Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
This is being written to help you, the cosmetic consumer, navigate the crazy world of cosmetic surgery that gets crazier every day it seems.
Over the past several decades, cosmetic surgery and the med spa industry has exploded. Now, many doctors and nurses are diving into the field as traditional medicine and its pay structure slowly collapses. The COVID pandemic did nothing but accelerate this trend. This is great for the consumer since ample supply has lowered prices on the med spa side. It has also been bad for the consumer since the number of individuals with motivations that are not in line with the consumers’ best interest entering the field has grown exponentially.
This problem is not just limited to the med spa area either. Doctors who have little to no formal training are entering into the cosmetic surgery field daily. These doctors have little to no training and little to no experience in the field, which sounds crazy but with the way medical licenses work, it happens every day. The med spa side usually only damages your pocketbook since fillers and toxins all wear off over time. They can still cause significant damage, but thank goodness it’s a rare occurrence. Med spas that use energy devices such as lasers and do some minimally invasive procedures can certainly do more harm if not trained properly in their use so beware. Check credentials, reviews, ask questions about experience and training before you spend your hard-earned money.
On the cosmetic surgery side, over the past several years we have seen disastrous results from poor training and lack of experience. Multiple deaths from BBL (fat grafting to the buttocks), deaths from seemingly minor procedures (breast augmentation death in Colorado), even celebrity family members have perished at the hands of surgeons that don’t put patient safety first or don’t have adequate training in how to do a procedure or what to do when things go wrong.
We are not saying all surgery is 100% safe but our job as cosmetic surgeons is to put the safety of each patient first. We do this by performing procedures using best practices. Be ACLS and BLS certified. Perform major procedures only in accredited facilities. Have appropriate transfer agreements and hospital privileges. These may seem like common sense and should be things all surgeons do, but think again. There are unscrupulous practitioners out there that are only out to collect. How to avoid them? Follow these suggestions and you can stay out of trouble most of the time:
- Make sure the surgeons you are considering have formal training in cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, such as board certification in cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery with additional aesthetic training, OR surgeons with years of experience if they are not formally trained.
- If you are having any major surgical procedure, make sure your doctor is operating in an accredited facility and that your doctor has admitting privileges at a hospital and there is a transfer agreement between the hospital and the facility.
- Ask lots of questions about safety and how you will be protected during and after surgery if a problem arises. Get a second opinion if you feel the least bit uncomfortable. Look at pictures and reviews and ask more questions.
Cosmetic surgery should never be a life-or-death decision. Do your homework and it won’t be.