It’s no secret that I’m pleased to see the rise in the number of people obtaining cosmetic and plastic surgery year after year. It’s a reflection of the awesome new technologies and formulas we’ve acquired, as well as evidence that folks finally understand that these procedures are not just for the rich and famous. They’re for everyday people who want to feel better about themselves and their bodies.
But with the rise in demand comes an increase in the number of surgeons selling these services without the proper training or experience. Would you believe there are orthodontists out there offering breast augmentation?
Using an unqualified person for serious procedures can lead to horrific and, in some cases, tragic outcomes. I’m not just talking ugly scarring, I’m talking about blindness and embolisms, major blood loss, and even organ damage.
So please, dear reader, if you or a loved one, have made the decision to pursue cosmetic or plastic surgery, share what I like to call my “Anti-Botched List.”
- Red flag: The provider is offering to “save” you hundreds of dollars on the procedure. When it comes to cosmetic/plastic surgery, you should not use the cheapest deal in town. These are serious surgical procedures involving costly resources that are worth paying for. You’ll find that most legitimate surgeons charge approximately the same price in any given region.
- Red flag: You feel like you’ve just stepped into a spa. If that’s the case, move on. Spas are for massages, not surgeries.
- Red flag: The provider “specializes” in just one procedure. Most likely this means they have obtained some quick training on that service and are woefully unprepared for any complications, not to mention unable to view you as a whole person who might benefit from alternative procedures.
- Red flag: Your appointments are rushed and your questions remain unanswered. This is unacceptable from any service provider, but especially in someone offering cosmetic or plastic surgery—procedures that are highly personal and unfamiliar to most people. Always choose someone who is patient and knowledgeable and who has a clear plan for follow-up appointments. Recovery is when patients are most at risk and need to be closely monitored by their provider.
- Green light: The provider is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and, even better, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In fact, I want you to start your search at find.plasticsurgery.org, the ASPS website, to narrow down your list of potential providers.
Thirteen years is the average length of education and training that qualified plastic surgeons have obtained. They are the ones who are committed and best prepared to understand not only your goals, but the safest way to reach them. In addition to my years of medical school, residency and fellowship, I’ve been operating a successful practice for 14 years.
Of course I want you to be my patient, but more importantly, I want to educate you on choosing a safe provider and keep you and your loved ones out of the running for the next episode of “Botched.”
Dr. Rob Houser