News | Published November 21, 2011 | Written by Emily Peterson, MD, reconstructive & cosmetic surgery, Mount Nittany Physician Group

ASPS "Do Your Homework" Campaign Launched

Cosmetic surgery is on the rise, and patients are faced with a myriad of choices ranging from BOTOX® to major surgical procedures. Navigating the many options can be challenging, and one of the most important factors in the decision to have a cosmetic procedure is making sure the physician is properly trained.

In September, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) launched the public service campaign, "Do Your Homework,” aimed at educating the public about the importance of choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon.

A plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which is one of 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties, and is trained in the art and medicine of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. It is important to realize that there is no board certification in cosmetic medicine or surgery; anyone claiming certification of this specialty should be questioned further regarding their credentials. Likewise, there is nothing stopping a physician who is trained in another field, such as pediatrics or family medicine, from performing "cosmetic surgery;” that physician may even be board certified, but not in plastic surgery. So, it is critical to see if the physician is board certified in plastic surgery.

All surgery and medical procedures involve some element of risk – even seemingly simple ones like BOTOX® – and the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery should not be taken lightly. Since complications may occur, it is crucial for patients to be sure their surgeons are trained to properly handle an array of problems. Additionally, patients should be sure their procedures are being performed in accredited facilities in order to minimize their risk.

After cosmetic surgery, patients want to look and feel their best. To ensure a positive experience, patients should be encouraged to take their time in researching their desired procedure, as well as the surgeon performing it.