Previously, I shared a story about a 35 year-old Florida woman who had a negative outcome from surgery after she chose a good deal on liposuction without checking on the expertise of the provider. Had she done more research, she would have found that the surgeon had been disciplined by the state on multiple occasions. The other day I read about another woman who chose price over expertise, and again had a negative outcome. This fatal breast implant surgery was performed by a certified family physician. While this doctor was board certified, he was not a plastic surgeon, but he was performing cosmetic surgery. This story not only saddened me, but also reinforced the need for good medicine when it comes to cosmetic treatments.
As the aesthetic industry has grown, the view of cosmetic treatments as medical treatments seems to have become lax. There are physicians who are not trained in surgery performing surgery. There is BOTOX being injected in hair salons while customers are sitting in chairs waiting for their hair dye to process. There are lasers being purchased and run without the oversight of a physician. These are medical treatments with real benefits; but there are always potential complications, and the procedures needed to be taken seriously. The State Medical Board does not limit the practice of cosmetic surgery to plastic surgeons. In reality, any doctor with a medical license can perform surgery. It is then the responsibility of the physicians to work within the scope of their training. At VITAHL, we take training and board certification seriously. I am board certified in Internal Medicine. I am trained to treat medical conditions that affect any organ of the body, including the skin, our largest organ. I am not trained in surgery, but if I wanted to, I could purchase a liposuction machine, take a weekend course, and perform surgery. I feel this would be irresponsible on my part, so when we decided to add liposuction and surgery to the treatments available at VITAHL, I partnered with a board certified plastic surgeon. I feel that it is my responsibility to offer the best medical care to my patients, and personally, I feel this is achieved when cosmetic surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon.
So what can you do as a patient to make sure your physician is practicing responsible medicine? I recommend doing your research. The lowest price is probably low for a reason. Find out why someone is willing to perform surgery at prices well below the industry norm. Know who is performing your surgery, know how they have been trained, and ask about their clinical outcomes. In our industry update below, you can find out more about this topic as well as more about Dr. Jason Martin, our board-certified plastic surgeon.