When Plastic Surgery Becomes a Business Model

The other day I saw a news report that talked about a large, national facial cosmetic surgery practice that unexpectedly shut down, without any warning to patients and even their doctors.   They were most notably known for their “minimally-invasive face lift” that they touted could be done under local anesthesia, take less time and money, and would produce results that were just as good as traditional facelifts.  While it may be true to some degree that we live in a society that enjoys instant gratification, there are just some things that deserve to be done the right way, even if it means it will take a little longer or cost a bit more.

Heavy marketing through infomercials and nationwide campaigns generated a lot of buzz about this company and the procedure they purported to perform for many patients looking for a low-cost facial rejuvenation treatment.  So how does a company that became so known go out of business so quickly?  The suggested downfall of this corporate structured practice is that there were numerous malpractice claims, dissatisfied patients and reports of safety concerns that led to several lawsuits filed against the company.  Reports from previous patients who had negative experiences described a type of structure that tried to sell a product and didn’t actually have the patient’s goals and health at the forefront of their practice.

I find this all to be quite alarming.  As a double board certified plastic surgeon I have devoted my entire practice to my patients because their safety and ultimately satisfaction with their plastic surgery procedures is what motivates me to keep learning, implementing and perfecting techniques that will only work to benefit the patient.  It’s already emotionally taxing for patients to navigate the world of plastic surgery in general; they’ve met with numerous doctors, decided on “the one”, scheduled the procedure and mentally start prepping for the next chapter in their journey.  To hear that a company would suddenly shut down leaving past, present and future patients high and dry is disheartening to hear for everyone involved because it’s not what anyone deserves.  It’s my belief that you build a trust between patient and doctor.  As a patient you entrust your life and as a doctor we have your best interest at heart, at least which is what healthcare providers should always strive to do.  When your practice and main focus becomes more about how much revenue you’re generating, this can only benefit you and that’s not why we practice medicine.

The best advice I can give to patients considering any plastic surgery procedure is to do your research.  Yes, online reviews can often be skewed but use your best judgement.  Reach out to actual patients, take in-depth looks at a surgeon’s plastic surgery results, meet as many doctors as you have to (meet with the same one more than once if you need that) until you feel completely comfortable and confident in your decisions.  If a gimmick seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is – so why take the risk when it comes to your health?