A new law in Maryland, USA puts safeguards in place to ensure board certification among physicians who may be falsely- or have misleading advertisements. This law requires physicians to publicly announce their services along with their board certification in any of the twenty four (24) board specialties accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the only recognized committee of specialty boards in the US.
With is recent boom and continuing rise to popularity, plastic and cosmetic surgery is a lucrative field which caters to a significant number of clients who wish to undergo surgical procedures for aesthetic purposes. This attractive venture then sparked the rise of physicians claiming themselves as ‘cosmetic surgeons’, however without having been certified by American Board of Plastic Surgery which is the only board specialization committee recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. In the US, there are reports of family medicine doctors or emergency physicians labeling themselves as cosmetic surgeons. Other physicians take short courses in unrecognized plastic surgery programs and then label themselves as specialists. This practice puts innocent clients to untoward dangers of unregulated surgical procedures and may then produce more harm than good.
Board specialization certification entails a number of steps in order to become duly recognized. For a plastic surgeon for example, requirements include graduation from medical school, finishing accredited surgery residency training, completing a recognized plastic surgery sub-specialization program, and undergoing an oral and written exam conducted by the American Board of Plastic Surgery along with submission of completed surgical procedures done. This long and seemingly endless road to becoming a certified plastic surgeon may be a cause of regular physicians taking short courses and claiming themselves as specialists.
Just recently, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons again released as statement encouraging awareness among patients regarding the procedures they wish to undergo, and to put the same importance to getting to know the surgeons who shall be doing the operation. Dr. Malcolm Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, advised patients to follow some guidelines in learning about what they are getting into. He asked patients to consider if they really have to have the surgery in the first place. No surgical procedure comes risk-free, and having an operation out of nothing may prove to be at times more detrimental instead of being rewarding.
Dr. Roth asks patients to be critical of their surgeon – to know the surgeons academic background, clinical performance, board certification from the duly recognized plastic surgery board, and experience with actual cases. His reminder is for patients to not be completely reliant on testimonials from friends or acquaintances. He also pointed out being suspicious of the professional fee or the rates of the procedure if they may be too much of a bargain.
Liposuction and breast augmentation are among the most sought after procedures by patients desirous of aesthetic improvement. These procedures however, are also the subject of many medical malpractice suits due to the poor performance of uncertified ‘cosmetic surgeons.’