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As the field of cosmetic surgery becomes increasingly competitive, the challenge to find competent, ethical plastic surgeons increases as well. This same need applies to every medical discipline, but the stakes grow increasingly higher as treatments become more invasive. Think about it for a moment. If you are duped into purchasing an astronomically priced miracle-in-a-jar product that does not deliver as promised, the damage normally is contained to your pocketbook, not to your skin. But if you follow in the steps of one celebrity who recently allowed a practitioner to inject auto mechanic-grade silicone into her face (earning himself the nickname "Dr. Jiffy Lube"), your face could be left permanently distorted by a silicone filler that remains in place and is very difficult to extract.  

I asked Dr. Alan Gold, (2008-2009 president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery [ASAPS], and the 2007-2008 president of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF ), if he would be willing to share a few of his thoughts. Could he add any words of wisdom to help prospective patients and clients make wise choices? He responded with great generosity of spirit and thought.  

     "Plastic surgery....or more accurately, well-performed    

     plastic surgery....can have a dramatic and very positive  

     impact on your life. It of course won't change who you  

     truly are, and can't guarantee success in life or love  

     ....however it can unquestionably change not only your  

     appearance but your self-image, your self-confidence,  

     and how you are perceived by, interact with, and    

     relate to others.  In this book (refering to my soon-

     to-be-published book, Tick,Tock, Stop the Clock), as  

     well as in Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery, the author  

     has presented an accurate overview of an exciting  

     specialty and what it has to offer, along with some  

     significant caveats to help you approach plastic  

     surgery and choose your surgeon wisely. I do, however,  

     have several other issues for you to consider."

Dr. Gold and I discussed the dangerous trend of the commercialization and commoditization of medicine. Consumers need to understand that plastic surgery is a unique mixture of both art and science and that a facelift or other cosmetic procedure performed by one surgeon could easily yield very different results as one performed by another. We discussed the alarming growth of "medical tourism', a subject for a future article, but for now, let us focus on cosmetic surgery right here at home.

      " . . . Yet we see ever more common advertisements

      for clinics staffed by unidentified doctors with  

      unspecified or inflated or misleading credentials,  

      with treatments administered by sometimes poorly  

      trained and even non-medical personnel." We see  

      advertisements for proprietary technologies or  

      formulations, or techniques with cute or catchy names  

      being mass marketed in centers across the country by  

      physicians or business entities, often with the  

      implication that a consistent and ideal result can be  

      achieved by everyone in each of those centers."

Beware of the practitioner practicing without adequate training or credentials. Some are actually masquerading as board certified plastic surgeons through deceptively phrased certifications and/or bogus titled organization affiliations.  

     "Be suspect of advertising and public relations hype

      and a surgeon's self-aggrandizement in the media. You  

      must be an educated and discriminating patient and  

      carefully investigate the training, credentials, and  

      reputation of your potential surgeon. Speak to former  

      patients and other medical professionals in the  

      community, and ask to see examples of that surgeon's  

      work. And be sure that you can relate to the surgeon,

      and that s/he will be there for you if complications

      should arise."

I have become increasingly disturbed by some poor taste promotionals by selected surgeons including ads for "fashion show" type parties with contests and entertainment to create an image for the surgeon. I asked Dr. Gold to comment on this disturbing trend.  

     "Remember, ethical guidelines constrain only those who  

     are ethical to begin with, and while we in organized  

     plastic surgery can mandate codes of conduct for  

     members of our organization, we cannot mandate good  


As a consumer, be aware of the type and tone of a surgeon's promotions, for they can often tell you a great deal about their character and approach to their patients.  

     "Be discerning as you view those ads and promotional  

     events. Always remember that the most important factor  

     in the success of your plastic surgical experience is  

     the surgeon you choose your surgeon    


Lois W. Stern

Read Fab40's great review! E280%93-Things-You-ll-Never-Learn-From-Your-Plastic-Surgeon/

Eyeonbeauty, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Nov 1, 2008
    • A good surgeon will leave you looking refreshed and rejuvenated without looking like you had something done.

      Lois, if you know of good surgeons to recommend all over the US, please list them.


            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 1, 2008
    • Wow, Im 49 years old, and I know my time will come to face the knife someday.. so far, Ive remained fairly ageless.  I dont sun and I take special care of my skin.. being oily skin is an advantage to aging, it keeps you younger Im told, all I know is I still wake up with a pimple to cover.  Momma told me it would stop when I turned 20.. NOPE.

      I loved the idea of the natural fat injections under the eyes to refresh rather than actual surgery, could be a future endeavor.. maybe ten years down the road.  

      Great read.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lois Stern & Patty Kovacs wrote Nov 5, 2008
    • Yes, oily skin, keeping out of the sun, and having good genes all help. The other crucial item on all of our agendas has to be the use of a good sunscreen - every day, without fail. If you have sensitive skin, look for a sunscreen with natural minerals as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. (I happen to love the Topix sunscreen because the titamium dioxide particles are so well micronized (small) that it doesn’t leave a white mask on my face). The other bit of advice I would add is to drink lots of water to hydrate your body from the inside out.

      Keep up the good work!

      Very best,
      Lois W. Stern

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lois Stern & Patty Kovacs wrote Nov 5, 2008
    • Hi Yana,

      Although I don’t like to list names publically, I am always happy to speak to women one on one and give my input.  

      In Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery I devote chapter 10 to ways to find a competent surgeon and we  just came out with a CD with some terriific printble forms to help patients ask the right questions, evaluate a consultation and more.

      Maybe I should write an article about this for a future column.

      Lois W. Stern

            Report  Reply

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