Cosmetic Surgery Dangers: Importance of Being Your Own Patient Advocate

model on white background having botox injectionA recent op-ed piece in the Guardian spotlights the growing demand for cosmetic surgery and the disastrous consequences faced by patients who take the plunge without performing their due diligence first. In her article, Ranjana Srivastava recounts the stories of uninformed patients who belatedly suffer the ramifications of their hasty decision to have ‘routine’ treatments to remove a mole, eradicate spider veins, or smooth away frown lines.

She cites studies involving first-time cosmetic surgery patients, which found that those who watched reality shows about plastic surgery view themselves as more informed, when in reality they have unrealistic expectations of what surgery can actually achieve.

“In today’s aggressive world of cosmetic surgery, the patient’s role can’t be ignored. The patient can’t afford to be naïve and trust the most polished advertising,” cautions Srivastava. “Before committing to cosmetic surgery, there is a personal obligation to reflect a little on what it will actually accomplish.”

Unregulated beauty clinics pose dangers

No longer taboo, plastic surgery is a part of our culture and here to stay. The rising demand for tummy tucks, dermal fillers, laser skin treatments and other aesthetic enhancements has fueled an uptick in “beauty clinics” and Medi-spas, which have created a largely unchecked industry. Those who provide cosmetic and plastic surgery treatments are supposed to screen patients for obvious red flags such as body dysmorphic disorder, depression and other indicators of a bad surgical candidate. But many providers concede that it’s difficult to turn down patients when they’ve just invested thousands of dollars in the latest laser equipment and need to keep a clinic financially solvent. 

According to Srivastava’s research, unregulated cosmetic and beauty clinics are booming, offering procedures ranging from fillers and Botox injections to breast implants and face lifts. Men and women who are already inclined to fix a perceived “flaw” or physical imperfection are easily persuaded by polished websites that promise easy makeovers that will restore their youthful waistlines, or pre-baby figures.

Botched plastic surgery all too common

Some plastic surgeons that specialize in fixing “botched” jobs performed by other, less qualified or unlicensed doctors, understand that many patients don’t take the time to check their surgeon’s accreditation and training beforehand. A large number of these patients have taken medical tourism vacations abroad to have plastic surgery in Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries where prices are up to 60 percent cheaper. While they may have saved thousands of dollars, many end up with disfiguring scars, botched nose jobs and breast implants, and infections that can be life-threatening in nature. Reconstructive operations are typically costly and painful, and patients may never fully recover from cosmetic surgery gone wrong.

In this unchecked industry, “the potential for tears is as boundless as our longing to look good,” says Srivastava, who stresses the importance of being your own patient advocate and asking about the risks of any type of surgical procedure.

Like her board-certified colleagues in New York City, Dr. B. Aviva Preminger encourages all prospective patients to ask candid questions and stay informed about the benefits and risks of plastic surgery – even minor lunch-hour treatments. To learn more about Dr. Preminger’s training and accreditation, or to schedule an appointment in her Park Avenue office, please call (212) 706-1900.