Cosmetic Surgery Myths?

What are some common myths about plastic surgery?

Doctor Answers (3)

With the increasing awareness of cosmetic surgery, most...

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With the increasing awareness of cosmetic surgery, most people know quite a lot about plastic surgery nowadays.

Most people don’t know, though, that plastic surgeons are also fully trained to perform reconstructive surgery, mainly for cancers, injuries and congenital abnormalities. Cancers that are treated by plastic surgeons include cancers of the face, cancers of the mouth, breast reconstruction after mastectomy, cancers of muscles and bones, and skin cancers.

Plastic surgeons treat injuries of the face and limbs (sometimes in conjunction with orthopaedic surgeons who realign bones, leaving the plastic surgeons to deal with the remaining structures that allow the limbs to function) and, of course, burns.

Hand surgery is also a subspecialty within plastic surgery, and this includes injuries of hands (such as sewing fingers back on) as well as degenerative conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis of the hands.

Congenital abnormalities treated by plastic surgeons include cleft lips and palates, congenital hand anomalies (for example extra fingers, missing fingers or thumbs, etc), congenital anomalies of blood vessels (such as port wine stains, and strawberry naevus) and birth defects of the face and skull (including some very rare craniofacial conditions).

All these conditions are treated in the UK by plastic surgeons. If your surgeon is an NHS plastic surgeon, he will have been trained in dealing with all these problems, as well as being fully trained in all aspects of cosmetic and aesthetic surgery.


Glasgow Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

No 2 surgeons are the same in the art form of plastic surgery

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The most important myth that needs to be debunked about plastic surgery is that you can go to whatever doctor has the lowest price or conversely has the flashiest office and get the same result from surgery. It probably is the case that neither of these doctors is going to be the best one for you.

Plastic surgery is an art form in the truest sense. There is a art in patient care, office management maintaining the top staff, and especially in the performance of aesthetic surgery. To explain, if you give three people materials to paint or sculpt something, they will come up with three totally different results based on their talent, eye, and training. You cannot teach talent or an eye for the aesthetic.

So, even though the minimum requirements you should look for in a doctor are American Board of Plastic Surgery Certification, you still need to find the one whose talent will give you the result you are hoping for. Look at photos from each doctor and study the differences. Meet at least three of the best in your area and don't base your final decision on price. It is far more expensive to try to repair a bad result and the revision will never be as good as if the surgery went well in the first place.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Myth: All

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With the increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery has come a flood of peripheral "specialists" seeking to capitalize on this share of the healthcare market which is primarily cash-funded and largely immune to concerns over insurance reimbursement. These doctors claim to possess equivalent skills to those of Plastic Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only recognized accrediting body in the U.S. Often, these unqualified doctors are self-taught, and do not hold current hospital privileges to perform plastic surgery procedures, therefore choosing to practice in a less-regulated outpatient setting. Worse, many of these doctors mis-represent themselves as equally- or even better-trained than ABPS-certified Plastic Surgeons, and have attempted to legitimize themselves by creating "parallel" boards to certify themselves for a fee, rather than subjecting themselves to the rigorous educational requirements necessary to receive true board certification in Plastic Surgery by ABPS.

Patients considering cosmetic surgery of any kind should do their homework before going to see any surgeon. In addition to checking the qualifications of a surgeon on his or her own website, patients should also check their doctor out through the Medical Board of the state in which the doctor practices. In order to find out if your doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, visit the ABPS website at www.abplsurg.org.

Athleo Louis Cambre, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.