Today, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a new public service campaign was unveiled. It’s called “Do Your Homework” – and it refers to the selection of a properly trained and credentialed plastic surgeon for any elective plastic surgery.”Patients are getting injured, some are dying during procedures performed by non-board-certified plastic surgeons,” said Malcolm Z. Roth, MD, ASPS President. “We want patients to understand what to ask their doctor and what to look for so that they can maximize their chance of a safe and successful procedure.”As we’ve discussed before on this blog, most states do not have any laws that prevent doctors from practicing outside of their field. Recently, with more and more non-plastic surgeons starting to dabble in plastic surgery, it’s become a significant problem for consumers. And as we’ve discussed recently, people are being harmed by inadequately-trained operators. Only California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas have Truth-In-Advertising laws which require medical providers to be more honest about their training, or lack thereof. Sadly, here in Florida, these regulations are under-enforced.”There is a misconception among consumers that as long as a doctor is certified in a medical field that he or she is qualified to practice plastic surgery. This is absolutely wrong and it is dangerous for patients,” said Dr. Roth.
According to my colleague, Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, “What should happen is that every state medical board should say, ‘if you’re trained in pediatrics you are allowed to practice pediatrics and if you’re trained in orthopedics you can practice orthopedics.’ But, unfortunately, most state laws and regulations enable some physicians to drift into the practice of plastic surgery without proper training and certification.”
If you are not sure whether a prospective plastic surgeon is board-certified in plastic surgery, an on-line “find-a-surgeon” service is available from the ASPS.