Skimmers and Pretenders

Posted by Dr. Buncke on April 9th, 2012 in Choosing a Surgeon

Time and again I have witnessed complications stemming from cosmetic surgery, and often it is due to the fact that patients have entrusted themselves with what I call “skimmers and pretenders.”

Don’t get me wrong – there are a number of fine cosmetic surgeons – surgeons from whom we receive referrals when our reconstructive skills can help. Skimmers and pretenders, however, are out there, and they often do more damage than good.

The skimmers and pretenders are cosmetic surgeons who have only performed the very basic procedures and are barely able to promote legal operations. They boast proficiency, when in reality they only accept the simplest of cases. It is important that a potential patient be aware of these hazards when looking for a capable surgeon.

Skimmers tend to do a lot of Botox injections, something that is relatively simple but also high in demand; however, the simplicity does not lessen the possible dangers. Skimmers may also perform un-demanding cosmetic surgeries, such as blepharoplasty. This relatively easy surgery includes repairing droopy eyelids by removing excess skin, muscle and fat. Over a six-month period,  a skimmer will have done an incredibly low number of surgeries while still bringing in a substantial sum of money.

Pretenders also concern me greatly. Pretenders are people who are not necessarily trained in plastic surgery, yet they assume that their knowledge in other areas establishes them as equipped to perform the specialized procedures cosmetic and reconstructive surgeons are trained to perform. At this point, it becomes a patient safety issue when those who are not well-trained pretend to be efficient plastic surgeons.

I see the negative effects of such practices when these types of predators finally decide to step over their boundaries. Typically, they are stationed within their comfort zone and only do procedures they are certain they can perform, but eventually, they attempt procedures that they really have no business doing. When they cause more damage, a reconstructive surgeon like me or one of my colleagues must step in to repair damage from procedures that should have never been attempted.

You can protect yourself from skimmers and pretenders. Start by asking questions. Ask your potential doctor what operations he or she has been trained to perform. Also, ask your doctor if there are any procedures that he or she is not capable of performing or has not yet performed.

I do not believe that these skimmers and pretenders are prolific in our field, but they do make a point of being visible, and they detract from our entire industry. Whether you are having surgery for cosmetic reasons or because of accidental disfigurement, birth defect, or post-cancer reconstruction, seek the skills and experience in your surgeon that will ensure a positive experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rendered template: single.php