There has been a lot of buzz lately in Canada and the U.S. about the proliferation of physicians working outside of their respective specialties to perform cosmetic procedures. Many general practitioners, gynecologists, and dentists are adding services such as injectables, laser treatments, and even some aesthetic surgeries to their practices.
As a Royal College certified plastic surgeon, the health, and safety of my Toronto-area patients have always been my primary concern. So although I understand the appeal and convenience of a “one-stop” medical treatment, I have reservations about visiting a practitioner for an aesthetic procedure if he or she specializes in a different field.
When researching a doctor for any sort of care, it’s important to fully understand his or her qualifications. In addition to attending medical school, a physician must undergo several years of additional, focused training in his or her field of specialty before moving on to a regular practice. Therefore, while a physician of any stripe has good overall knowledge of the human body, only a plastic surgeon has the relevant training and advanced knowledge necessary to successfully complete today’s most popular aesthetic treatments.
In many cases, the physicians attend weekend training seminars to learn how to perform a certain cosmetic treatment. That was the case in a recent TODAY show report on a woman who got sclerotherapy injections from a family practice doctor in California who had taken a training course. The woman ended up with negative results, and, unfortunately, her story is not uncommon.
I respect my fellow physicians as professionals — and if you have a medical concern, it’s important to see the right specialist. Just as you’d see a dentist for a filling or an orthopedic surgeon for a knee injury, choosing a plastic surgeon for your injectable wrinkle filler, laser treatment, or breast augmentation is the first step to achieving the safe, beautiful results you want. To learn more about how to choose the right doctor, visit our handy guide to choosing a plastic surgeon.