The Cosmetic Surgery Loophole

cosmetic surgeryWhat if I told you that any doctor can perform cosmetic surgery? You might suggest that you have to be a plastic surgeon but you’d be wrong! Believe it or not, the rules are lax enough regarding which type of doctor does which operation outside of a hospital or an accredited surgery center.


In a hospital or surgery center, a doctor must have “privileges” to perform specific procedures. For example, a plastic surgeon wouldn’t be allowed to perform heart surgery and a heart surgeon wouldn’t be allowed to perform cosmetic surgery in a hospital. But many unscrupulous doctors have found a way around those hospital/surgery center rules.


They just do procedures in their office under local anesthesia, without an anesthesiologist, and maybe without a nurse. Since they’re in their office, out of public view, there are no rules in what they do and how they do it. This is very different than a doctor that has an accredited office-based operating room. While it is not a requirement that an office-based operating room be certified, the doctors that want to be safe and above reproach and do what’s best for the patient, bring their office-based operating room up to certain standards, similar to the standards of a hospital or surgery center.


More importantly, doctors that have an accredited operating room in their office must have privileges to do the same procedures in a hospital. For example, as a plastic surgeon with his own office-based operating room, I still must have privileges to perform the same procedures in a hospital. Otherwise, my operating room couldn’t be accredited. Conversely, in the story below, the gynecologist that is performing cosmetic procedures in his 24-hour, around-the-clock unaccredited clinic, does not have privileges to perform those same cosmetic procedures in a hospital because he’s not a plastic surgeon.


As the reporter suggests, when deciding to have a cosmetic procedure, be sure your doctor is board certified in plastic surgery and just to make extra sure, ask them if they have privileges to do cosmetic surgery in a hospital. Because if they have approval to do the same procedures in a hospital, then they’ve been appropriately vetted. Check out the story below about 3 women that had their cosmetic surgery by a gynecologist in his office without any OR assistance. Buyer Beware!




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