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October 09, 2009

Family Doctors Performing Plastic Surgery?!

Sickening story from Las Vegas:

A woman won free breast augmentations from the doctor at the "Skin Body Institute," a local medi-spa.  She underwent surgery under local anesthesia but then suffered horrible complications. Some details from ABC 13...

  • She was awake for the whole procedure, and was crying the entire time. The doctor reprimanded her for complaining during the painful procedure.
  • (I never do breast augmentations under local anesthesia.  Patients should be put to sleep--by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist--so that they are comfortable.)
  • Just weeks later, the implant became infected and was exposed through the skin.
  • She subsequently underwent 10 hours of surgery under local anesthetic to try to fix the problem.
  • Two weeks later she presented to the ER with ruptured and exposed implants.
  • The doctor had made 10-centimeter incisions.
  • (By the way, for routine breast augmentations, my incisions are typically 3-4 cm long for saline implants and 4-5 cm long for silicone).
  • The doctor's website had stated he was board-certified.
  • He was NOT certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, but by the Family Practice board.
  • Still, his website listed him as an associate member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Society of Liposuction Surgery, and the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.
  • His medical license has been suspended.

This is another terrible incident where the patient did not do her homework and was the victim of a phony plastic surgeon.  Most patients do not understand that not all "Board Certifications" are legitimate. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognizes 24 "real" Boards. The only member Board that qualifies physicians to practice plastic surgery is the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

This might seem obvious, but notice how confusing the situation can get. The offending family doctor also claimed certification by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS), etc., etc. The average person cannot know that the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and that in most states, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery has no standing.  Simply stated, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is NOT a real board.

We doctors need to lead the charge on these issues.  However, these infractions are not on President Obama's radar screen.  Mr. President, in your forthcoming legislation, why not add commonsensical language preventing doctors from practicing outside of their formal training?  Otherwise, they really are just practicing.

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