The Plastic Surgery Turf Battle: Why Board Certifications Matter

In a recent article published by the New York Times entitled, “Ear Doctors Performing Face-Lifts? It Happens,” the author discusses one the most recent developments in plastic surgery: the importance of board certifications. The American Society of Plastic Surgery recently released a warning to all cosmetic and reconstructive surgery patients to thoroughly investigate potential plastic surgeons, and our office blogged about the importance of finding a doctor certified and experienced in cosmetic procedures.

In the Times article, a patient named Joan was looking to update her appearance, so she opted for a tummy tuck and facelift. She found out after her procedures that her surgeon was certified in otolaryngology only and not plastic surgery of the body. Her results were less than favorable including visible scars on her face and rippling of the stomach. Joan had to spend even more money to have revisionary surgery to restore her appearance.

The author of the article writes that the current state of the economy has led to fewer insurance reimbursements for typical medical doctors, and these M.D.s are now turning to cosmetic surgery—where patients pay out of pocket for medical expenses. Certified plastic surgeons believe this trend is resulting in more patients needing the type of revisionary surgery Joan required to mitigate the damage caused by uncertified plastic surgeons.

Non-plastic surgeons are claiming that these stories of botched surgeries are few and far between and that certified plastic surgeons are attempting to box them out of the field for financial reasons. To work in a certain specialty, a doctor must undergo a three-year residency in their chosen concentration area. According to the article, the United States has no law requiring surgeons to practice within the areas in which they’ve specialized, and only three states require doctors to advertise their specific board certifications. In all other states, they can just say they’re “board certified.”

The author also states, “No one knows how many doctors are practicing outside their specialty; they don’t have to report to any oversight authority that they are doing so. And doctors performing cosmetic procedures are not required to report complications.”

Because Dr. Fernando Burstein is board certified in both plastic surgery and otolaryngology, he understands the importance of specific board certifications and the surgical skills and training plastic surgery requires. He recommends that patients thoroughly research their potential plastic surgeons to ensure he or she is experienced, board certified to perform plastic surgery, and has a history of satisfied plastic surgery patients. Check out your prospective surgeon’s before and after gallery to help determine if they produce the type of results you’re looking to achieve. As mentioned in the article, if you’re ever suspicious or feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion.

Dr. Burstein and his medical staff work to ensure his patients receive the best in compassion and care in order to achieve their cosmetic goals. Check out our website or contact our office for more information on Dr. Burstein and his anti-aging philosophy.