Patient Safety

Choosing to have plastic surgery is an important decision. So is selecting a board certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure is an important step in achieving your optimal surgical outcome safely.

Whether you’re considering cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery, you want the skill of a board certified plastic surgeon who is a doctor with more than six years of surgical training and experience, with at least three years specifically in plastic surgery. Their training and experience make them uniquely qualified to perform your cosmetic or reconstructive procedure.

Recently in the news, we are hearing about deaths occurring in people who have undergone plastic surgery procedures at home and abroad. While any type of elective surgery carries risks with it, the sad reality is that many of these deaths could probably have been prevented. The pursuit of the perfection has caused many individuals to seek out providers who often do not have the requisite credentials or training to perform cosmetic procedures.

It is not illegal for any physician in the United States to say that they are a cosmetic doctor or to perform cosmetic procedures. Many physicians in fact claim that they are “board-certified cosmetic surgeons.” However, only a relatively small number of doctors can say that they are “board-certified plastic surgeons.” In order to substantiate this claim of being a board-certified plastic surgeon, a physician must have completed an accredited multi-year training program in plastic surgery, and then have passed rigorous written and oral examinations. Further, board-certified plastic surgeons are held to the utmost level of accountability in regards to patient safety and ethics. That is not to imply that board-certified plastic surgeons don’t have complications or that any procedure is risk-free. Certainly, there is a risk of complications with any surgery no matter how big or minor the procedure is. However, because of the training that plastic surgeons undergo, they know how to minimize the risks prior to surgery by carefully selecting their patients by making sure they are appropriate candidates for surgery. Additionally, they are also well-equipped to handle any complications that may arise after surgery.

Too often, patients are lured by the promise of inexpensive procedures being offered by unqualified practitioners. Which brings to light the dangerous yet lucrative business of bargain-priced cosmetic surgery done in offices and facilities that are ill-equipped to handle emergencies with doctors not qualified to perform the procedures. Despite being charged by state medical boards and departments of health, these assembly line facilities continue to lure patients from all over the country with emotionally charged infomercials featuring testimonies of success. Unfortunately, the uneducated and the unaware will choose whatever is the most affordable. Often, consumer choices are driven by financial or societal pressures, and not healthy outcomes. Until there is more oversight and regulation on who can perform these procedures, it is important that the consumer thoroughly researches the credentials of not only the physician performing the procedure, but also to make sure that the facility is fully accredited.

Plastic surgery encompasses both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Plastic surgeons that are board certified are trained, experienced, and qualified to perform both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures on the face and all areas of the body. Please do your homework and find out if your surgeon is a board-certified.

Dr. Hricko is a board certified plastic surgeon and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS). Call and schedule your consultation today.

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