A recent article in Medscape Today reports that in 2005, there were 10.2 million cosmetic procedures performed in the United States, an increase of 11% from 2004 and 38% when compared with 2000. This number includes 3,839,387 Botox treatments, 1,033,581 chemical peels, 837,711 microdermabrasions, 782,732 laser hair removals, 589,768 vein sclerotherapies (strippings), 323,605 liposuctions, 298,413 rhinoplasties (nose jobs), 291,350 breast augmentations, 230,697 blepharoplasties (eyelid reconstructions), 134,746 abdominoplasties, 114,250 breast reductions, 793 vaginal rejuvenation procedures, 337 calf augmentations, and 206 pectoral implants. Forty percent of those undergoing cosmetic procedures are repeat patients; 34% have multiple procedures at the same time. Read the full article here.
The alarming fact is the increasing number of cosmetic surgery procedures which are performed in doctors’ offices and free- standing surgical centers (as opposed to hospitals), and more procedures are being carried out simultaneously. This increases the risk of rare but potentially fatal infections and anesthetic reactions. Furthermore, some practitioners have not completed the full 5 years of residency training required for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, but (legally) perform procedures, for which they might be inadequately trained, merely to augment their income.
Make sure your doctor is well-trained and experienced with the type of surgery you are seeking. In Virginia, your first stop should be the Virginia Department of Health Professions where you can learn more about the physician’s education, licensure, and self-reported negligence claims. Also check with the American Board of Plastic Surgery to see if your doctor is sufficiently trained and accredited.