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All the doctors at this practice are wonderful! Dr. White spent a ton of time diagnosing something that was complicated and continually checked up ...

Dec 18, 2012

USA Today's Portrayal Does a Grave Disservice to Consumers


The American Society of Dermatologic Surgeons submitted a letter to the editor of USA Today in response to the article, "Lack of training can be deadly in cosmetic surgery" published 9/13/11.

Drs. White and Woodall agree wholeheartedly with ASDS' view that the article's portrayal does a grave disservice to consumers by emphasizing plastic surgeons as the only qualified providers of cosmetic surgery.

Please read the letter below:

To the Editor:

The recent article "Lack of training can be deadly in cosmetic surgery" by Jayne O'Donnell gave inaccurate information by emphasizing plastic surgeons as the only qualified providers of cosmetic surgery. This is simply not the case and does a grave disservice to consumers. Her article neglected to include the fact that dermatologic surgeons are physicians who also receive training in a variety of cosmetic surgical procedures, such as liposuction, during their residencies and are therefore a safe and expert choice for consumers seeking cosmetic procedures.

In fact, dermatologic surgeons developed the local anesthesia tumescent technique of liposuction to ensure patient safety in the mid-1980s. This technique when performed by a qualified physician has been proven safer than liposuction performed under general anesthesia. According to a new study on office based surgery in the journal Dermatologic Surgery (in press), data compiled from the mandatory reporting of office surgical complications by Florida and Alabama physicians over ten and six years, respectively, show that the majority of liposuction procedures that resulted in adverse events were performed under general anesthesia. A recent report estimated that the fatality rate for liposuction under general anesthesia is as high as 1 in 5224. As liposuction remains one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures in the United States, the study's authors contend that the continued use of general anesthesia for liposuction must be investigated.

In addition to liposuction, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) members have also pioneered and perform many safe and effective non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels, injectable fillers, laser skin resurfacing and other anti-aging and restorative procedures. To ensure patient safety during these types of procedures, the ASDSA believes that cosmetic surgery procedures should only be performed by physicians with the proper training attained through qualified residency and fellowship programs, such as dermatology residencies.

Ms O'Donnell also gives consumers a false sense of security by emphasizing board certification as a way to ensure safety during cosmetic procedures. While board certification provides important information about a physician it does not necessarily relate to the procedure being performed. In some states, physicians can advertise that they are "board certified" without specifying the specialty or certifying body.  The gold standard that consumers should check for is that the physician is board certified by a board that is either an American Board of Medical Specialties member board or American Osteopathic Association certifying board.   The physician should be able to provide the name of the board that has certified him or her, and it should be one that is relevant to the procedure being performed.

But consumers must also understand that board certification alone is not a guarantee of safety. Before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, they should research their physician's credentials to make sure that he or she has the appropriate board certification, has experience in performing the procedure safely and will actually be the person performing the procedure.


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

The Palmetto Skin & Laser Center is staffed by two board-certified dermatologists, certified by the American Board of Dermatology, who are also Fellows of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.

As Dr. Bennett suggests, please check out the credentials of both Dr. White and Dr. Woodall and our AAAHC-certified facility. And as always, ask us questions, check our references and our testimonials.

Trust the doctors the doctors trust!

If you are interested in learning more about skin cancer treatments, skin cancer surgery, medical dermatology or cosmetic dermatology in the Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina metro area, click here to request an appointment with Dr. Timothy Woodall, Dr. Richard White, or Ms. Kristin Berka. Or you can call our office, The Palmetto Skin & Laser Center, at (803) 329-6030 to schedule your appointment.