Reply: Public Perception of Cosmetic Surgeons versus Plastic Surgeons

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Excerpt

We appreciate receiving a recent letter to the editor from Nuveen et al. in response to our article “Public Perception of Cosmetic Surgeons versus Plastic Surgeons: Increasing Transparency to Educate Patients” (Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017;139:544e–557e).1 We appreciate the authors’ viewpoint and respond to their concerns below.
In reviewing the authors’ letter, we are afraid that the ultimate conclusions of our article were missed, or potentially ignored. The purpose of the article is about the safety of our patients. We are not concerned with, nor did we want to debate, a physician’s scope of practice. Instead, we are unequivocally focused on improving transparency, patient education, and ultimately patient safety for the public interest and welfare. We state this in plain terms within the article:
The reviewers state that “to provide data to support the truth of the premises of this article and its conclusions, we would need a study that evaluated patient safety and outcomes,” but ironically, they make no mention of the data that are actually published within the article. The data are clear in their message: all parties need to educate the public about all facets of aesthetic surgery. As we state in the article:
The reviewers make statements with hyperbolic language that is again, ironically, unsupported by data or fact. They state:
We do not agree with the opinion that the cited assertions are “preposterous” or unsubstantiated. The assertions are simply the truth—there are, in fact, numerous physicians who name themselves plastic surgeons, irrespective of their credentials. Citations from the lay press accurately demonstrate this fact and further delineate how a lack of transparency may have contributed to the untoward outcomes suffered by the patients at hand.
The authors agree wholeheartedly with the suggestion that cooperation will be the only successful method to achieve improvements in our current system. The authors state this within the article:
Ultimately, the reviewers’ desire to focus on a physician’s scope of practice is contrary to the purpose of the article, and their one-sided interpretation of the data clouds the clear fact that patients are confused about who is qualified to perform aesthetic surgery procedures. Although we may have disagreements and differences of opinion, we must all agree that the broader message provided by the data is paramount—our patients are confused, and their safety and education cannot be overlooked.
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