Chapter One, Resources fior the Plastic Surgery Patient

George Commons, MD

Article by
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon

    I am initiating this writing  purely to provide as much information as I can to keep all patients of all doctors nationally and internationally  SAFE, Comfortable, and with Pleasing Results.   To do this we must first consider what is important, or should be foremost, in the minds of all patients and all plastic surgeons.   The big three of plastic surgery are: Safety, Quality  Loving Care, and Beautiful Results.   These three will come up again and again in my discussions.  I have practiced plastic surgery for well over 30 years and have seen many breaches of these three Absolute Principles singularly or in combination that have led to disastrous  results and even death.   In addition to my medical practice I have a legal consultation practice  that has allowed me to sort out disaster after disaster.  Why do patients keep making the same mistakes?  They follow slick ads, they believe incompetent, untrained doctors,  they go to non surgeons for surgery,  they follow prices that are too good to be true,  they have surgery without an MD anesthesiologist in attendance,  they have surgery in  facilities with no accreditation,  they have surgery in places with no RNs and no  licensed surgical technicians,   they have surgery in facilities run by $13 non licensed workers,  and on and on.   I have seen examples of disasters emanating  from each of these and far more.  So the entire effort of these writings will be to help patients obtain the goals they must certainty want of Safety, Quality Loving Care, and Beautiful Results.   This is a Patient Resource Guide that hopefully will establish simple guidelines patients can employ to attain their goals.  The established goals are simple but the long list of tragedies I have seen and continue to see well establish the raod is a slippery and treacherous one.  It is a road with horrible signage applied by doctors who live and win by deception.   
     It is time to begin the journey.  One hint today.  Never, never, never  have surgery unless the doctor professing to be a plastic surgeon is a real trained surgeon.  You must never have surgery unless your doctor is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  The doctor must have FACS after his or her name.  This at least assures the doctor has gone through a residency of 7 to 10 years of training in a program recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists.  This board grants the FACS if and only if the doctor is a fully trained surgeon who has passed required board examinations in his or her field.  FACS or NO SURGERY.  This is the hint of the day.  I will supply phone and internet and email access to this American College of Surgeons in my next writing.  Thank you and my Best,  Dr C    George W Commons, MD, FACS, ABPS