Every day there seems to be some new horror story in the news of plastic surgery gone awry because the patient went to someone who either didn’t know what they were doing, or more disturbingly, wasn’t even a trained medical professional. In fact, a woman in Dallas died last year after receiving a botched Brazilian Butt Lift from the technician who did her eyelash extensions. Why do patients think it’s a smart idea to get plastic surgery from non-professionals? Is it the price? Is it the access? Our panel of experts discuss this potentially frightening situation.
Easy Is Hardly Ever Best
Dr. Jason Pozner of Palm Beach Gardens, FL doesn’t understand why anyone would think that it’s a smart idea to get something from Home Depot and inject it into their butt through an unsterile needle. Dr. Sean Doherty of Boston, MA agrees. “I think that patients don’t know what’s going on.” They want things that are easy, quick and non-confrontational. They are already at the salon getting their eyelashes done so why not get some filler while they are there? Or some Botox while they are having a tooth filled from the dentist?Patients don’t seem to realize how dangerous these procedures can be when performed by non-professionals or even a medical doctor who does not have the specific training to deliver safe, exemplary results.
Part of the problem is sites such as Groupon.“I think it’s making what we do into a commodity,” explains Doherty. Plastic surgeons are trained to take great care of their patients first and foremost, providing them with safe procedures and excellent outcomes. It’s a glaring issue that after years and years of training, a non-plastic surgeon could take a weekend course on how to inject Botox. Non-surgical procedures such as fillers and Botox can generate a lot of money and there is a misconception that anyone can do these treatments. Would you go to your plastic surgeon to get a tooth filled? Training and expertise are vital in any surgical or non-surgical procedure so just because someone has an MD after his or her name does not mean that they’ve trained in specific procedures.
FDA Approval = Safety
For Dr. Pozner, he thinks another part of the problem is, “the patients are waylaid into believing that they are getting something that we can’t get.” Patients think that because a procedure is legal in another country and simply not available yet here in the states, that it is safe to have it done. They are often misled by these non-professionals into believing that they are receiving something advanced or different or better. “There’s a reason for the FDA.”
When a procedure, technique or product passes FDA approval then we know that it’s safe. The internet and social media have certainly helped to create an atmosphere in which patients can be misled. “I was never trained how to utilize social media in order to educate patients or take care of patients, but that’s what we have to do now,” says Doherty. Nurses and other doctors who are not plastic surgeons but who have a strong social media presence often have a, “leg up on us”. It can be very dangerous for the patient.
Bottom line, if you are looking to have plastic or cosmetic surgery – even if it’s a seemingly “simple” procedure like a Botox injection – go to a plastic surgeon, specifically one who is board certified, with the immense training and expertise to perform the procedure safely and effectively. If something sounds too good to be true, trust that it is.