Who is appropriately qualified to perform cosmetic surgery? 'Confusing jargon' contributes to misperceptions

February 06, 2017

February 6, 2017 - Do you know what makes a "plastic surgeon" different from a "cosmetic surgeon"? If you're considering surgery to improve your appearance, the answer has important implications for choosing an appropriately qualified physician, according to a report in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

"Our study shows that the public, and the ultimate consumer, is confused by the titles 'plastic surgeon' or 'cosmetic surgeon,'" according to senior author Rod J. Rohrich, MD, of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. "The results demonstrate the need to eliminate confusing medical marketing in order to have a transparent system, where informed patients are assured a safe and aesthetically acceptable outcome." Dr. Rohrich is Editor-in-Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Some 'Cosmetic Surgeons' Aren't Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons

The researchers designed an internet survey to assess public perceptions of aesthetic or cosmetic surgery, or "surgery to improve one's appearance." A representative sample of 5,135 respondents completed the survey.

The results showed some misperceptions about the qualifications needed to perform cosmetic surgery. Incorrectly, 87 percent of respondents believed that surgeons must have special credentials and training to perform these procedures, or to advertise themselves as aesthetic/cosmetic/plastic surgeons.

More than half of respondents were unsure about the training needed to become a "Board-certified" plastic or cosmetic surgeon. In fact, surgeons need at least six years of residency training to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), compared to just one year for certification by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). The ABPS certification is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, while ABCS certification is not.

Most respondents stated their discomfort with specialists other than plastic surgeons performing surgery to improve their appearance. Less-educated respondents and those with lower incomes were more likely to believe that surgeons must be Board-certified in plastic surgery in order to perform aesthetic/cosmetic surgery.

The demand for cosmetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures has risen dramatically in recent years, creating a financial motive for physicians to performed aesthetic surgery. Dr. Rohrich and coauthors write, "In fact, a growing number of physicians without training in plastic and reconstructive surgery are performing surgery to improve one's appearance, often at the expense of patient safety and outcomes."

The survey identifies several factors contributing to confusion about which doctors are appropriately qualified to perform surgery to improve one's appearance, including "problematic medical marketing, recognized and unrecognized boards, and varying categorization of surgeons." The ASPS has developed a "Do Your Homework" campaign to educate the public on how to identify providers who can safety perform aesthetic/cosmetic/plastic surgery procedures.

"With the current system, physicians can capitalize on confusing jargon to convince patients that they are appropriately qualified to perform the procedures they advertise their expertise in," Dr. Rohrich and colleagues write. They outline an action plan to help patients make a more informed decision about the provider they want to perform their aesthetic/cosmetic surgery--focusing on "increasing patient education, eliminating misconceptions, and, ultimately, improving patient safety."
-end-
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Click here to read "Public Perception of Cosmetic Surgeons versus Plastic Surgeons: Increasing Transparency to Educate Patients."

Article: "Public Perception of Cosmetic Surgeons versus Plastic Surgeons: Increasing Transparency to Educate Patients" (doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003020)

About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For more than 70 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® (http://www.prsjournal.com/) has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair, and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 7,000 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer is a global leader in professional information services. Professionals in the areas of legal, business, tax, accounting, finance, audit, risk, compliance and healthcare rely on Wolters Kluwer's market leading information-enabled tools and software solutions to manage their business efficiently, deliver results to their clients, and succeed in an ever more dynamic world.

Wolters Kluwer reported 2015 annual revenues of €4.2 billion. The group serves customers in over 180 countries, and employs over 19,000 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Wolters Kluwer shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

Wolters Kluwer Health is a leading global provider of information and point of care solutions for the healthcare industry. For more information about our products and organization, visit http://www.wolterskluwer.com, follow @WKHealth or @Wolters_Kluwer on Twitter, like us on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn, or follow WoltersKluwerComms on YouTube.

Wolters Kluwer Health

Related Plastic Surgery Articles from Brightsurf:

Is zoom increasing the demand for plastic surgery
Patients are seeking plastic surgery in record numbers, citing their appearance on Zoom as a cause.

The psychosocial benefits of plastic surgery for young women with congenital breast asymmetry
Nearly all women have breasts that are slightly different from each other.

Age-related features of facial anatomy for increase safety during plastic surgery
Researchers from the Center for Diagnostics and Telemedicine together with colleagues from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, University of Munich and Sechenov University used computed tomography to analyze the individual anatomy of the nasolabial triangle.

New study examines the accuracy of plastic surgery videos on social media
In the era of 'Dr. Google,' social media is a tremendous influence on patients interested in cosmetic surgery, and with more than two billion users -- representing almost one-third of the internet -- YouTube has emerged as an essential platform for reaching people interested in plastic surgery.

Facial plastic surgery in men enhances perception of attractiveness, trustworthiness
In the first of a kind study, plastic surgeons at Georgetown University found that when a man chose to have facial plastic surgery, it significantly increased perceptions of attractiveness, likeability, social skills, or trustworthiness.

More men undergo plastic surgery as the daddy-do-over trend rises in popularity
Just as women can turn to a suite of procedures, known as the 'Mommy Makeover,' more men are embracing their own set of treatments, the 'Daddy Do-Over,' to boost their confidence and improve their physical appearance.

New plastic surgery statistics reveal trends toward body enhancement
New data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) shows there were nearly a quarter million more cosmetic procedures performed in 2018 than the previous year.

How common is persistent opioid use after plastic, reconstructive surgery?
This study examined how common persistent opioid use was after plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures of the nose, eye, breast, abdomen and soft tissue.

CRISPR gene editing will find applications in plastic and reconstructive surgery
The CRISPR genome editing technique promises to be a 'transformative leap' in genetic engineering and therapy, affecting almost every area of medicine.

Patient satisfaction with plastic surgery -- it's the surgeon, not the practice
Patient satisfaction after plastic surgery is most affected by surgeon-related factors, such as taking the time to answer questions and including patients in the decision-making process, reports a study in the September issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Read More: Plastic Surgery News and Plastic Surgery Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.