The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) has issued a warning to all individuals seeking less expensive cosmetic surgical procedures, particularly outside their home country, and especially in the hands of unlicensed practitioners operating without board certification. In light of two recent deaths of UK citizens who traveled to other countries to have cosmetic procedures performed by un-certified practitioners, ISAPS is also calling for global changes in legislation to address these unnecessary and tragic deaths in an effort to insure a higher level of patient safety.
"Cosmetic surgery abroad can be incredibly risky because the standards vary from one country to the next. It is essential that patients find board-certified plastic surgeons, regardless of where they have a procedure performed," noted Susumu Takayanagi, MD, President of ISAPS. "Patient safety is our highest priority. ISAPS membership is exclusive to board-certified plastic surgeons who must be current members of their national plastic surgery society."
Over five years ago, ISAPS established a symbol of patient safety, a diamond comprised of four factors that are critical to the practice of safe aesthetic plastic surgery:
- Choosing the Right Procedure
- Patient Risk Factors
- Choosing the Surgeon
- Safe Surgical Facility
"Patients fall prey to unlicensed physicians because of the misconception that anyone with an MD can safely perform any surgical procedure. There is a need for countries to establish strict regulations controlling who can perform plastic surgery procedures and the surgical setting in which they are performed in order to reduce surgical complications and deaths," says Michael C. Edwards, M.D., chair of the ISAPS Patient Safety Committee and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Nigel Mercer, M.D., president of the European Association of Societies of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (EASAPS), deputy president of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says, "Any patient who is planning to travel long distance for aesthetic surgery must be made aware that they are putting themselves at additional risk over and above the risks that they would face finding a certified surgeon closer to home. If they insist on traveling to another country, it is imperative that they choose a licensed surgeon who will provide them with service, post-operative care and advice, not just an operation. The only way to find board-certified surgeons internationally is on the ISAPS website. Patients should also be advised to ask the practitioner what insurance the surgeon carries in case they face complications following their procedure."