Branded Surgery Is Not Always the "Quick Fix" it is Advertised To Be

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American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) Discusses Current Brand Name Surgical Procedures

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In the wrong clinical setting, the results may not come close to the promises made in the advertising

Have you seen the commercial for in-office procedures that will make your face wrinkle-free or sculpt your stomach, with no downtime and no scars? Lifestyle Lift, Lunchtime Lift, Thread-Tox, and Smart-Lipo, are just a few of the brand-name surgical procedures being marketed to the public as a cosmetic quick fix with a clever name.

Brand name surgical procedures generally fit under two categories; first, those that are legitimately assigned the name of the person that has popularized the technique, for example Saldanha's lipoabdominoplasty or Furnas' conchal setback technique, (either through the efforts of that same person or others assigning his or her name to it) and second, those that are simply created by someone to market the procedure to the public. The first situation is usually a very legitimate situation and is often in the scientific literature, but not in the public domain. However, the second situation has become very popular for cosmetic surgery procedures. But are highly marketed procedures really the right choice when deciding on aesthetic surgery?

"In the wrong clinical setting, the results may not come close to the promises made in the advertising," says J. Peter Rubin, MD, a plastic surgeon in Pittsburgh, PA. "What is really indispensible for the best results, however, is not a specific procedure but the judgment of a board certified plastic surgeon who can match the right patient with the best procedure for them."

"These named procedures are used by the marketing entity to popularize the technique so that patients ask for it whether it fits their situation or not. This is a problem that can be very dangerous," said Dr. Al Aly, a plastic surgeon from Iowa, and a member of the Aesthetic Society's Body Contouring Committee. "A procedure is only as good as the hands that perform it."

"Patient safety and efficacy need to be the top priorities, not commerce or marketing," says Robert Singer, MD a plastic surgeon from La Jolla, CA and a past-president of ASAPS. ''If you decide a procedure is right for you, make sure you have done your homework, that the procedure has been fully explained, you know exactly who will be performing your procedure and that they are qualified to perform the exact procedure you are undergoing, and that you have thoroughly read and signed informed consent documents.''

Facial surgery and body sculpting procedures are often marketed to the public with brand names. "One does not have to be a plastic surgeon to know intuitively that one facelift technique will not be appropriate for all individuals undergoing a facelift," says Sherrell Aston, MD, past-president of the ASAPS and member of the Society's Facial Surgery Committee. "The human anatomy and the aging process vary significantly from person to person. The so-called minimally invasive surgical procedures have gained popularity in all surgical specialties. For many procedures the work that is performed through the small incisions is rather extensive, and requires significant expertise on the part of the surgeon. A short incision facelift can give an excellent result, when properly performed for the appropriate patient."

"The issue of untrained or inadequately trained practitioners, some of whom are not medical doctors, performing cosmetic plastic surgery is an extremely serious patient safety concern," says Salt Lake City, UT plastic surgeon and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Renato Saltz, MD. "For ultimate patient safety it is essential that the media and the general public be better educated about what constitutes appropriate training to perform operations such as facelifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, abdominoplasty, breast surgery and cosmetic eyelid surgery." The demanding residency program that all plastic surgeons must complete before they can be considered for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) ensures that they not only acquire general surgical knowledge and experience but, additionally, that they master the principles, ethics and practice of plastic surgery.

About ASAPS
The 2400-member American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), founded in 1967, is the leading organization of ABMS-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery. With ASAPS active members certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Canadian active members certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and International members certified in their countries of origin, ASAPS is at the forefront of innovation in aesthetic plastic surgery. Toll-free referral line: 888.ASAPS.11 (272.7711). Web site: http://www.surgery.org

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