Dr. David Halpern addresses the dangers of hiring an unqualified plastic surgeon in Florida and how to ensure this does not happen to you.
In the United States, any doctor with a medical license can legally perform cosmetic surgery, even if they don’t specialize in the field. While cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related specialties, the training and expertise required of a board-certified plastic surgeon is extensive.
However, in recent years, there have been cases of surgeons fraudulently stating their credentials and leading patients to believe that they are plastic surgeons.
When your plastic surgery care is in the hands of a surgeon who lacks the proper training, this can present several problems:
- Your surgeon might not have the aesthetic sense to produce natural-looking results.
- Your surgeon might not be experienced enough to deal with unexpected events during surgery.
- Your surgery may result in injury or even death.
The following information explores these dangers in detail, and provides tips to avoid hiring an unqualified plastic surgeon.
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Understanding Fraudulent Practices of Unqualified Plastic Surgeons
As mentioned above, some surgeons are fraudulently stating that they are board-certified plastic surgeons, or they lead patients to believe that they are more qualified than they actually are.
Here’s what typically happens:
- In some cases, the surgeon is actually board-certified in general surgery and claims to be a plastic surgeon. While they are legally allowed to perform cosmetic surgery, they are not plastic surgeons.
- In other cases, surgeons will state that they are “board-certified cosmetic surgeons.”
The trouble with both of these scenarios is that the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only true plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Physicians who are board-certified in plastic surgery must complete a general surgery residency, in addition to two years of a plastic surgery residency. They also have to sit for rigorous examinations to demonstrate their mastery of the field.
The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the ABMS. In fact, most hospitals will not even grant privileges to these physicians claiming to be “board-certified cosmetic surgeons.” Simply put, they do not have the training and expertise in aesthetics and reconstructive plastic surgery that is required of legitimate plastic surgeons.
Plastic Surgery Risks of Hiring an Unqualified Plastic Surgeon
People seeking plastic surgery generally want to enhance their appearance without looking obviously altered. Accordingly, qualified plastic surgeons see their work as both an art form and a science; it takes a true sense of aesthetics and knowledge of the human form to produce natural-looking results.
For instance, facelift surgery is not as simple as lifting the facial tissues to a more youthful position. Plastic surgeons take great care to reposition the deeper structures of the face to provide natural-looking lift, while also paying close attention to the natural tension lines of the face and the limitations of the patient’s features.
Ultimately, natural-looking results are all about balance. If you choose a surgeon who lacks an in-depth knowledge of aesthetics, you may end up with results that detract from your appearance rather than enhance it.
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When you choose a plastic surgeon, you’re not just trusting them with your appearance – your safety is also in their hands. In most cases, plastic surgery can safely produce transformative results for patients. But in the wrong hands, an otherwise safe procedure can have disastrous results.
As discussed in Dr. David Halpern’s blog post regarding botched plastic surgery, a 25-year-old woman from New York developed blood clots after undergoing plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic. She was found unresponsive in her car shortly after the procedures and later died. Unfortunately, stories like these are not isolated incidents. While plastic surgery is generally safe, unexpected issues can still occur during the procedure. A qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon can properly deal with complications as they arise, and mitigate any effects they may have on your health or safety.
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How to Protect Yourself
For optimal results, it’s crucial that your plastic surgeon has the necessary training. But with all the credentials and certificates that surgeons display on their websites and in their offices, it can be confusing for patients to know exactly what to look for.
Here’s what you need to remember: the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only true plastic surgery board recognized by the ABMS. Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to ensure that he or she has the proper skills, education, and experience to perform your procedure safely.
To further protect patients from fraudulent practices, the Truth in Medical Education law was passed in Florida, which was designed to educate people about their doctor’s credentials. It makes it unlawful for surgeons in Florida to state they are board-certified plastic surgeons unless they are actually certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. While these measures have encouraged transparency, there are some additional ways to protect yourself when considering cosmetic enhancements.
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Additional Tips for Hiring Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons
- When inquiring about credentials, don’t just take your surgeon’s word for it. For those seeking board-certified plastic surgeons in Florida, you can verify the status of your surgeon’s medical license here.
- The American Board of Plastic Surgery also allows you to verify your surgeon’s board certification online.
- If you feel pressured during your consultation, this is a red flag. Avoid surgeons who use sales tactics and pressure you to make a decision on the spot.
- Another red flag to watch out for is providers who only take cash, or who work out of their home or garage.
Schedule Your Consultation with Dr. David Halpern Today
As a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. David Halpern of Tampa Bay Plastic Surgery is committed to serving patients with the highest standard of care. If you’re seeking plastic surgery in the Tampa Florida area, he would be happy to meet with you for a personal consultation. Contact him today at 813.871.5000.