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How Should I Choose an Aesthetician and/or Plastic Surgeon?

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) recently published advice for patients considering cosmetic surgery or aesthetic enhancements.

Patient Safety The ASAPS is warning patients about unscrupulous practitioners offering bargain procedures. These unethical practitioners are damaging the entire aesthetic industry.

As the President of the ASAPS, Jack Fisher MD, says “cost … should never be the deciding factor in cosmetic surgery. Safety and quality are always the key issues.”

If patients heed this advice, the aesthetic industry will greatly benefit by having better-educated patients fully informed about the type, duration, efficacy and expectations of their prospective treatment.

Though the ASAPS advice consists of research patients should do before deciding on a surgeon or clinician, clinicians will also benefit. By disseminating the ASAPS advice with specific information pertinent to their own practice, clinicians will assist in the improvement of patient education and help them make correct choices about their treatment.

The following are some topics clinicians should prepare, tailoring them to their own practice.

Qualifications and credentials

The surgery, clinic, or practice information must include the names and qualifications of the board-certified plastic surgeons who supervise the treatments. Qualifications and licenses of aestheticians must also be included. Patients will research online, so surgeries, clinics, and aesthetic practices must have a clear, well-designed website. Printed brochures are also a good idea.

Safety of procedures

Aesthetic staff must be prepared to explain the FDA approvals for every treatment offered. Many patients will have little or no prior knowledge of the FDA licensing procedure, so this is a good way to reassure them.

Medical rationale for off-label uses of treatments and products used must also be clearly noted. Patients will want to know how successful such treatments have been in the past.

Aesthetic staff must carefully explain the different treatment options, to help the patient make the best decision.

Realistic expectations

Many patients will have unrealistic expectations, and will consequently be disappointed with their treatment. They may not understand the difference between aesthetic treatments like dermal fillers or neurotoxins and surgical facelifts.

Aesthetic professionals must be prepared to inform patients about the temporary nature of dermal fillers, neurotoxins, and liquid facelifts. Patients must also be informed about possible side effects.

Providing before and after photos of successful treatments will help reassure patients.

In conclusion, better-educated patients will benefit the industry.

Resources used in researching this article include the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Press Release: Bargain Beauty: Online Promotions May Not Be Safe Medicine, published September 9 2013.