No, you don’t need the best plastic surgeon to administer cosmetic injections, but according to Dr. Steve Laverson of San Diego, CA, a good plastic surgeon offers you the best value. Here’s why: The successful approach to patient care in modern medicine and in aesthetic surgery are identical. Application of this approach to aesthetic problems depends on the mature judgment and a sound fund of knowledge, and is, therefore, best practiced by the most highly trained and experienced professionals, namely, plastic surgeons.
The first step is data collection and processing. Signs, symptoms, laboratory, and imaging information is evaluated in the doctor’s mind to establish a diagnosis. The plastic surgeon’s trained eye conducts a survey that registers cephalometrics, features of contour aging, textural aging, and other spatial elements about which lesser trained providers are simply unaware. Information gathering and processing for diagnosis is more meaningful when performed in the context of a knowledge base grown over many years by comprehensive training and testing in basic physical, chemical, biologic, and medical sciences leading to the M.D. degree and inhuman aesthetics leading to certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The first step, diagnosis of the problem, is followed by a second step, treatment. Treatment is most effective when supported by broad medical knowledge, technical skills, compassion developed during intense surgical training, and by clinical experience. Only the plastic surgeon possesses the deep understanding of human tissues required to sculpt with this media. Treatment may be medical (drugs), surgical (procedures), a combination of medical and surgical, and may involve other modalities, such as laser energy. The plastic surgeon, unique among providers as a practitioner of both medical and surgical aesthetic treatments, understands the limitations of non-surgical options, where their benefits end, and the indications for surgery begin. For example, the “MedSpa” nurse treating the typical 62-year-old with Botox® and wrinkle fillers is likely wasting time and money that could be more wisely invested in the profound improvement possible only by surgical rejuvenation.
In the third step of patient management, the effects of treatment are monitored and adjusted based upon patient response. A poor response to initial treatment may mandate changing to alternative therapy. This results-oriented sequence is designed to identify and correct medical problems and becomes a habit for seasoned physicians and surgeons. As it turns out, the same process works best for the diagnosis and management of cosmetic problems. Plastic surgeons are the most expert cosmetic specialists with the highest performance standards. Other providers such as nurses, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and non-plastic surgeon physicians simply do not have the tools at their disposal to offer patients the choices and technical expertise that plastic surgeons provide. Although the cost for a nurse and for a plastic surgeon to use cosmetic injectables is similar in most markets, the benefits patients receive from treatment by the vastly more knowledgeable professional, although perhaps intangible, is significant.
Nurses and other lesser trained and lesser qualified professionals may be capable of injecting your Botox® well as anyone, and for many people achieve a satisfactory result. But value for patients depends not only upon the injection itself, but also upon the best dose, dimensional distribution in the treated area to restore a youthful, beautiful, and natural result, and upon thorough consideration of whether or not an alternative treatment will better meet your needs.
Dr. Steve Laverson is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is the principal surgeon at Feel Beautiful, a Plastic Surgery Center in North San Diego County since 1993. For more information, call his office at 858-295-4001