Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Who's a Plastic Surgeon? (and who is not)

Many patients may not know it by looking thru the yellow pages or on the internet, but the doctor you're looking at for a "Plastic surgeon" may not even be trained in Surgery at all. In fact they may well not even be a medical doctor. Financial pressures from falling reimbursement for insurance cases has led a whole new group of providers to try and reinvent themselves as providers for cosmetic surgeries.

One of the educational activities of the Amer. Society of Plastic surgery (ASPS) has been to educate the public on exactly the distinction between how we (plastic surgeons) and they are trained. This includes the emphasis on whether or not your surgeon is "board certified" or "board eligible" in Plastic Surgery. To many people's eyes, this campaigns has been a failure to this point.

This would seem to be a pretty low bar, no? As it stands, there is very deliberate confusion put out by an alphabet soup of cosmetic surgery "boards" all of which are trying to tag along to the pop-culture cache of traditional Plastic Surgery procedures(and their potential associated financial rewards). Does it make sense that may ENT's, OBGYN's, General surgeons, dermatologist, ER physicians, and even dentists have unilaterally decided they're qualified to do cosmetic procedures far outside their areas of proctored training?

Well that horse is long out of the barn. Look in your yellow pages under Plastic Surgeons notice a number of ads for "Facial Plastic Surgeon" (who are ENT's) or "Cosmetic Surgeons" (who can be anybody) without making any distinction that these providers AREN'T Plastic Surgeons. The Yellow Pages don't care who you are as long as your check clears.


007 said...

So Dr. Oliver can you give a sense of the outlook for PRS with all the non-board certified plastic surgeons encroaching on the field, and the minimal barriers to entry into this field, will there be a market for the well trained, boarded plastic surgeon in 10 years? Essentially with an eye on the future and the rapid advances in medicine, can you give some insight into the future of this field?


Dr. Rob Oliver said...

There's a lot of business to go around, but it's like aesthetic medicine is the wild,wild west right now. If you can do good work you can do well, but what's happened is that it's getting very confusing for the consumer to sort out fact from hype as mass marketing, the internet, the rise of injectables (BOTOX, the various fillers), non-ablative technologies) and gimmicky things like the thread-lift have allowed a flood of (arguably) less trained people doing these services.