To be called a full-fledge plastic surgeon takes work. Doctors must complete five to seven years of plastic surgery residency training after medical school and pass the certification requirements for plastic surgery from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Cosmetic doctors can run the gamut of well-trained surgeons from other specialty fields, to family doctors or dentists who took a weekend course in face-lifts or liposuctions.
"It's shocking to me, I have friends who say 'oh he's a member of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons' -- it doesn't mean anything," said Kuczynski. "The industry is so slick, it's so well-packaged and it's marketed to people who have a bit of insecurity."
Dr. G, an obstetrician and now a cosmetic surgeon, disagrees to some degree. Dr. G. wanted to remain anonymous for fear of trouble professionally, but said he has seen botched surgeries from plastic surgeons as well.
"I've seen half-a-dozen patients in the past couple of years who've come from prominent plastic surgeons with distended stomachs after liposuction," said Dr. G.
According to Dr. G, what the women thought was fat turned out to be uterine fibroids. "I suspect the plastic surgeon didn't perform a pelvic exam," he said. "Maybe there are some poor, inexperienced cosmetic surgeons just as there are poor inexperienced plastic surgeons."
Whatever procedure a patient chooses, Dr. John Canady, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, urges people to reflect on the price.
"As a patient, you owe it to yourself and your kids and your family that you really need to do that with a fair amount of planning and forethought," said Canady. "If you're talking about surgery on yourself, that's not the time you want to be out getting the lowest possible bargain rate."