The United States is not alone in trying to come up with a way to ensure quality and standards among providers of cosmetic surgery and related procedures. The Independent (UK) wrote about this problem in Ireland and the U.K. last fall (see here) saying,
"Once you have a basic medical degree you need no specialist qualification in order to perform plastic surgery. A GP could do a breast augmentation in the morning, even though he had never seen it done or performed one -- and that is perfectly legal. The International Association of Plastic Surgeons (IAPS) members are trained in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. Other people carry out procedures despite having no formal qualifications." One major concern of the IAPS is that of surgeons being flown in from abroad by private clinics and simply flying home after performing a procedure. "You would expect any other surgeon to be resident in the country in which he is practising," says Mr David O'Donovan, Secretary of the IAPS.
"Yet private clinics are shipping in surgeons who are not around when the patient needs aftercare, or complications arise. Some say their doctors are specialists, but they don't say what they're specialists in. For instance, a doctor performing breast surgery could, in fact, be a bowel specialist."
Similar stories can can found around the world from the United States, Australia, and other western countries. It certainly seems likely to get worse here as reimbursements for physicians are poised to take a big hit with whatever happens with American health care reform. There will be even more pressure for many doctors to encroach outside of their areas of expertise and become self-styled "Cosmetic Surgeons" or "Aesthetic Medicine" specialists.
Catering to this trend is the ever proliferating alphabet of organizations seeking to give some fig leaf of authenticity for doctor's credentials who have little or no formal training in some of the services they're now offering. (WTF is laser "vaginal rejuvenation" by the way?). One of the "cosmetic surgery boards" here in the United States has even had the nerve to suggest that their members are more qualified then Plastic Surgeons to perform cosmetic procedures and has railed against hospital medical staffs who have (quite rightly) not granted their hodge podge of members surgical privileges outside the scope of their accredited training.
For a Gynecologist's take on some of his colleagues trying to peddle themselves off as reinvented cosmetic surgeons, read this great post at "David's waste of bandwidth".
"Cosmetic surgery can kill people. It can maim and disfigure people. Just as I think surgeons should respect the procedures we do as gynecologists, we should respect the things they do, and only do them when we really have the training and judgment to proceed. No weekend course on ”cosmetic gynecology“ (whatever the f that is) is going to provide skills and judgment comparable to someone who is boarded in cosmetic surgery and plastic/reconstructive surgery. As it is, the folks who are boarded in cosmetic surgery are rightfully pissed at those cosmetic surgeons who are doing this without board certification or a decent background in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Why are we adding to this nonsense?
As an example in terms of judgment, you're mentioning the possibility of doing ”gspot injections“ (sic). This is inappropriate and has no place in modern practice, cosmetic surgery, gynecology or otherwise.
To my point exactly. We have no business doing this crap. I sympathize with those who do, and understand their motivation in terms of a cash business. But we're surgeons and professionals, NOT car dealers trying to make a fast buck. Or are we?"
It's not so far fetched to imagine a proverbial "Tom's Rhinoplasty Clinic" (an olde school South Park season 1 reference) popping up every block stamped with the seal of approval by ____________. (fill in the blank with bogus board certification du jour)