More doctors are branching into cosmetic surgery, and more people are taking advantage of it. Many dermatologists, ear, nose and throat specialists and dentists who operate on the mouth, jaws and face now offer face-lifts and other cosmetic procedures.In the Yellow Pages, the Facial Surgery Center, a group of three oral and maxillofacial surgeons, advertises facial cosmetic surgery and hair implants along with tooth removal, jaw reconstruction and other traditional services.Mountain State Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons kicked off 2004 with a facial cosmetic-surgery promotion: “It’s time! Do something for yourself in this New Year.” A flier featured before-and-after photos of an actual face-lift patient and began with the question, “Are you ready to turn back time?”Surgeons Byron Black, Ken Jackfert and Lee Allen offer Botox and collagen injections, ear tucks, nose surgery, eye surgery, liposuction and other procedures customarily reserved for plastic surgeons. But the work is limited to the head and face.“As part of our training, we do a considerable amount of facial cosmetic surgery,” said Allen, who has double degrees in dentistry and medicine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.
With more professional options available, consumers need to be cautious about credentials, Black said. “To get hospital privileges, you have to have performed a certain number of cases and have documentation. This is the same thing. Dermatologists and ENTs must have additional training. It all comes back to training, whether you have documentation.”“Competition is a fact of life,” said plastic surgeon Ted Jackson. “But if I were going to see a doctor, I would stick to someone specializing in the area I’m concerned about, not someone specializing in something else. You can get into plenty of trouble, even when you know what you’re doing.”Would-be patients should check not only credentials, but results, said longtime Charleston plastic surgeon Augusto Portillo. Word-of-mouth, person-to-person referrals say plenty about a practitioner’s skills, he said. “You can have all kinds of degrees and titles. The important thing is the results.”Plastic surgeon Andy Stewart agrees. “Just because they haven’t gone through a residency doesn’t mean they don’t have good skills. If they’re trained and do good work, you can’t criticize them. It only bothers me if they’re misleading and refer to themselves as plastic surgeons.”To contact staff writer Sandy Wells, use e-mail or call 348-5173.