Study Points to Lack of Training in Nearly 40% of Plastic Surgery Centers in Southern California

Physicians count on profiting from procedures including liposuction, injectable fillers, Botox and other skin rejuvenation treatments, and many successful cosmetic and plastic surgery practices have managed to maintain a steady stream of clients that undergo these procedures on a regular basis.

In Southern California, liposuction is big business, and there are now approximately 1,876 cosmetic practitioners located throughout the region, from San Diego to Los Angeles.

In a recent story by the LA Times, a study published in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery shows that only 40% of the 1,800+ practitioners actually had any type of formal training to perform liposuction. A total of 495 practitioners were trained specifically in plastic surgery. The remainder were comprised of primary care physicians, dermatologists and otolaryngologists.

California law does not prevent any type of doctor to offer services in an office setting. In many cases, individuals that are not plastic surgeons simply undergo a single course or complete a multi-day training program to perform liposuction, administer injectable fillers, or to perform other types of surgical procedures. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons warns patients to learn as much as possible about the surgeon’s training and years of experience, as a single-day class or accelerated training program is often inadequate to perform a successful procedure.

Authors of the study report that more legislation is needed, in Southern California and other states where rules about promoting and offering certain services in a doctor’s office are relatively lax. The authors point out that the “divorce of the practice from the name of the responsible physician has the potential to have a profound impact on the doctor-patient relationship and how patients select a provider.”

More information about the study can be found in Volume 125, Issue 4 of the Plastic and Reconstructive Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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