By Dr. Daniel C. Mills
A few years ago, a young woman named Kayla walked into my office. She was clearly upset – quite frankly, devastated, having already undergone breast surgery at the hands of someone she believed to be a plastic surgeon, when in reality he was an OBGYN. She saw a few certificates on his wall and like most people would, assumed that meant he was legitimate and qualified to perform plastic surgery. Unfortunately, because he was not a trained plastic surgeon, he did quite a number on her breasts and that is why she wound up in my office. I was the doctor she selected to basically undo the damage – and there was substantial damage to undo. Kayla has now undergone three separate surgeries in order to fix what the OBGYN did. Unfortunately, more and more doctors are claiming to be experts in areas in which they have no formal training. This poses significant risks to patients.
What pains me is that situations like these are entirely preventable. Here’s what you need to know:
There is a reason that medical specialties exist. You wouldn’t go to an ear nose and throat doctor for a heart-related condition, just as you wouldn’t go to a mechanic to get your curtains cleaned.
For some reason though, when it comes to plastic surgery, people still seek out bargain-basement deals and procedures performed by non-specialists, because Like Kayla, they see diplomas and certificates on a wall and assume this is sufficient.
I can assure you that it isn’t.
I have seen what happens as a result of this. It isn’t pretty. Those shows on TV? The reality programs about botched procedures? These things actually happen to people. The bottom line is that saving a few dollars when putting your face and body into someone else’s hands just isn’t worth it. You will pay a much larger fee if you run this risk.
So what do you need to arm yourself with in order to ensure that you’re in the right hands?
If you are pursuing an aesthetic cosmetic procedure, you should find a board-certified physician that specializes in aesthetic surgery. I cannot emphasize this enough. They are the only physicians who were specifically trained in the art of aesthetic surgery – and it is an art.
It’s why I belong to the only organization in the United States consisting exclusively of these surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Membership is elite and all members must be vetted by their peers and approved and meet a laundry list of fairly stringent requirements.
Here’s what you need to know when looking for an aesthetic plastic surgeon:
- Your doctor should be board-certified in plastic surgery. What does that mean? Well, it means they are approved by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons – the only board permitted to offer certification to qualifying physicians specializing in plastic surgery in the United States.
- Your doctor should not try to convince you to have more done than you want, and shouldn’t pressure you about anything.
- Your doctor shouldn’t offer any bargain-basement too-good-to-be-true style discounts, because you know what they say about things that seem too-good-to-be-true.
- Your doctor should ensure that you’re not suffering from body dysmorphic disorder – in other words, you need to be of sound mind.
- Your doctor should also ensure that you’re in a general state of good health.
- Your doctor should perform surgical procedures in a properly accredited facility.
- Your doctor should make you feel at ease and comfortable with the procedure, answering any and all questions you may have and offering a portfolio of before-and-after pics of other patients who’ve had the same procedure performed in their hands.
So, where do you find such a doctor? ASAPS has made that pretty easy for you. There is a Find-A-Surgeon tool available on http://www.smartbeautyguide.com/select-surgeon. Every surgeon listed is a member of ASAPS, they are all board-certified and they all specialize in aesthetic plastic surgery of the face and body.