A billboard in Utah had a picture of a lady crying and claiming:
“I didn’t know my “cosmetic surgeon” wasn’t a plastic surgeon.”
This declaration prompted a nasty lawsuit filed by the state’s cosmetic surgeons. The lawsuit was eventually found in favor of the board certified plastic surgeons of Utah. The ruling stated that only board certified plastic surgeons might claim the status of “board certified plastic surgeon.”
Over the years many new patients have come into my office for secondary surgery and are shocked when I tell them a board certified plastic surgeon did not do their previous surgery. This includes breast augmentations done by general surgeons, tummy tucks by gynecologists, and face procedures done by otolaryngologists or oral surgeons and even dentists.
A Plastic Surgeon performs plastic surgery but plastic surgery is not only performed by Plastic Surgeons. Plastic surgery is a surgical technique most frequently performed by a trained plastic surgeon but because payments tend to be out of pocket collections, many other medical specialists have claimed to be plastic surgeons. Many are not even surgeons. A study out of NYU revealed that an internet search of “plastic surgeons” revealed 7500 web sites. Only 25% were board certified Plastic Surgeons and over 66% of board certified Plastic Surgeons did not come up at all in their search. I am a board certified Plastic Surgeon and did not come up on their internet search.
In December 2018 after years of hearing evidence, the Medical Board of California took 30 seconds to deny by a unanimous vote the America Board of Cosmetic Surgeons (ABCS) request to advertise as “board certified.” The state Medical Board deemed the ABCS training far less rigorous than the 5 years required to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and their approval could lead to patient confusion of the label “board certification.”
A word of advice: ask your surgeon if they are board certified. If they respond “yes”, ask specifically in what they are board certified. Don’t be confused by explanations and hand waving. Either they are board certified in Plastic Surgery or they do not have the full training required to perform all types of plastic surgery.