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Common Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery

By Matthew Leo

Common pitfalls of plastic surgery are those involving before and after pictures with photographic tricks or attractive models instead of the surgeon's patients, that are publicly displayed in printed ads, online advertisement or broadcasted by TV, audio-visual or specific tele-shopping and infomercials.

Before and after pictures are useful to help you make the decision to have cosmetic surgery when they are real, but not advisable as criteria to select a surgeon, since no ethical surgeon can guarantee results this way, but if so, be sure to get his promises in writing.

Fake testimonials implying that anyone can get these results of people sharing their experiences may only be a marketing plan whether viewed on TV, through the internet, heard on the radio or at the surgeon's office; they have a powerful influence in the patient's final decision. Pitfalls can not be easily detected due to the impossibility to verify the authenticity of any given testimonial or the identity of the "happy patients".

Because the purpose of testimonials are considered to be a way to solicit patients, most professional societies and State medical boards prohibit the use of testimonials to advertise Plastic Surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) considers this marketing tool a violation to the code of ethics of 97% of certified surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, members of ASPS.

Impressive sounding surgeon's credentials or a plastic surgery procedure that does not name the surgeon may be listed as pitfalls of plastic surgery. While it is obvious to expect that a surgeon has the proper training, credentials and experience to provide the plastic surgery procedure or service you are seeking, remember that many physicians may call themselves plastic surgeons or cosmetic surgeons with training. In fact, in most states any physician may perform any procedure without peer scrutiny and no training requirements.

Since there are no requirements that the physician be is a trained surgeon, anyone may claim to be a board-certified surgeon simply by joining a sound-a-like organization, but the true meaning is that The American Society of Plastic Surgeons enforces one of the most rigorous ethical codes in the medical profession, so the best way to find out a surgeon's facts is consulting only surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Other pitfalls of plastic surgery are those offering dramatic results with superficial treatments, minimal or non-invasive procedures, no risk or little risk and downtime as well as a variety of products, procedures or manipulations without mention of the doctor's qualification, board certification or his/her specialty. These promises are designed more for marketing reasons than a real therapeutic value.

These individual procedures may be inexpensive, but offers only little or temporal improvement, so it is necessary for multiple sessions before seeing positive results, raising in the mean time the costs, often comparable to the total cost of the plastic surgery. Non surgical procedures with high tech names suggest new approaches to youthful appearance and the expectation of major effectiveness.

All these issues make it difficult for patients to separate plastic surgery hype from reality.

About The Author

Matthew Leo is the publisher of, and


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