I’ll be honest, the fact that this is even a question is bewildering to me. But it also brings to light for me that people may not understand what it means to be a Board certified plastic surgeon. Simply put, having this designation means that we have complete a full residency (special training) for at least 5 years following medical school and passed rigorous written and oral exams in order to become a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Why anyone would want less from someone performing surgery on them is beyond me.
Perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves is the title “cosmetic surgeon” or “certified cosmetic surgeon.” This is not a legitimate title. There is no Board of cosmetic surgery. This is a group of doctors (yes, they are doctors) who do not complete a residency in plastic surgery. They simply give themselves this title because the general public does not understand that they are NOT plastic surgeons.
Another title to watch out for is Facial Plastic Surgeon. A facial plastic surgeon is an Ear, Nose and Throat (hence ENT) surgeon who calls himself a facial plastic surgeon. In fairness, many are in fact trained to perform some facial plastic surgery procedures, such as facelifts, nose jobs and eyelid lifts. However, it drives me nuts when they perform procedures below the neck, where they have no training. They have no business doing liposuction below the neck (if even there since they really should not be performing liposuction).
What are dermatologists? They are board certified in internal medicine (not surgery) and have a good understanding of the skin from a medical perspective. They, along with plastic surgeons, were the first to perform Botox and fillers. However, they are not trained in surgery, beyond just a small biopsy. Most of them do stay away from surgery. However, there are some who perform blepharoplasties (eyelid lifts), liposuction and even labiaplasties. Perhaps it will not be too long before we can take our cars in for a tune-up and get liposuction or a breast augmentation while we wait?
In this crazy world of ours, we now have family doctors performing liposuction and Smartlipo. Even though these require only small incisions, you need to know what you are doing – and many performing these procedures have no formal training in this area. I often think about the case of a hairdresser performing butt injections… and yes, the client died. And there have been several similar cases reported in the U.S.! L
We also have dentists giving Botox injections – and there is even a dentist in Richmond, Virginia performing facelifts. Heck, why not have your plumber do your colonoscopy – all plumbing is all the same, right?!
I am also not a huge fan of the medispas which have an almost non-existent doctor and often, just have someone on their staff doing the Botox injections and fillers.
My point is this: Can other specialists and non-specialists do what plastic surgeons do? The answer is yes. However, would you insist on a fully-trained pilot, who has passed all their tests, flying your plane? Or would you be satisfied with someone who has watched a few YouTube videos and has had a chance to fly their uncle’s plane on occasion? A Board-certified plastic surgeon is typically not more expensive, either. But even if they were, would it not be worth your health?