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A distinction WITH a difference-news story on patients upset with non-plastic surgeons mistakenly featured a non plastic surgeon

Posted Jun 18 2009 1:03am

I saw a local Dallas new station segment on Plastic Surgery that was unintentionally ironic.

It is introduce with the statement that

" It's a nightmare situation. You've had Plastic Surgery and you don't like the results.....With rapidly rising number of physicians starting to call themselves Plastic Surgeons, (patient)complaints are starting to jump."

The segment features a Dallas doctor doing re-operative surgery on on a woman who 6 years prior, had cheek implants, eyelid surgery, and a brow lift performed and was unhappy. The doctor, takes a not too subtle swipe at how "other Dallas surgeons" don't understand facial aging and aesthetics and have been doing surgery wrong for years.



For some context, you have to understand that Dallas, Texas has some of the heaviest hitters among Plastic Surgeons in the world for facelifts and related procedures. (see my post " Cities known for certain Plastic Surgery procedures" from last spring) Dallas surgeons like Fritz Barton, Steve Byrd, Sam Hamra, Jack Gunter, Rod Rohrich, and others have literally rewritten parts of the vocabulary for understanding the aging face and how to address these changes surgically. Now there's a lot of ways to skin a cat (or rejuvenate a face in this instance), but you dismiss your forebears collective experience at your own peril in Plastic Surgery.

Back to my point! What's the irony of the story about consumer confusion on Plastic Surgery?

The doctor featured isn't even a Plastic Surgeon!

He's an ENT (ear, nose, & throat) surgeon who did not train in Plastic Surgery, but did a loosely regulated apprenticeship with other ENT's in "Facial Plastic Surgery". This type of ENT practice is not equivalent in either training or scope of practice, and most of these fellowships have evolved into tagging along with a cosmetic surgeon rather then actually something resembling training in the full scope of head & neck plastic surgery which is implied by the title.

There is no real standardized curriculum for facial plastic surgery training (as there is for Plastic Surgery) and you can still actually become certified in "facial plastic surgery" without any formal post-graduate training by just submitting a case-log and taking a test if you trained in ENT. I believe that most Plastic Surgeons feel it is a degree not worth the paper it's printed on, but that there's not much that can be done about it ( it was actually challenged in court many years ago, but the decisions established that the term "plastic surgeon" could not be trademarked by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ).

This in no way means such guys can't do cosmetic surgery well in many instances, but it is just another example of how such titles can confuse and blur distinctions that most patients ( and apparently news media ) are taking for granted.
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