What You Should Know Before You Have Plastic Surgery


Beware of the “White Coat Syndrome”.   You may have read my blog post, “Be Smart About Liposuction” and if you didn’t you should.  In that article, I stated “just because a doctor has an “MD”, labcoat, liposuction machine, and billboard does not make them qualified, much less an expert in Liposuction.”  Well guess what, it’s not just Liposuction that is being done by unqualified physicians.  Not every doctor that advertises plastic surgery is a plastic surgeon. 

There is a trend that you should know about if you, a friend, or a family member is considering plastic surgery and it’s happening here in Tampa. It’s becoming common to find physicians, board certified in other specialties, performing plastic surgery procedures. Even doctors with no surgical training are marketing and performing plastic surgery procedures in their offices.

Too often, patients come into our office and tell us about the consultations they have had with other “plastic surgeons.”  Many times the doctor they thought was a plastic surgeon isn’t really a plastic surgeon.  Their first question is always, “Isn’t there some kind of a law in Florida that prevents doctors from performing surgeries they are not trained to perform?”  The answer is unfortunately NO. 

It is not against the law for a doctor with 4 years of medical school, and no surgical training, to set up an office and perform plastic surgery. And it is not against the law for a physician certified in another specialty such as family practice, dermatology, gynecology,or general surgery to begin performing plastic surgery. With the demand for plastic surgery increasing and insurance payments to physicians decreasing, it is likely we will see more, not less of this.

So it’s not against the law, but in my opinion it is unethical.  It’s no longer good enough to see the words “board certified” and assume your doctor has the right credentials. Most doctors are board certified in some medical or surgical specialty.  You should look for a doctor that is board certified in plastic surgery. 

So how do you know if your doctor has the proper credentials to perform your plastic surgery?

There are safety seals on almost every product we purchase.  Our medication, bottled drinks, even beauty care products, but there is no safety seal on a doctor.  The safety seal for a plastic surgeon is the symbol below.

  Member American Society of Plastic Surgeons

The only Board that certifies plastic surgeons is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Don’t be confused by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery or other boards mentioning plastic or cosmetic surgery. Be aware that these are self-appointed boards (meaning any self-serving group of doctors could start one.) The American Board of Medical Specialties does not recognize them and their members are not Board-certified plastic surgeons.

The key to having a safe plastic surgery is to educate yourself and ask a lot of questions.  The World Wide Web can be a great tool if you know what to look for.  I know if I wasn’t in this business, I would have trouble navigating thru the advertisements and “fake” board certificates.

As always, Dr. Aguiar, myself, and team are here to help you have a pleasant and wonderful experience.  Your safety and satisfaction is our top priority.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your family & friends.

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