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Buyer Beware – Choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon

Do your research before choosing a cosmetic surgeon or a non-surgical cosmetic procedure.
A wide range of cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures are available for women who want to enhance their appearance. But not all surgeons have the same level of skill, training and experience.

“About 20 to 30 percent of my patients come to me after having disappointing experiences with other doctors,” said Bruce Chau, D.O., F.A.C.O.S., a board-certified plastic surgeon with DMC Women’s Health Services. “I’ve also found many patients are disappointed with the outcomes of non-surgical cosmetic procedures, which often don’t live up to the advertising hype.”

Browse through the pages of any local newspaper or magazine and you’ll find doctors advertising “cosmetic surgery” procedures — everything from breast augmentation and liposuction to facelifts and eyelid procedures. But some of these doctors do not specialize in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

“A doctor may say he or she is board certified, but you need to make sure that doctor is actually board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,” said Dr. Chau. “I’ve seen doctors who are board certified in things like Family Medicine or Emergency Medicine, but they are advertising that they can perform cosmetic surgery procedures.”

Doctors can learn how to perform a few cosmetic surgery procedures by attending weekend classes or seminars. “But there’s a big difference between attending a weekend class and having two to three years of specialized training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, after a full General Surgery residency,” Dr. Chau said.

When choosing a cosmetic surgeon and a procedure, it’s wise to do some research in advance.

  • Ask if the surgeon is board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. If they are board certified in a specialty other than Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, find out why they feel qualified to perform cosmetic surgery procedures.

  • Find out how many times the surgeon has performed the procedure you are selecting. Studies show that the more times a surgeon has performed a procedure, the better his/her outcomes tend to be.
  • Does the surgeon perform his/her procedures in a hospital or in his/her office?  For optimal patient safety and quality, most cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures should be performed in a hospital or hospital-affiliated surgery center — not a private doctor’s office.
  • Be skeptical of any non-surgical cosmetic procedure that claims to produce results comparable to surgical procedures. For example, many women have been disappointed by results of non-surgical procedures advertised as “non-surgical face lifts.”
  • Find a surgeon that is capable of performing a wide variety of procedures, not just one or two different procedures. No two women are alike and it’s important to find a surgeon who can personalize his/her approach for you.  

Board certified plastic surgeons at DMC Women’s Health Services offer the full range of cosmetic, plastic and reconstructive surgical procedures, including:

  • Breast augmentation, reduction or lift
  • Endoscopic brow lift
  • Eyelid surgery
  • Nose surgery
  • Face or neck lift
  • Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction (UAL)
  • Vaser®-Assisted High-Definition Liposculpturing (VAHDL)
  • Tummy tuck

A variety of proven non-surgical cosmetic procedures are also available, including:

  • BOTOX® Cosmetic
  • Chemical peels
  • Dermal fillers
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Contour thread lift

For more information, contact the cosmetic and plastic surgery experts at DMC Women’s Health Services at 1-888-DMC-2500.


Facts and Tips on Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery


  • 13.8 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures (both surgical and minimally-invasive) were performed in the United States in 2011, up 5 percent from 2010.
  • 5.5 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed last year, up 5 percent from 2010.
  • Cosmetic
  • surgical procedures increased 2 percent, with nearly 1.6 million procedures in 2011. The top five surgical procedures were:
    • Breast augmentation (307,000 procedures, up 4 percent)
    • Nose reshaping (244,000 procedures, down 3 percent)
    • Liposuction (205,000 procedures, up 1 percent)
    • Eyelid surgery (196,000 procedures, down 6 percent)
    • Facelift (119,000 procedures, up 5 percent)
  • Non-surgical cosmetic procedures increased 6 percent, with nearly 12.2 million procedures in 2011. The top five non-surgical procedures were:
    • BOTOX® Cosmetic (5.7 million procedures, up 5 percent)
    • Soft tissue fillers (1.9 million procedures, up 7 percent)
    • Chemical peel (1.1 million procedures, down 3 percent)
    • Laser hair removal (1.1 million procedures, up 15 percent)
    • Microdermabrasion (900,000 procedures, up 9 percent
  • Before choosing a surgeon and a procedure, ask if the surgeon is board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
  • For optimal patient safety and quality, most cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures should be performed in a hospital or hospital-affiliated surgery center — not a private doctor’s office.
Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)

Dr. Bruce Chau
Dr. Chau is a board certified plastic surgeon with 15 years experience in cosmetic facial surgery, breast enhancements and body contouring with ultrasound-assisted liposuction.

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and his medical degree from Western University of Pomona, California. After completing seven years of residency training in general surgery and burn and plastic/reconstructive surgery in New York and Iowa, he went on to complete a fellowship in aesthetic surgery under the direction of world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Flowers in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Dr. Chau is a clinical faculty member at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and a program director for plastic surgery residency. Additionally, he is past chairman of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS) Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Discipline, as well as a member of the board of examiners for the ACOS Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Certification Examination. Dr. Chau has presented nationally and authored numerous medical articles on topics such as breast surgery and liposuction. 

Related DMC Services
DMC Sinai Grace Cosmetics Center
DMC Harper University Hospital Plastic and Hand Surgery 











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