The Biggest Scam in Plastic Surgery – the “Cosmetic Surgeon”

Want to know what is the biggest scam in plastic surgery? It is that a “cosmetic surgeon” is the same as a plastic surgeon. The truth is that a “cosmetic surgeon” is any doctor who has chosen to perform cosmetic surgery. This says nothing about their particular training or what their residency was. They may be general surgeons, obstetricians, or gynecologists. In fact, many “cosmetic surgeons” are not even surgeons at all. There are opthamologists, cardiologists, internists, and radiologists advertising themselves as “cosmetic surgeons” who are performing breast augmentations, tummy tucks, and liposuction. Some would argue that is the patients’ fault for allowing these doctors to perform surgical procedures that are outside the scope of medical training.

While I agree that patients should share in the responsibility of researching potential doctors, the issue is much more concerning because these patients are often being intentionally mislead. “Cosmetic Surgeons” usually do not list their specific medical training on their websites. This is because they do not want you to know that they did a residency in Cardiology but now they will be performing your breast augmentation. They fill their websites with sentences like “A cosmetic surgeon with over 15 years experience” or “a cosmetic surgeon who has received training from the best in the country”. To confuse things even more, many add the term “Board Certified”. Wow, a “Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon” sounds really impressive and clearly they must be properly trained to do your surgery. Wrong! This is simply a term that is given to cosmetic surgeons when they pay their dues and join an organization, but there is no written or oral examination, no detailed review of recent cases and critique of outcomes, no peer review of character, and basically none of the stringent criteria that is found in accredited Boards. Moreover, they don’t tell you what they are board certified in. The cardiologist may be board certified in cardiology, so they are not lying, but does mean that they are qualified to perform your tummy tuck? This slick wording and vague details is done to purposely mislead potential patients into thinking they are qualified Plastic Surgeons.

What you need to look for is a “Board Certified Plastic Surgeon”. Nothing else should be acceptable to you. Doctors need to be held responsible and fully disclose their past training. If someone trained in plastic surgery, it will be front and center on their website. If there is no clear indication of what their residency was in, then they are likely hiding something. There are no accidental omissions or “honest mistakes” when it comes to website design. “Cosmetic Surgeons” should be forthcoming about their training, and this will allow potential patients to decide if they are the right doctor.

To schedule your consultation with Dr. Schulman, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, call 212-289-1851 or click here.