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How should I choose a doctor to perform a cosmetic treatment?

Everyone has heard horror stories about burns, scars, crazy amounts of pain. The most common complications, according to a recent medical survey, are from laser hair removal, chemical peels, and wrinkle-filler injections. The most common cause? Untrained, unqualified practitioners. A growing part of skilled dermatologists’ practices involves fixing mistakes made by them.

  • The most important thing you can do is to make sure anyone who treats your skin is properly trained. Credentials posted on a Web site or even framed on a wall aren’t always as impressive as they may look. It’s simple and free to find out if MDs are board certified in their specialty, which is the universal gold standard. Go to the American Board of Medical Specialties Web site to confirm that a doctor is board certified in dermatology or plastic surgery (or neurology or any other specialty on the planet).
  • There are other sites where you can check out specific information about physicians, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. However, I’m leery of most of them. It’s too easy to post misleading information; for instance, healthgrades.com only tells you whether any malpractice suits have been brought against a doctor, not whether the physician won or lost the suit. Imagine if you were unjustly sued and won the case but the only thing anyone knew was that you’d been sued!

Frankly, I’m much more concerned about walk-in plastic-surgery offices in malls that make getting an acid peel or a wrinkle injection seem as easy as buying a T-shirt at The Gap. Not true! I don’t think injecting a needle into someone’s face should ever be treated that casually.

  • Finally, don’t let phenomenally low prices anywhere lure you in; they’re probably too good to be safe.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.