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USA TODAY: “Lack of Training can be Deadly in Cosmetic Surgery”

This past week a series of articles in USA Today outlined some of the perils of chasing cheap and fast cosmetic surgery. The trend for “non-plastic surgeons” to add cosmetic procedures to their practice is rampant and the lack of training can be dangerous for the incautious patient. USA Today points out instances in which it was fatal. I have certainly personally seen many cases in which it was (thankfully) only disfiguring!

The recent Las Vegas death of a woman who had buttocks enlargement with an un-named and likely illegal injectable was shocking and hit the news everywhere. She was treated by an unlicensed “doctor” and when things went wrong, she was abandoned to die. Her case underlines the importance of good basic medical training and safety standards, protocols and emergency equipment being available “just in case”.

Aesthetic judgment and experience (gained through full residency plastic surgery training, continued annual continuing education as well as years of surgical experience doing all kinds of cosmetic surgery), while less critical to surviving the surgery (though experience can = better safety) is really essential to getting reliable results.

I recently saw a patient for consultation (not the first and unfortunately not the last) who trusted her doctor who was not a plastic surgeon to do a “simple” and “easy” cosmetic procedure in the office (not a surgery center or operating room) and ended up with much more recovery than “advertised” and when her swelling and bruising resolved a lot more liposuction in some areas than others resulting in the appearing as though large chunks of her thigh had been scooped out, and unsightly scars placed in very visible places.

She is now looking at a lot more expense to repair the damage and she knows she will never be the same! It looked cheap and easy, but the convenience did not make up for the results (lack of results). There is a saying that I always think of when doing surgery: “always time to do it over, never time to do it right!” It takes a lot more skill, time and cost to try to repair a bad result than the investment in a good and experienced surgeon doing it the first time.

Impulsiveness when it comes to your body and your safety and your beauty, while tempting, is never a good thing. Most patients take more time and do more research in choosing a hairdresser than their plastic surgeon. Cosmetic surgery results are a lot more permanent. One of my friends always says: “Don’t be “cheap” if you are going to wear it forever”! Do your research, check training and experience. A weekend course for someone who does not know the context and basics of cosmetic and plastic surgery is just simply not enough.

Thanks for stopping by!
Dr. H

For more information on this blog topic or for scheduling, contact us at the Herte Center for Cosmetic Surgery or call 702. 732. 9600.

Dr. Mary C. Herte is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is Medical Director of the Herte Center for Cosmetic Surgery.