuction patients seem to be quite pleased with their decision to have cosmetic surgery.  The survey came up with different conclusions.   Maybe the ranking by merely represents overall patient satisfaction, without taking into account the quality or training of the physician or technician performing the surgery or treatment.

According to the survey, the top two procedures, tummy tucks and breast reductions are rated at the top.   They are almost always done by board certified plastic surgeons.   The bottom two procedures, Veloshape and mesotherapy, are almost never done by board certified plastic surgeons.   As you move from top to bottom on this list, the percentage of each procedure done by board certified plastic surgeons becomes less and less.   For instance, tumescent liposuction, Smart Lipo, liposculpture, liposuction and Vaser lipo, are all done by board certified plastic surgeons, as well as general surgeons, dermatologists, head and neck surgeons (otorhinolaryngologists), family doctors, and gynecologists.   In fact you can probably get some type of liposuction done by any medical or surgical subspecialist.   Obviously, the medical training in such a wide spectrum of surgical providers can be extremely variable.   The survey overlooked this important factor.

My own bias concludes that training is paramount when choosing a physician. Plastic surgery residency is intensely focused on aesthetics of the body and face and the sculptural aspects of surgery.   In addition, the medical students who are most often drawn to a plastic surgery residency have both an aptitude and intense interest in the artistic aspects of surgery.   Therefore, I believe that a key factor in patient satisfaction is to understand the qualifications of the person doing your surgery or treatment.  However, as with all physicians, plastic surgeons do have dissatisfied patients, a fact of life in the practice of medicine in general.   Choose wisely.


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