It is not surprising that, in a down economy, people will be doing anything they can to keep their business afloat and continue to make money. Understandably, fast food chains will jump on the “value menu” bandwagon or nail salons will begin to offer two for one pricing – but what is the beyond the realm of understanding is unqualified medical practitioners who are offering surgeries they have no training for. Unfortunately, this is exactly what has been happening in the world of cosmetic surgery procedures, namely liposuction and the administering of injections like Botox® and Dysport®.
In a recent study, published in the April issue of the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery journal, researchers found that nearly 40 percent of doctors offering liposuction in the Southern California area had NO specific surgical training. In fact, other than plastic surgeons, dermatologists, otolaryngologists (head/ Neck surgeons), and Primary Care Physicians were the top four groups providing liposuction. The study examined 1876 cosmetic practitioners in the California test area, and only 495 of them were trained in plastic surgery!
So, how can people get away with this? Well first of all, there is no law that makes offering these services illegal because no actual training in surgery is required by law. Second of all, injections and liposuction can technically be performed in a practitioner’s office; therefore, hospital privileges (which are only given to legitimate, qualified doctors) are not an issue. What consumers are left with are untrained/ minimally trained practitioners offering surgical procedures in less than safe conditions just to see a bump in their paycheck.
Luckily, there are things that you, as a consumer, can do to protect yourself. First of all, be weary of misleading practice names that are not supported and backed by a real doctor. You have every right to ask about your practitioner’s qualifications, so make sure that you do so. You want to make sure when getting any cosmetic or surgical procedure that your physician is board certified in plastic surgery, and not just general surgery – specific training in plastic surgery is the key to the best and safest results.