Drivers on Utah Interstate 15 can’t miss the dozens of billboards along the way touting the work and expertise of beaming plastic surgeons. The impression one gets is that elective plastic surgery is as common and uncomplicated as getting a haircut. But the choice of elective plastic surgery is not one to be taken lightly, and it is not a procedure that is going to be helpful for everyone.
The expert Utah cosmetic surgeons caution those considering elective surgery to think carefully and to do some research ahead of time to avoid disappointment, wasted money, and perhaps even tragedy. It’s important to remember that not every doctor who advertises as a plastic surgeon has the same expertise and training. The regulations governing reconstructive surgery in Utah allow for a broad range of proficiency. It’s vital that prospective patients put themselves in the hands of a reputable and competent medical practitioner. One who is fully bonded and insured, among other things.
The Utah Plastic Surgery Society keeps an alert eye out for physicians and others who might inflate their own credentials to mislead the public into thinking that a cosmetic surgeon is the same thing as a board-certified plastic surgeon. But the truth of the matter is that a cosmetic surgeon is pretty much the same as a dermatologist, a doctor who treats minor skin disorders, while a plastic surgeon is qualified and trained to perform actual surgical procedures not just on the skin but with the muscles and nerves of the body.
Sad but true — not every fancy gilded certificate displayed in a doctor’s office comes from a legitimate and reputable medical institution. The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing warns prospective patients that even something as highly regulated as the issuance of a plastic surgeon’s certificate and license can be easily faked with a fancy piece of paper from an online diploma mill. Before committing to a course of elective plastic surgery, state officials advise patients to check with their state’s licensing board to make certain their doctor is trained and qualified to do the elective surgery they want.
Utah medical authorities point out that there is a definite difference between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons. Which one is the right choice for a patient depends largely on what type of surgery is desired and required.
A plastic surgeon has to train for about seven additional years after he or she graduated from medical school. They have to perform a prerequisite set of training exercises under the supervision of a physician certified through the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons. Their core residency surgical program will last no less than four years, and then they need to be sponsored by a board-certified plastic surgeon for a minimum of two years as a fellow-intern. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery requires at least six years of practice and training under a board-certified surgeon before issuing a certificate.
People who are considering elective plastic surgery in Utah should not be taken in by fancy billboards or authentic-looking framed diplomas. And they should be especially wary of online accolades and recommendations. The best way, the only way, to choose a competent plastic surgeon is do look into their credentials and check with local medical boards to find out if there have been any complaints about their work.