Would you go to a Dentist for Breast Surgery? Some have...

A. Foley on 2 Aug 2010 at 12:00am

Believe it or not, any U.S. doctor or dentist with an active medical license may perform cosmetic procedures if a patient will allow them, according to plastic surgeons active in the RealSelf.com community.

Shortly after a dentist in Seattle was sued for a bad breast reduction, a community member on RealSelf asked how this could be true, why are oral surgeons allowed to do breast reduction surgery?

While our medical community continues to respond, the answer hasn't changed: because it's not against the law.

In fact, “Anyone can call themselves a ‘cosmetic surgeon’, even an oral surgeon or dentist,” notes Chicago plastic surgeon David Dreyfuss.

The end result? Patients may receive surgery from medical professionals who are not properly credentialed – which may lead to botched procedures and serious complications.

5 ways to ensure you go into a cosmetic surgery procedure informed and confident

1) Be wary of medical professionals who say they are board certified in cosmetic surgery – there is no such recognized certification. Instead, ensure your physician is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and ideally also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and/or ASAPS.

2) Ask if he or she has plastic surgery privileges at a reputable local hospital. If so, rest assured that the physician that you are considering has completed the additional surgical education that qualifies him or her.

3) Request the doctor's professional resume, and review his or her schooling and residency.

4) Seek out a surgeon who specializes in – and has experience in – the type of procedure that fits your specific needs.

5) Trust your instincts: take a step back if you feel like you’re getting a hard sell from a physician’s office. Do you feel confident that all of your questions have been answered satisfactorily?

Don’t skimp when it comes to your health. Sometimes the cheapest surgeries often end up the costliest, says Miami plastic surgeon B. Pat Pazmino, MD. As they say, an educated consumer makes the best customer – or in this case, patient. After all, you wouldn’t go to your hairdresser for an oil change, would you?

More on RealSelf

Tips for finding the best cosmetic plastic surgery doctor

Handy check list for making calls to a plastic surgery office

Comments (2)

It’s always great to hear that those in the dental profession are expanding knowledge. Thanks!

I read the August 2nd posting about a dentist performing Breast Surgery with great interest. While this may be a true account, I have not heard of it prior to this posting and have never heard of any other dentists performing plastic surgery procedures away from the mouth. It is true, that in most states, any health care professional with a surgical license can perform any surgical procedure. As a cosmetic dentist, I could also remove an appendix, legally.

However, whether the professional is a Surgeon MD, Public Health Administrator MD, or a Surgical Dentist DDS, he or she is still held to the highest standards to understand the best surgical techniques, assessment protocols, and potential complications, to name a few. It is one thing to have the Formal Authority to do anything and entirely different calling to exercise appropriate Moral Authority as we interact with others in our lives.

It would be a poor decision for a consumer to choose a dentist for Plastic Surgery or the Dentist to perform it. Likewise, physicians should stay away from Porcelain Veneers or correcting the bite. The consumer should always seek the most competent and experienced care giver for their health - a most precious gift.

Mickey Bernstein, DDS, FAGD Germantown, TN