"And because cosmetic surgery by it's nature can be done in an outpatient facility, doctors can -- and do -- promote themselves as a plastic surgeon, even if they have never held a knife in their life, and there's no one there to stop them," Roth said.
Some so-called plastic surgeons may not even be doctors at all, but con artists preying on vulnerable individuals. Last July a 22-year-old California woman died after being given silicone injections in the buttocks in an operation run by two sisters who did not have medical licenses to practice in the United States, according to Los Angeles Times.
To avoid such potentially deadly scenarios, the ASPS calls on patients to search for certification credentials at the organization's website (www.plasticsurgery.org), and confirm that properly sealed credentials are readily viewable in the physician's office.
"All our members have a minimum of six years of surgical training in plastic surgery," Roth said. "All have completed oral and written examinations, and continue to pursue 50 hours a year of continuing education, with an important emphasis on patient safety. And none operate in a facility unless it is accredited with all the bells and whistles needed for the rare occasion when there is a problem."
Unfortunately, Rodriguez was not so lucky.
"I looked deformed" after the surgery, Rodriguez said. The uncertified surgeon "tore skin from my cleavage, and I looked like I only had one breast. But she told me that she had done nothing wrong, that my breasts were only swollen, that I needed a couple of months to heal, and that my eye scar had looked so ugly that I 'needed' the surgery."
Unable to fully move her arms or even lay down comfortably, Rodriguez returned to the doctors a few months later, still racked with pain and unable to close her eyes. But the physician turned her away, dec
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