Patient Safety: Check your surgeon, do your research

AngelaIn October, a Florida woman visited a spa to get vitamin injections. She left with a disfigured face that eventually took five surgeries to correct.

In Mississippi, another tragedy occurred when a woman underwent a buttock injection thought to help remove excess weight. A blood clot emerged, and she died. The medical examiner that performed the autopsy said that in order to save her life, the victim’s buttocks would have to be removed down to the bone. “Brain surgery would have been less invasive,” according to the affidavit.

In fact, reports from Las Vegas to Philadelphia have surfaced that document similar tragic circumstances.

What do all these cases have in common? Someone who was not a board-certified plastic surgeon or other licensed medical professional performed each procedure. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, nearly 4 million people underwent such non-surgical procedures in 2010. Many experienced traumatic side effects or even death in the worse cases. In another study done last year, 47 percent of patients said they would have a more invasive procedure outside of a plastic surgeon’s office if their non-surgical procedure went well.

Allowing an amateur to perform a medical procedure is simply not worth the risk, especially when there are myriad trained professionals available to help you. The bottom line: Do your homework. Be diligent. Check the American Society of Plastic Surgery website at www.plasticsurgery.org to see if your doctor is board certified.

“We desperately need more consumer education on this topic,” said Felmont F. Eaves, III, president of the Aesthetic Society. “A good rule of thumb is, ‘Don’t inject anything into your body without the advice of a doctor.’ Patients may be lured in by inexpensive prices and unrealistic claims. Patients think they are getting a bargain, but they are actually putting their health and lives at risk and they may not even know it. Only licensed practitioners should perform cosmetic procedures.”

A board certified plastic surgeon offers safe, secure, and successful procedures. They typically offer a wealth of experience and provide pre-operative counseling as well as post-operative care. In other words, they are with you from start to finish. In fact, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery offers a find-a-surgeon tool on their Website so you can find a qualified surgeon in your area. Furthermore, you should never be hesitant to ask someone about his or her qualification or experience. If they can’t answer, they aren’t right for you. The Parker Center recently created a consultation checklist for patients to take to their doctor visits in order to enable them to make the best decision when choosing a plastic surgeon.

Remember that your health is not worth a cheap, quick treatment that may or may not work. You owe it to yourself to do your research. In order to ensure you are receiving top quality care, use our consultation checklist when you meet with a plastic surgeon. To schedule a consultation at the Parker Center, give a call at (201) 967-1212.

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