I recently saw an article about a cosmetic procedure gone wrong because a woman received an inappropriately applied cosmetic treatment – not from a board-certified dermatologist, but from a family practitioner who had taken a few weekend courses.
Unfortunately, cases like this are popping up all over the country. Patients are having cosmetic procedures done by people who aren’t trained adequately to perform them, including dentists and podiatrists. All for one reason: cost.
The primary goal of cosmetic procedures is to help you look your best. But to get a good result, a provider must select the right procedure for the situation and that procedure must be performed correctly. Not just anyone should inject Botox™ into your forehead or laser your face.
Consider this analogy: Imagine you have an antique car with some rust spots and dents that needs repairs and new paint. Do you select a house painter who knows how to paint a house, but has little or no training for painting cars? Do you select a mechanic whose expertise is in the inner workings of the car but is willing to try painting it? Or do you select the body shop down the street that has the knowledge, training and experience to restore antique cars? Does it matter that the house painter or mechanic will charge half what the body shop would? Of course not! While anyone could probably slap some paint on the car, most people would agree that selecting the body shop will yield the best result.
I believe the same concept applies to cosmetic procedures. Your best chance at a successful cosmetic procedure will come from a physician with specific, extensive training in cosmetic procedures. Dermatologists undergo extensive 3+ years of training dedicated to skin health and aesthetics. Why trust just anyone to perform procedures on your face and skin?
Keep in mind, any procedure can have complications. Due to this reality, it’s important that your physician has the training and experience to recognize the early signs of the complications and know how to deal with them. Unfortunately, some physicians and other healthcare personnel offer these services with little experience, training or oversight. This can increase the risk of complications that they don’t even know how to deal with.
Patients often ask me about deeply discounted cosmetic procedures and products they see advertised elsewhere. While it is theoretically possible to get an acceptable result, the risks of complications or a less than optimal result are greatly increased. Complications are real and some are permanent. Some examples, some of which are pointed out in the link above, include permanent scarring, infections, permanent color change (pigmentation) and even blindness.
The greatest risk is a less than optimal result. Sure, you may save a few bucks on the first procedure. But if you didn’t get the results you expected and you require additional procedures, you ultimately end up spending more money for substandard results.
Take this real life example: While living in New York City, a patient ended up paying thousands of dollars for multiple laser treatments from a non-dermatologist to get rid of stubborn blood vessels around the nose. After minimal results, the patient consulted a dermatologist who, due to extensive training, fully understood the laser procedures, including how and why they worked, proper settings for a particular situation, etc. This patient achieved nearly complete clearance with just one treatment.
So how do you make the right decision on who to select for your cosmetic procedures? The answer is simple. Start with research. Seek a physician who has extensive training and experience. Go to the American Academy of Dermatology’s website and find a board-certified dermatologist. Check your healthcare provider’s board certification and additional training. Find out where they did a residency or fellowship to see if they had training in cosmetic procedures.
Bottom line: Find a real expert – you and your face deserve it!
Matthew Molenda, MD, FAAD, is a ProMedica Physician specializing in dermatology and dermatologic surgery. Prior to moving back to his hometown, Toledo, he completed his dermatology residency training at The Ohio State University, and pursued a fellowship in advanced surgical training at the Cleveland Clinic Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute. He has special interests in skin cancer, skin surgery, cosmetic surgery, lasers, injectable cosmetics, sun damage, and acne management.