Diversity of Plastic Surgery Procedures among Differing Ethnic Groups

Diversity of Plastic Surgery Procedures among Differing Ethnic GroupsLast February, The New York Times released an article about ethnic diversity in plastic surgery in New York City. The article described the plastic surgery procedures that different ethnic groups, such as Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians, were more likely to undergo to help preserve their cultural identities. With that article in mind, I’d like to offer my perspective as a plastic surgeon about the role of cultural differences in plastic surgery. In Atlanta, I see a variety of ethnicities seeking plastic surgery, and while preserving cultural identity is important, it’s also important for a plastic surgeon to understand the complications that can arise with different skin types.

Going beyond color, skin type differs from ethnicity to ethnicity. According to the Cosmetic Dermatology for Skin of Color, the stratum corneum of black skin has more cell layers and elevated lipid content compared to white skin even though the overall thickness is similar, meaning darker skin is more compact. Patients with darker complexions, especially African American patients, have more melanin in their skin than patients with lighter complexions. Because there is more melanin present with darker skin tones, there is an increased risk of pigmentation changes with any incisions or trauma to the skin, including surgery.

Rhinoplasty (nose surgery) is more complex among diverse ethnicities due to differences in cartilage texture and should be performed by plastic surgeons with ethnic plastic surgery experience. Cartilage is flexible, connective tissue found in many parts of the body such as the nose, ears, rib cage, in many joints and between bones. A black patient’s cartilage is typically softer and less prominent than that of a white patient. Continue reading

Why does pricing for Botox® and Dysport® vary so much from provider to provider?

Botox® and Dysport® have become wildly popular wrinkle treatments for patients wishing to reduce the appearance of forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, and wrinkles between the eyes.  The active ingredient within these dermal injectables is a purified form of botulinum toxin A– a substance that works to temporarily relax the wrinkle causing muscles into which it’s injected.  Most Botox® and Dysport® patients report noticeable reduction of their wrinkles for two to four months following the cosmetic skin treatment.

Why does pricing for Botox® and Dysport® vary so much from provider to provider?Given the temporary nature of the treatment, facial rejuvenation patients regularly search for the best Botox® and Dysport® discounts to try and minimize the size of their ongoing investment.  Although, it’s important to understand that, just as the case with the cost of plastic surgery, there are many components involved in Botox® and Dysport® pricing.  Injectable providers purchase their products from manufacturer representatives in various quantities and varying solution dilution percentages (based on patient demand, practice budget, relationship with representative, etc.)   The providers (i.e.- board certified plastic surgeon or certified nurse injector) then charges for the product by the number of areas being treated, the number of units being used, or the number of syringes.

The best deal on Botox® and Dysport® treatment depends on the patient’s individual needs.  If a patient has deep set lines and extensive wrinkles, they may want to explore a provider who offers injectables priced per area as pricing by the unit will be higher (more wrinkle relaxing product is required for more expansive wrinkles).  If you’re looking to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles in numerous areas, price per area would not be the best option.  At Southern Plastic Surgery, our Atlanta Botox® and Dysport® pricing is simple: we charge a flat fee for unlimited treatment areas with one injectable.  With all of the media attention surrounding the treatment, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the different offers.  One thing to always remember before pursuing facial injectables or any facial plastic surgery procedure is to thoroughly research your plastic surgeon.  A wonderful price cannot replace medical training and procedure experience.

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Study Shows Rise in Number of Unqualified Practitioners Offering Cosmetic Services like Liposuction and Botox

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.

For more information on Dr. Whiteman’s qualifications, visit the Southern Plastic Surgery website. Feel free to contact our office with any more questions you may have!