Would you let a plumber fix your car? How about having your hair done by the grocery store checkout clerk? Craving Mexican food? You’ll want to head to an Italian restaurant for your burrito! Those prospects all sound ridiculous, don’t they? Why, then, would you choose to have your plastic surgery procedure performed by someone other than a plastic surgeon? Rarely does a day go by without a report in the news about plastic surgery being performed by non-plastic surgeons with less-than-optimum outcomes. As plastic surgery procedures become more accepted and mainstream, the standards and expectations the public has for the training of the provider have gone by the wayside. Traditionally, plastic surgery was performed by board-certified plastic surgeons with many years of post-graduate training. These years included countless hours under the tutelage of an attending plastic surgeon providing supervision, guidance and assistance during the learning process. More recently, non-plastic surgeons have ventured into the plastic surgery arena, performing procedures in which their training, if any, may have only been a day-long or a weekend course, often times run by the makers of the product they are injecting or the device they are using for a particular procedure.

Board-certified plastic surgeons are dedicated to patient safety. They are trained to understand the body, (specifically the skin, muscles, nerves and fat) and how those respond to various procedures, both surgical and nonsurgical. They have experience dealing with complicated reconstructive surgical methods, and, most importantly, they have a healthy respect for what the body can and cannot tolerate, when it comes to each individual patient.

If you are contemplating a plastic surgery procedure (surgical or nonsurgical), here is a list of the top 5 places to avoid:

  1. A friend’s house. This includes basements, apartments, garages, decks or anything poolside. Having a surgical procedure involving needles, knives or lasers should not be performed in the comfort of anyone’s home. It’s astonishing that we have to even have this discussion.
  2. A hotel room. Medical procedures should be performed in a medical setting. They are regulated, inspected and held to certain standards when it comes to healthcare, cleanliness and even disposal of regulated medical waste and sharps. This protects you on many levels, including reduced risk of infection and having services and tools at the physician’s disposal should a patient experience a rare complication or have an adverse reaction to any procedure. We are quite certain the local hotel, even the 5-star version, does not follow the same stringent rules that medical offices do.
  3. Your hair salon. The most talented hair stylist is unprepared for performing surgical or non-surgical procedures on your face or body. That includes her friends or acquaintances that took that good old weekend filler course.
  4. Any party– anywhere– and in particular, a party that is serving alcoholic beverages. Nothing says informed consent better than a glass of Chardonnay or a pint from a local brewery. Plastic surgery requires informed consent. If you are under the influence of alcohol, true informed consent is simply not possible. Skip the Botox parties and seek out a local board-certified plastic surgeon for your Botox, filler or plastic surgery procedure.
  5. Home Depot, Discount Auto Parts or other do-it-yourself businesses. While it’s unlikely that you would ever consider having plastic surgery at any of these fine establishments, it’s not unheard of for patients to seek out automotive or industrial-grade silicone, ‘fix-a-flat’ or other house repair products used by non-plastic surgeons for their procedure or trust someone else who is an unlicensed practitioner to use the substances as well.

Plastic surgery is a fascinating specialty that draws the interest of many. Procedures performed by board-certified plastic surgeons can have a positive impact and influence on the lives of those undergoing the procedure. As fascinating as plastic surgery can be, it is prudent for patients to be mindful that plastic surgery is real surgery and in the hands of the untrained or the poorly trained, poor and sometimes life threatening results, or even death, can and do occur.