The issue of safety in plastic surgery comes up frequently in the media. News and entertainment shows like nothing better than a high-profile plastic surgery disaster to get viewers glued to their TV sets. Think of how much publicity was given to the case of Donda West (Kanye West’s mother) after her death at the hands of a non-board-certified surgeon. While I feel it is important for my patients to take any surgery seriously, I also believe that the risks of plastic surgery in Phoenix, when performed by a skilled, board-certified plastic surgeon in Phoenix, are very low.
My renewed interest in this topic was piqued by an article I happened to see on msn.com discussing plastic surgery disasters. This was an article which discussed deaths and horrific results from plastic surgery. The stories were all pretty grim, and would understandably make someone very nervous about undergoing a procedure.
As I continued to read about these 20 cases, I quickly noticed a common theme. In only 2 of 20 cases was an actual board-certified plastic surgeon involved! Many of the doctors performing surgery were not properly trained in any form of surgery, and in more than a few cases, the person performing the surgery wasn’t even an actual doctor! In a few cases, the surgeons were performing surgery with their patient under anesthesia, without an anesthesiologist or even a CRNA (nurse anesthetist) present!
Why would people let themselves get into a situation where their very lives would be put at risk? For some of these patients, a rush to get to surgery without properly researching their surgeon was the primary issue. (If you are going to have plastic surgery, make sure that your surgeon is not only “board-certified,” but also confirm that the board they are referring to is the American Board of Plastic Surgery). In other cases, patients were going for the cheapest surgery not realizing that cutting costs usually means cutting corners on skill and safety. (Make sure that your surgery is being performed at a State Accredited Outpatient Surgery Center or hospital, and that you will have a board-certified anesthesiologist performing your surgery).
In retrospect, I felt that this “Plastic Surgery Disasters” article was helpful and eye opening if the truly important points were understood by the readers: Plastic surgery itself is not unsafe, but it certainly can be very dangerous when performed by someone who is not properly qualified and is willing to compromise on your safety. You want your plastic surgeon to have the best skill and training possible. Even if a doctor is really skilled in another specialty, it does not mean that they are properly trained to do plastic surgery procedures. To put this another way, you would not want an “excellent boat captain” to be flying your airplane.
Always do your research when it comes to choosing a plastic surgeon in Phoenix. Make sure the doctor is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, look at the doctor’s before and after photos, check their training and background, and make sure they do not have any outstanding violations with the medical board. Also, make sure that the surgical facility they use is properly accredited and set up for your type of procedure. If you do these things, your risk of a “plastic surgery disaster” will be extremely low.