Unless you don’t watch TV or listen to the radio, you’ve surely seen or heard a few by now: commercials for cosmetic procedures with catchy names and promises of instant makeovers and quick recoveries. These brand-name treatments often sound too good to be true-and in many cases, they may be exactly that.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has expressed concern over the quick-fix approach of widely advertised procedures like the Lifestyle Lift, SmartLipo and Thread-Tox. With prominent, persuasive advertising and easy-to-remember names, potential patients may get the wrong impression about these treatments.
“These named procedures are used by the marketing entity to popularize the technique so that patients ask for it whether it fits their situation or not,” says Dr. Al Aly, a member of the ASAPS Body Contouring Committee. “This is a problem that can be very dangerous.” Experts stress that one technique does not fit all, due to subtle or major differences in each patient’s facial or body structure.
Understanding of these anatomical differences is a key reason why it’s not just the procedures themselves and the informal impression made on patients that worry board-certified surgeons-it’s who’s performing them that sparks consternation. It’s easy for a patient to forget that these trendy treatments are medical procedures that should be performed by a qualified practitioner, especially when it comes to a medspa setting, where non-doctors are sometimes allowed to operate complex medical devices and administer medical substances.
“The issue of untrained or inadequately trained practitioners, some of whom are not medical doctors, performing cosmetic plastic surgery is an extremely serious patient safety concern,” says ASAPS president Renato Saltz, MD. “For ultimate patient safety, it is essential that the media and the general public be better educated about what constitutes appropriate training to perform operations such as facelifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, abdominoplasty, breast surgery and cosmetic eyelid surgery.”
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