Board Certified-but WHICH BOARD?

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I truly believe that there is an art to aesthetics.  I believe that there is a “balance” that needs to be taken into account, and that the surgeon or aesthetic practitioner must be able to recognize this and consult with the patient regarding this.  I have been lucky enough to work with board certified, compassionate surgeons who run their Clinics with integrity.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to find a reputable doctor.  I have seen some challenging corrective procedures at my work place.

There is also something that some physicians do that I don’t find ethical, they become “accredited” or “board certified” in “cosmetic surgery”, “aesthetic surgery”, “laser surgery”, etc.  Why do I feel this is unethical?  It’s because these surgeons do not go through the same training as “Board Certified Plastic Surgeons”. Board Certified Plastic Surgeons need to meet very high standards to become board certified.  Here’s an example:

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon; (American Society of Plastic Surgeons)

  • 4 years of Medical School
  • 3-6 years of Residency (General Surgery, ENT specialty, etc)
  • 2-3 years of Plastic Surgery
  • THEN be in Practice for at least 2 years for Certification
  • (At least 11 years of training here)\

Board Certified Cosmetic/Aesthetic/Liposuction, etc

  • 4 years of medical School (this can be an internist, Family Practice, etc)
  • 3-5 years of Residency (Cardiology, Obstetrics, etc)
  • As little as a weekend/week course to be “Board Certified in Cosmetic Surgery
  • (About 7 years of training here-and these MD’s can be specialists that are not qualified for the Aesthetic procedures that they perform!)

I’m not sure about you, but I wouldn’t want my Cardiologist doing my Breast Aug or Facelift.  <— That may sound sarcastic, but yes, it’s legal.

You are probably now wondering why I even bother with this.  This is important to me because a family member has been disfigured because of this type of ruse.

The Story:

Back in 2005, I had my first breast implant surgery.  I went to a reputable, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon here in the Bay Area.  At this time, I didn’t know that my sister in Southern California was doing the same thing.  (At the time, both of us were busy with toddlers running around and lost touch for a few months.) By the time we reconnected, she was already getting wheeled out of the recovery room, as my mom was the one that I spoke to over the phone.  She was a little worried, and fairly confused about how to care for my sister.  There was no communication, no conversation with the surgeon, and none from the staff…

My sister “thought” that she did all of her due diligence in research.  She got a referral from a friend to a group of doctors that operated out of Los Angeles and felt that she checked their credentials.  She looked them up on their personal website, saw that they were all “Board Certified” and even asked these questions in person at the consultation with the doctor.  She didn’t start asking questions until she found out that her experience was extremely different from mine.

First of all, she didn’t receive ANY POST OP instructions after surgery.  No restrictions, nothing to “look for” in case of infection or a seroma/hematoma.  She didn’t get anything except a reminder card to come back 1 week later for her post-op/suture removal.

She was also extremely nauseated the day of surgery.  This is a common reaction from anesthesia but the doctor  didn’t give her anything to ease the discomfort.  I actually had to call him personally from the Bay Area to PUSH for something as simple as Phenergan suppositories.  Even then, he was quite irritated with me, and defensive.  Because of my persistence, he finally prescribed her 30 DAYS WORTH of nausea medication!  Was he expecting her to be nauseated for the month?  The pharmacist at the pharmacy even looked puzzled.  The pharmacist had enough sense to give her a partial prescription for 6 suppositories-even she was shocked on the quantity this doctor prescribed!  Ridiculous…

The ”surgeon” obviously didn’t care about his patients, my poor sister included.  She had drains, was nauseated, in pain, and both her and my mother had no idea how to care for the wound.  In the end, her peri-areoler incisions got infected and were goo-ey.  She now has Capsular Contracture in both breasts (likely due to the infection), an oval shaped areola, and a 2.5 inch gap between her breasts (likely because the doctor didn’t create the “pocket” correctly).  She now knows the difference between a “Board Certified Plastic Surgeon” and a “Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon”.  Luckily, this can be corrected but she isn’t ready to have a procedure again after this traumatic experience.

Although this was a horrid experience for my sister, I am thankful that she didn’t have more serious complications such as sepsis or lidocaine poisoning.  I am lucky that she is still healthy because there are people out there that actually lost their lives from a procedure.   I am just hoping that consumers can be better informed instead of tricked the way my sister was…

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