There was a lengthy article in USA Today called “Cosmetic surgery gets cheaper, faster scarier”, which is well worth reading. It is an in-depth investigation of cheap, quick-fix plastic surgeries that are being done by non-plastic surgeons across the country.
If you are a reader of my blogs, you know that this is a growing, disturbing, and dangerous trend. Included in the article are many accounts of people having severe complications, pain, and even dying from these poorly done operations.
I will not give you a blow-by-blow of all these horror stories, but there are four very common themes.
- Many of these operations were performed in non-accredited facilities. This means that the necessary safety measures for such operations may not have been available. Or that the equipment used was sub par. Or even that there was not proper sterility in the operating room.
- Many of the doctors were not plastic surgeons and may have only had a three day course before they decided to perform plastic surgery.
- Operations that should have been done under general anesthesia were done under local. Frequently this is because the doctor does not have privileges to this operation in a hospital or out-patient surgery center.
- The cost was much cheaper than everyone else, they were encouraged to have the operation done quickly, and they never saw the physician who was doing the operation until day of surgery.
Let’s face it: you would never buy a discount parachute because your life could depend upon it. But the same can be said for discounted cheap, quick-fix plastic surgery. Very few of us would approach something this important with so little care. But it is happening all around the country. Although good credentials can’t guarantee a successful outcome, there are a few things you can do to make sure that you don’t have the same experience as the patients in the article:
Go to a Board-certified plastic surgeon. Further, make sure he/she is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. We have standards and a code of ethics that we must adhere to. And, we attest that we will only operate in accredited facilities. (Click on the logo below to verify membership.) Don’t be hurried or rushed. Take your time. Ask Questions. And, do your homework!
- Make sure the facility where your doctor is doing the surgery is an accredited facility.
- Make sure your doctor has hospital privileges to do this operation in a hospital.
- If the price you are being quoted is way lower than anyone else, beware!
- Find out something about your doctor. Look at online reviews, and read his/her profile on sites like RealSelf.com. If you can’t find them online, that should tell you something.
If you have a friend who is going to have plastic surgery, please help us get the word out. This can save them a whole lot of grief!
David B. Reath, MD