In Defense of Safe Plastic Surgery

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With several disturbing reports in the media, it’s not hard to see why plastic surgery could be getting a bad name. Butchered results, toxic fillers and infections are just some of the stories that circulate regularly. But the claim that cosmetic surgery is unsafe has many plastic surgeons pleading their case. Board-certified plastic surgeons wish to set the record straight and put the claim that plastic surgery is unsafe to rest once and for all.

“I think that the perception that plastic surgery is unsafe is partially due to the media reports," says New York plastic surgeon Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD. "This is because it is so rare for a person undergoing plastic surgery to have a complication that when it does happen, it often makes the news. The truth is that since patients having plastic surgery are having a purely elective procedure, reputable plastic surgeons will usually insist that the patient have a full medical clearance to insure the patient is medically cleared for surgery. Additionally, many patients are worried about anesthesia and possible complications, but anesthesia is very safe. This is even true for patients who have significant medical problems.

However, since plastic surgery is a fee for the service medical field, there are physicians, unfortunately, who are trying to cash in. This is why patients need to protect themselves by seeking a plastic surgeon who is board certified. Patients must check their surgeon’s credentials and not just assume they are qualified. They can do this by checking with their state’s department of health to see if any complaints have been filed and researching common red flags that patients should be aware of.”

"A board certified plastic surgeon must complete at least five years of surgical resident training, including a minimum of two years of specialized plastic surgery training. The voluntary process of board certification entails rigorous testing above and beyond that received in medical school. Continuing education requirements ensure that a board certified plastic surgeon is up to date in the latest advancements in cosmetic medicine," adds Hagerstown, Maryland, plastic surgeon Henry F. Garazo, MD.

We couldn’t agree more. If you're considering a cosmetic procedure, do your research before selecting a doctor. Click here to find a board-certified surgeon in your area.