Cosmetic or Plastic Surgeon
Article by Evan Sorokin, MD
Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
New Jersey law allows any person with a medical doctorate to perform cosmetic surgery, but as more patients learn through trial-and-error who is - and who isn't - a trustworthy surgeon, more are becoming aware of how to avoid that mistake in the first place. In a recent interview, Dr. Evan Sorokin says he is seeing a gradual shift in how well potential patients can see through the often murky terminology some cosmetic surgeons in New Jersey use to disguise the real extent of their training.
"More patients are coming in for consultations at my practice already aware that they need to find a board-certified plastic surgeon," says Dr. Sorokin, a plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). "But unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion about what certification means and which credentials really matter. ABPS certification is the gold standard for plastic surgery in New Jersey, and there are no substitutes for it."
The ABPS operates under the umbrella of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and oversees training and testing standards for doctors in head-to-toe plastic surgery. While many cosmetic surgeons who have not received board certification from the ABPS will still refer to themselves as "board-certified," they have either received board certification in a field other than plastic surgery or have received certification from a lesser "cosmetic" or "aesthetic" surgery board unrecognized by the ABMS.
These differences go beyond semantics - they can impact a patient's safety. At Delaware Valley Plastic Surgery in New Jersey, Dr. Sorokin makes patient safety a clear priority. He and his staff implement the most current techniques to prevent tissue damage and minimize surgical complications, and he also maintains surgical privileges at several area hospitals. More than once, he has stepped in to correct unforeseen complications for a cosmetic surgeon in New Jersey who lacked access to hospital resources, or the skill to successfully correct the unanticipated problem.
"I have been called in to emergency surgery when cosmetic surgeons encountered situations they were unable to handle," says Dr. Sorokin. "I am deeply distressed that there are surgeons out there who are willing to endanger patient safety by portraying themselves as fully qualified, when in reality they lack the skill and the knowledge base to operate safely."
Dr. Sorokin takes the time to educate his patients about standards and core competencies for a plastic surgery practitioner."All doctor-patient relationships are based on trust, and along with my staff I work hard to build that trust," he says. "I meet with each patient personally for a comprehensive consultation where I discuss the importance of board certification and answer each patient's cosmetic surgery questions."
While more people than ever before understand the distinction between a cosmetic surgeon and a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Sorokin continues to promote his credentials so that New Jersey patients can make an informed decision. "My qualifications are clear," Dr. Sorokin says. "I have nothing to hide and everything to gain from open communication with my patients."