2-for-1 Plastic Surgery…
The UK Mirror is reporting on a new push to regulate the cosmetic surgery industry in Britain. The article cites widespread unethical use of cosmetic surgery including “cut-price deals that don’t allow patients to be refunded if they change their mind, and mother-and-daughter offers – two operations for the price of one.”
It may sound absurd that anyone would sign up for a 2-for-1 deal for something as serious as surgery, but I have actually seen this exact deal in the US. When I was a resident at the University of Michigan, we took care of a patient who fell victim to one of these “mother/daughter” scams. She and her daughter had matching tummy tucks by a surgeon who offered them a 2-for-1 deal. He aggressively liposuctioned her abdominal wall before doing her tummy tuck, which effectively cut off the blood supply to the skin on her belly. She showed up in our emergency room with a dead abdominal wall that had to be completely removed. This left her with a foot-long, gaping wound that required two months of dressing changes and an eventual skin graft to heal. Needless to say, her body is permanently disfigured from her botched operation.
I can tell you with certainty that no ethical, conscientious surgeon would ever offer this kind of gimmick. The same can be said of cosmetic surgery as a raffle prize. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons expressly forbids offering any surgical procedure as a prize. A surgeon who does this risks losing board certification (if they had it in the first place).
The UK National Health Service report brought to light a number of other issues about the lack of regulation in the cosmetic surgery industry. If you read the report, you might be surprised to find out that the U.S. is not much better when it comes to regulation of cosmetic procedures. If you ask me, we need to do better. Perhaps we should follow their lead and take a stand in protecting our patients.