Cosmetic Surgery Good News & Bad News
“Cosmetic medicine is a booming industry,” says the online journal, Medical Economics.
So, you’re not surprised. Given the inescapable media coverage of celebrity appearance tweaking, we’re not surprised that you’re not surprised. But what you may not expect is our take: there’s good news and bad news about the thriving market. Though aesthetic medicine is our industry and we are obviously glad it’s healthy, we make every effort to educate our New York cosmetic surgery patients about the not-so-wonderful side of the boom as well.
The Good News
One positive thing about the ubiquity of cosmetic procedures is you don’t need to worry that you’ll be judged if people catch on to your aesthetic strategies. Years ago, people usually tried to hide the fact that they had a facelift or a nose job, but nowadays many are quite upfront about cosmetic surgery. In New York, Southern California and many other regions, people talk openly about plastic surgery. That makes it easier to fit a procedure in to a work schedule, find people to support you as you recover and so on.
As acceptance has grown, more and more doctors have entered the field of cosmetic surgery, increasing accessibility. It’s pretty easy these days to find board certified plastic surgeons in your hometown or nearby. You’ll want to check that they have the credentials and expertise you seek, and for some procedures like male breast reduction it still makes sense to travel to work with specialists. But for fairly routine treatment, many patients can find a qualified professional nearby.
Growing demand for cosmetic treatment—especially on the part of people interested in less invasive procedures—has also boosted innovation. Effective options like Botox, fillers and Kybella that have come to market in the last couple of decades have gained almost instant popularity.
The Flip Side
Believe it or not, every one of the upsides mentioned above has a potential downside. If you’re thinking of a non-invasive treatment or cosmetic surgery in New York or anywhere else, give some thought to them so you’ll know what to avoid.
Acceptability of cosmetic procedures can sometimes translate into pressure. If all your friends seem to be flocking to get Botox injections, do you feel compelled to do the same? Any reputable plastic surgeon will tell you that to be satisfied with your investment, you need to be choosing it for your own very personal reasons, not to satisfy external influences.
Perhaps the worst aspect of the thriving cosmetic surgery industry is the fact that so many people are looking to cash in. This means that when you’re choosing a provider to work with, you face people with a range of credentials from board certification in plastic surgery to completion of a weekend course. A medical degree is all that’s needed for a doctor to offer cosmetic surgery, therefore it’s up to you to insist on the credentials you want your practitioner to have.
For instance, the article in Medical Economics discusses an organization of cosmetic surgeons with “more than 1,600 members from an assortment of medical and surgical specialties.” While the group says it focuses on offering members education in cosmetic surgery, it does not require that its members have specific education or years of residency focused on plastic surgery. In fact, the “membership breakdown reflects the diversity of specialties offering cosmetic procedures today and includes 12% from dermatology, 12% from general surgery, 9% obstetrics and gynecology, 5% in ophthalmology, 18% in oral and maxillofacial surgery, 8% in otolaryngology, 16% in plastic surgery, and 20% in the “other” category, which, according to the group, is not broken down.”
Some of these doctors may be quite talented, and some may have picked up a decent level of experience in the procedures they offer. But most of our New York cosmetic surgery patients would not be comfortable having a general surgeon perform their breast reduction or a gynecologist do their tummy tuck. These practitioners are out there.
Even more disturbing are unscrupulous people who prey on those with a strong desire for treatment and a weak understanding of potential risks. Their patients are the folks who elect procedures in countries without high standards or even non-medical settings and end up disfigured or worse.
On the innovation front, some procedure options that have emerged in recent times are definitely to be avoided. Most that come to mind for us are so-called facelift alternatives. Read up on the thread lift, which seems to be reincarnated every few years with yet a new name. Another marketing-heavy, results-light facial treatment we’ve written about is the Lifestyle Lift, which was finally removed from the market some years ago.
The Right Side
There’s one way to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of cosmetic surgery market trends: research and consult with plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). These are the doctors who are required to have specific education and years of residency in plastic surgery, not to mention peer evaluation and ongoing training. ABPS certification takes years to secure, not just a membership fee and a medical degree. Plastic surgeons with ABPS certification are the best bets in terms of matching your needs.
We would be very happy to discuss cosmetic surgery in New York with you! Call us at 212-570-6080 to schedule a consultation.