Some people call these days we are living in the Information Age. But a better term could be the Disinformation Age. From politicians telling outright lies to websites making up bogus conspiracy theories, there is no shortage of people bending, or more like breaking, the truth. 

The aesthetic world isn’t immune. In this business, patients can be misled by doctors who claim to be “board certified,” when their true credentials show they are not. This trend discredits actual board-certified surgeons such as Dr. Lee, who is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. 

The problem was detailed not that long ago in a story in the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The story highlighted a recent study showing that consumers don’t understand the difference between the terms “plastic surgeon” and “cosmetic surgeon.” While unsuspecting patients may not really understand the difference, the reality is there is a vast difference in experience and skill level and the difference can have a real impact on a patient’s results, even on their safety. 

Board certified? 

In the study, researchers designed an Internet survey to assess public perceptions of aesthetic or cosmetic surgery. A total of 5,135 respondents completed the survey. 

Almost 90 percent of respondents incorrectly believed that surgeons must have special credentials and training to perform cosmetic surgery, or to advertise themselves as aesthetic/cosmetic/plastic surgeons. 

Over half of the respondents were unsure about the training needed to become a “board certified” plastic or cosmetic surgeon. In truth, surgeons need at least six years of residency training to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This compares to only one year for certification by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). But these are not comparable organizations — the American Board of Medical Specialties does not recognize ABCS certification. 

This gets right to the root of the problem. One year of surgical experience is hardly enough, but patients see the doctor is “board certified,” not understanding it is the ABCS board, which is a basically worthless, and unrecognized, certification. 

As more and more people contemplate having an aesthetic procedure done, there is a serious financial incentive for physicians to add these surgeries to their practices. The study’s author, Dr. Rod J. Rohrich, editor-in-chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, comments, “A growing number of physicians without training in plastic and reconstructive surgery are performing surgery to improve one’s appearance, often at the expense of patient safety and outcomes.” 

Dr. Rohrich explains how they are doing this. “With the current system, physicians can capitalize on confusing jargon to convince patients that they are appropriately qualified to perform the procedures they advertise their expertise in,” he says. 

The key for patients is to do their homework, and have cosmetic surgery performed by surgeons who are board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology as an Oculoplastic Surgeon (focusing on the face) or by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (more overall plastic surgery). Dr. Lee is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and specializes in facial procedures. 

So, don’t be fooled by doctors claiming to be board certified when there is only one certification that means anything — the American Board of Plastic Surgery/American Board of Ophthalmology. Trust the experience and credentials of Dr. Lee. Call us at (610) 789-6701 to put his expertise to work for you.