Miami Beach, Fl (PRWEB) September 26, 2012
Choosing a physician of any field is a cumbersome task. Choosing a physician to perform aesthetic interventions is even more daunting. Just about anyone with an MD can misrepresent themselves as a board certified cosmetic surgeon and "dabble in cosmetic procedures" (http://www.heraldextra.com/business/health-med-fit/medical/doctors-dabble-in-cosmetic-procedures/article_0043cbf5-0d74-5828-b0be-4b5a4f51722f.html).
New on the scene, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, an organization with no links to the American Board of Medical Specialties, allows anyone from dermatologists, obstetricians, general surgeons to emergency room doctors to convincingly label themselves as board certified cosmetic surgeons (http://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/Pathway-to-Certification/experience-route.html).
In general, patients look for a doctor that they can assume has some basic level of training and is thought by their peers to be appropriately trained and competent. In the past checking on board certification, which is public information, was a great start. What has changed in current times is that doctors no longer practice within the scope of their training and competencies. A doctor board certified in radiology should be able to deal with reading diagnostic imaging, but should they be able to present themselves as a cosmetic surgeon? The question hardly matters because it is happening. A google search "liposuction Miami" yields Adwords campaigns that advertise an internal medicine doctor as a surgeon, "Prices Starting $1,800 Free Consult Smart Lipo Surgeon Dr. Pascual" (http://pascualmd.com/eng/#, http://www.heraldextra.com/business/health-med-fit/medical/doctors-dabble-in-cosmetic-procedures/article_0043cbf5-0d74-5828-b0be-4b5a4f51722f.html).
How is this happening? In the state of Florida, "anyone with a medical license can practice in any medical field" Unfortunately, it seems a physician's board certification no longer indicates proficiency in the field they practice. Dr. Rian A. Maercks, a Miami Beach plastic surgeon explains" It is really confusing for patients, and I really don't know what the answer is. There are probably a dozen new boards designed to make practitioners outside the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery appear to be competent plastic surgeons." There are more and more weekend courses that offer any MD certification on face, breast and body surgery. A doctor can become a "quickLiftTM" provider by learning how to do a facelift from a emergency room(ER) physician that was educated and board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. This ER doctor now trains MDs in the "mini facelift" he created and heavily markets(http://www.theskincentermd.com/dominic-brandy-md, http://www.quickliftmd.com/about.cfm). The president of this board also has no formal training in plastic and reconstructive surgery as defined by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The president has training in dentistry, oral surgery and "cosmetic surgery training" by another oral surgeon that of course holds board certification of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery(http://www.littlerockcosmeticsurgery.com/Arkansas-Cosmetic-Surgeons.html, http://www.willsurgicalarts.com/meet-dr-will.html, http://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/)
Dr. Maercks feels that these boards are designed to daze and confuse the public and are rather undoctorly. "Its bad enough that real boards exist that are confusing too the public, people don't deserve this kind of manipulation." Boards such as the Otolarygology American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are often confused with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery (ABFPS) is an ABMS recognized certification for Otolaryngologists. The requirements include certification in Otolaryngology, proof of 100 operations an 8 hour exam and membership fees(http://www.abfprs.org/applying/index.cfm). "It really doesn't make sense to me that an airway surgeon should be offered such a title, but this is not the biggest evil. Being an ENT doesn't mean you can't do some cosmetic procedures well and being a board certified plastic surgeon doesn't guarantee that you won't be a hack. I have seen good and bad from practitioners of all backgrounds" Dr. Maercks explains. "What bothers me is how aggressively the words are manipulated to convince the public to ignore their training in otolaryngology and focus on two words that are in my opinion , out of context. Facial plastic surgeons tend to try to convince the public that they are plastic surgeons or that a facial plastic surgeon is a plastic surgeon that specializes in the face. Both are very untrue and whether they are technically good or bad, this is dishonest. If they feel that certification in facial plastic surgery is worthy, I would suggest they stand by it and proudly advertise what they are." CBS even presents the idea that when getting a facelift you should seek out a facial plastic surgeon, not a plastic surgeon as they interview an otolarygnologist claiming to be the first to perform a three dimensional facelift(http://www.drsteiger.com/). When asked for comments, Dr. Maercks added "well, I have never done a two dimensional facelift and I don't know that my brain can conceive what a four dimensional facelift would be." "The suggestion that facial plastic surgeons are plastic surgeons with expertise in the face couldn't be farther from the truth. It was not until 1986 that otolaryngologists fought a legal battle for acceptance by the ABMS. There is no specific training necessary to become a facial plastic surgeon, only proof that you have been doing plastic surgical procedures in your otolaryngology practice ( http://www.justbreastimplants.com/research/abcs_abps.htm).
"It's not that someone trained in airway surgery can't be procedurally good at plastic surgery, its just unlikely and the bigger problem is that they don't learn the plastic surgery way of thinking like a a doctor who has completed the years of residency and fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Admittedly it is very easy to point a finger at otolaryngologists and their facial plastic surgery certification., but I don't think board certification really holds weight anymore, it has been undermined. I cannot tell you that the board certified specialists in my field of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are a group that I am proud of as a whole. We have members that are wonderful and disastrous, but at least they have trained for a sufficient length and depth to earn the chance to call themselves plastic surgeons and hopefully make the specialty proud" Dr. Maercks spends a significant amount of time working on patent education to help patients attain clarity in these confusingly turbid waters. It seems that the cosmetic surgery patient will need to carefully consider their treatment decisions and perform due diligence into exactly what kind of training, skill, judgement and track record their selected practitioner possess.