Plastic Surgery - Should Ads Carry Health Warnings?

May 27 2008 - 9:38am

As plastic surgery becomes more and more accepted around the world, problems arise followed by outcry for strict regulations. Some countries have little to no regulation while others are extreme. Now Donda West case is pushing for some plastic surgery stricter regulations in California.

The Irish health care system is universal or socialized, meaning everyone is entitled to receive care under the public health care system which is funded by taxes. Since private health clinics are not funded by the universal system, they are not licensed or regulated; As a result, patients are having difficulty in separating good surgeons from bad because there is no official training in cosmetic surgery.

Australia on the other hand is a mixture of universal care and private health care. There is formal training for cosmetic surgery which is an additional 8-10 years after obtaining their medical degree and the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a hot line that can be called at any time to verify whether a doctor is in training. The problem is that technically, anyone with a medical degree can perform cosmetic surgery.

The United States require plastic surgeons to undergo 8 years training between pre-med and medical school plus additional years of internship, residency followed by specialty training and fellowship. Each state requires doctors to be licensed and surgeon specialties (such as plastic surgery) have their own association, which certifies techniques and practices as well as requiring continuing education in the field.

Plastic surgery usually makes headlines when something is perceived to have gone wrong. Such is the case of Donda West who died of heart disease the day after a cosmetic procedure. California lawmakers are now trying to put through Donda's bill. This would have required a medical clearance, from a licensed physician prior to surgery

In Florida, eighteen year old girl died during what has been reported as either breast reconstruction surgery or breast augmentation procedure. The cause of her death is believed to be a reaction to anesthesia due to a rare genetic disease. No matter, any death is a tragedy. Does this mean that everyone considering Cosmetic surgery should be genetically tested?

Plastic surgeons in the United States are regulated by their peers, by the FDA as well as the medical community. Trying to legislate every single situation that ever goes contrary to plan, is unrealistic.

However, there are areas of plastic surgery that still needs some attention. There are medical spa's that offer what is termed "non-invasive" procedures such as Botox injections, photo facials and laser hair removal. California for one is looking closely at this unregulated cosmetic treatment business, since there are no rules on who can operate these lasers that are burning and scarring patients.



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