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!

What is the difference between Restylane and Botox/Dysport Cosmetic injectables?

For those who are unfamiliar with the world of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures, one of their most common questions is “What is the difference between Restylane® and Botox®/Dysport®?.” The answer is: everything! Many people are under the misconception that the wrinkle removing injectables on the market are brand name variations of the same product; however this is far from the truth.

Restylane®, along with similar popular products Juvederm® and Perlane®, are what we call “injectable fillers”. These products consist of collagen, either natural collagen from animals, or Hyaluronic Acid (HA), the same component found naturally in human collagen.

Once injected into the problem areas, the collagen or HA “fills in” wrinkles, lines, and furrows in the face to give the face a smoother and more youthful overall look. Injectable fillers vary depending on the whether they are an HA filler or depending on the type of collagen used, however the average injectable filler lasts around 6 months. Unlike Botox® and Dysport®, most injectable fillers can also be used on the lips, for a fuller, plumper look.

Botox®, and newer variation Dysport®, are cosmetic injectables made up a purified form of the toxin botulinum. Unlike injectable fillers that use a substance to “fill in” wrinkles, the substance found Botox® and Dysport® works to relax facial muscles. By blocking the release of acetylcholine, a chemical which transmits nerve signals to contract the muscles, these injectables inactivate or weaken the facial muscles that produce the lines on your face – resulting in a smoother, younger look. Because the muscles in the face are relaxed, Botox® and Dysport® injections prevent new wrinkles from forming or deepening further. Botox® and Dysport® last about 3-4 months on average. And although these products would be useless for the lips, Botox® is also FDA approved for excessive sweating and treatment of neck and muscle spasms.

In short, fillers like Restylane® and Juvederm® use collagen or a collagen-like substance to fill-in and smooth out wrinkles. Botox® and Dysport® relax facial muscles, that ultimately smooth out wrinkles and prevent wrinkles from deepening further. Dr. Whiteman performs both types of injections and can tell you which product will be the best treatment for you. Schedule a consultation or call our office to find out more information.

Poll Shows that Majority of Americans Disagree with the Proposed Cosmetic Surgery Tax

The biggest story in the plastic and cosmetic surgery world right now is the proposed cosmetic surgery tax. It is comically referred to as the “Botax” because it would put a government tax on elective cosmetic surgery procedures; but many Americans don’t think that there is anything comical about it.

According to a recent article in Medical News Today, a poll surveying 1,000 Americans found that people oppose the cosmetic tax by a 52 – 43 percent margin. The proposal recommends a 5 percent excise tax to be placed on cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, including popular injectables like Botox® and Juvederm® as well as breast reduction surgery, facelifts, and liposuction. The tax would not apply to any reconstructive procedures and is expected to raise $5.8 billion over the next ten years to help pay for the government’s healthcare reform plan.

Critics of the plan say that the tax would disproportionately affect middle-class women, who are the most likely to opt for these types of procedures. Americans too, according to the poll, were more likely to disagree with the tax once they discovered that 60 percent of potential plastic surgery patients reported a household income of 30K to 90K a year. The poll also found that people the age of 45 or older, were more likely to oppose the tax. This is not surprising, as many people opt for plastic surgery to combat the effects of aging.

Whether you agree with the proposed cosmetic surgery tax or not is a personal decision; but we will continue to follow this story to see if it makes it into the final health care reform bill. More up to date articles are being posted onto Southern Plastic Surgery’s Facebook fan page. Click here to become a fan of Dr. Whiteman and Southern Plastic Surgery.