As more and more cosmetic procedures become readily available and mainstream, easy access to treatments and procedures come with serious concerns. As captured on the popular TV show “Botched,” things can go wrong, causing deformities and even life-threatening consequences. Anyone can call himself a cosmetic surgeon; however, to be considered a plastic surgeon one must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Stanley Poulos, a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon in the San Francisco area, offers the following red flags not to ignore when considering a cosmetic procedure.
DISCOUNT COUPONS — Discount coupons make sense if you’re looking for a haircut or a massage, not for plastic surgery. “Don’t bargain shop when it comes to something serious like surgery,” Dr. Poulos warns. “You want to make sure you research the average prices and if something seems too steep of a discount, beware!”
THE SURGEON IS NOT BOARD-CERTIFIED — Look for credentials: someone who is Board-Certified in plastic surgery is accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If they are, they usually have this credential prominently visible in their office and on their website. This means the surgeon has had at least six years of surgical training with two or three years devoted specifically to plastic surgery, has passed rigorous oral and written examinations and has demonstrated safe and ethical surgical practice.
LOFTY PROMISES — “Any surgeon that promises to make you look like a celebrity or says he can make you look 30 years younger, is over-promising,” emphasizes Dr. Poulous. “A skilled surgeon knows the potential and limitations of surgery and will be clear about this from the start. A good surgeon will want you to look like an improved version of you, not someone else.”
THE OPERATING FACILITY IS NOT ACCREDITED — Often plastic surgery is performed in an ambulatory care center or the surgeon’s office-based surgical facility. “Either way, you want to make sure the facility is properly accredited, ” stresses Dr. Poulos. Accreditation ensures that strict standards are met for proper equipment, safety, surgeon credentials, and staffing.
THEY TRY TO “UP SELL” — An initial consultation with a plastic surgeon should be a collaborative effort in which doctor and patient come to an agreement about the best course of treatment. It is reasonable for the surgeon to suggest alternative approaches, but it should become worrisome if he uses high-pressure tactics. “Your surgeon may suggest consideration of more or different procedures than your initial request, but should have sound reasons why this is his/her advice,” says Dr. Poulos. Read more of this story »