American Society of Plastic Surgeons Urges Patients to Check Up on Their Surgeons for Their Safety

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Unfortunately, because the first surgeon had removed too much skin from Rodriguez's eyelids during the procedure she says she had never asked to have done, there is nothing that can be done to reconstruct her lids -- she will never again be able to fully close her lids and must take medication for the rest of her life to moisten her eyes. Because the first surgeon cut through nerves and muscle, she also has shooting pains in her ribs surrounding her breasts.

The number of non-board certified plastic surgeons practicing is on the rise, Teitelbaum said, because the public is demanding more plastic surgery and with insurance reimbursements so low, many non-plastic surgeons are offering cosmetic procedures in an attempt to maintain their income.

And with the rising number of unqualified plastic surgeons practicing, he says the number of patients suffering from less-than-ideal surgeries is also increasing.

"The crazy thing is that for every Dinora that goes to the media there are at least 100 patients who don't speak up because they are ashamed," Teitelbaum said.

So what can a patient do to check out their doctors before going under the knife?

First and foremost, make sure the doctor is board certified in plastic surgery specifically, which you can do by searching the doctor's name on the ASPS website, Roth said.

In order to be board certified, doctors who do their residency in plastic surgery must pass a rigorous set of written and oral examinations. While they can legally practice plastic surgery even if they don't pass these tests, they will not get board certification.

It's like failing the bar but somehow still being able to practice law. "The heart of it is the state gives a doctor a license to practice medicine, but leaves it up to the public to check if the doctor has the specific credentials to do the procedure their doing," Teitelbaum says. So it's really up to the patient to check these things.

Another important question to ask of your surgeon is whether they have hospital privileges if needed to perform their procedures, Roth says.

"If the nearby hospital won't let them practice under their roof, then something might be up," he says. "Probably, the physicians at the hospitals don't believe that this physician has adequate training."

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