03 November 2011

AADA responds to South Florida Sun-Sentinel article on cosmetic surgery

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Oct. 24, 2011) —

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Letters to the Editor
200 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your online clarification to the recent article, “Beware ‘white-coat deception’ with unqualified plastic surgeons,” which drew attention to the growing number of non-physicians and other doctors performing cosmetic surgery outside their scope of training. As your clarification noted, the article included an untrue and misleading comment about dermatologists and their credentials to perform surgery.

Board-certified dermatologists have the medical and surgical education and experience to perform cosmetic surgery, including mandatory instructional and hands-on training in surgical procedures during their residency. Dermatologists are committed to patient safety and have pioneered many advances in cosmetic surgery, including tumescent liposuction, laser surgery and hair transplantation. Research confirms that tumescent liposuction, which uses local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia, is the safest form of this surgery when performed by a medical doctor with the proper education, training and expertise.

The Florida Board of Medicine requires doctors’ offices to report complications and deaths that occur during or after a cosmetic surgery. A published review of that data over the last decade confirms the safety record of dermatologists: none have been involved in any cosmetic procedures resulting in complications or deaths.

The best way you can protect yourself when considering any medical procedure is to be an informed patient. It is important to confirm a doctor’s particular board certification, but perhaps even more important to find a doctor who specializes in the specific procedure you are considering. Make sure this is a procedure that the doctor performs often and ask to speak with other patients who have had the procedure. If the doctor won’t give you this information, then find another doctor.

With so many doctors and others providing cosmetic surgery, patients must do their homework. A patient's health and safety depend on it.


Ronald L. Moy, MD, FAAD, President
American Academy of Dermatology Association 

Richard G. Bennett, MD, President
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association 

Kristin W. Smallwood, MD, FAAD, President
Florida Society for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery 

N. Fred Eaglstein, D.O., FAAD, President
Florida Society of Dermatologic Surgeons