Who is Doing Your Cosmetic Surgery?


A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, “Who is doing your Botox® injections?”  It raised the issue of training and qualifications as they relate to cosmetic procedures.  As a board certified plastic surgeon, I have always been somewhat puzzled as to why a patient would choose to have a cosmetic procedure performed by someone other than a plastic surgeon.  Of course there seem to be a number of reasons including price, convenience, and referred by a friend.

An interesting article was published last April in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery discussing this topic.  The title of the article is ”Who Is Providing Aesthetic Surgery?  A Detailed Examination of the Geographic Distribution and Training Backgrounds of Cosmetic Practitioners in Southern California.”  The authors looked into the specialty, training, and board certification of doctors performing cosmetic procedures in Southern California.

Not surprisingly, the authors found that plastic surgeons were the most common providers of cosmetic procedures.  They also found a high concentration of physicians offering cosmetic procedures in areas such as Beverly Hills, Orange County, and La Jolla.  A trend of providers having multiple office locations was also seen.

Interestingly, the authors found that a large number of non-invasive, and invasive cosmetic procedures are being offered by physicians who were not formally trained in plastic surgery.  Roughly 73% of providers offering dermal fillers, and 38% of physicians performing liposuction were not plastic surgeons.  Surprisingly, primary care providers were the third largest group offering the non-invasive dermal fillers Restylane® and Juvederm®, and the fourth largest group offering liposuction.

Every cosmetic procedure comes with its own set of risks.  It is widely understood that appropriate training can decrease the risks of a particular treatment.  According to a recently published study of fatalities caused by liposuction, “The lack of surgical experience was a notorious contributing factor, particularly regarding the timely identification of developing complications.”

Now more than ever, it is vital for patients to verify the credentials and training of their prospective providers.  Numerous resources exist to assist in determining qualifications and board certification.  The American Society of Plastic Surgery has a page to help you determine the location of a board certified plastic surgeon in your area.

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Yuba City Plastic Surgeon