Cosmetic Surgery by Plastic Surgeons?

Non-plastic-surgeons doing more cosmetic surgery


For a multitude of reasons, more and more untrained doctors are performing cosmetic surgery and making themselves out to be plastic surgeons. There are even reputable “board-certified” doctors doing cosmetic plastic surgery. The only problem is that they are not board-certified in plastic surgery. They are “certified” in any one of 30 other medical specialties but not qualified to do any plastic surgery at all. A surgeon is only qualified to perform plastic surgery if they have been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which means they have taken multiple exams after a minimum of six years of training after medical school. (Many plastic surgeons, like myself, have eight years of post-medical-school training.)

It’s like having your “certified” electrician do the work of your “certified” accountant! There is even a TV ad like that going around these days!

For the past three years I have written about the problem of unqualified doctors (or even non-doctors) performing cosmetic plastic surgery. Here are two of those posts:


I recently heard that the radiologists (those are the doctors trained to look at X-rays) at Inova Fairfax Hospital outside of Washington, DC, where I perform some of my cosmetic plastic surgery, have started to perform laser liposuction. They feel that since they can put in IVs to inject patients with dye or tubes to drain fluid, they are now trained to do liposuction! They are even advertising themselves as “board-certified surgical specialists” in a wanton attempt to confuse and trick cosmetic surgery patients into thinking they are being treated by a plastic surgeon. They take a two-day course in laser liposuction and then let themselves loose on the uninformed public.

Katie Couric had a show last week on her TV program “Katie” in which she interviewed a number of patients who had sought cosmetic surgery by untrained doctors and suffered horrific consequences. Surgery always has risks, and even board-certified plastic surgeons will have complications, but you can at least mitigate the chances by going to someone who has trained for years. Watch this:

It’s high time for the government to intervene to protect the public from the “wild west” mentality that exists in cosmetic surgery today.


Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS