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Deciding to undergo plastic surgery is an important decision. Equally important is your choice of plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, any doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgery even though he or she may not have been trained in that procedure. Without the proper education, training, and experience, even relatively “simple” cosmetic surgery procedures can cause catastrophic results, including death.

Last year, a Phoenix physician was convicted of murder and manslaughter for the deaths of three of his “plastic surgery” patients. The physician, Dr. Peter Norman, was not a plastic surgeon, but rather a board-certified internal medicine doctor who also specialized in emergency medicine and dermatology.

Unfortunately, patients receiving plastic surgery procedures from physicians poorly qualified to perform them is not uncommon. For your health and safety, here are some questions you should consider before choosing your plastic surgeon:

Seal of The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)Is your surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)?

About 30 years ago, virtually all cosmetic surgeries were performed by highly trained plastic surgeons. Now, any licensed physician can legally perform cosmetic surgery. Therefore, a cosmetic surgeon may be a dermatologist, general surgeon, obstetrician, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, internist, family practitioner, pediatrician, general practitioner, radiologist, emergency room physician, anesthesiologist, etc. In fact, many cosmetic surgeons have only received training for a particular cosmetic procedure by attending a weekend course.

On the other hand, to be a plastic surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the physician must have completed an approved residency training program in plastic surgery. Certification by the ABPS ensures that the surgeon has completed several ABPS-approved years of  training exclusive to plastic surgery, not just a limited course.

Choosing a surgeon who is certified by the ABPS ensures your plastic surgeon has the education, training, and experience necessary to provide you with the safest and most effective procedure possible.

Seal of the American Society of Plastic SurgeonsIs your surgeon a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)?

The importance of choosing an ASPS surgeon is critical for your health and safety. Look for the ASPS seal at your surgeon’s office. This seal certifies that your surgeon has received the proper education, training, and experience necessary to safely and effectively perform your plastic surgery procedure.

Is your surgeon experienced in performing the specific surgery you wish to have?

The surgeon you choose should have extensive experience performing the specific surgery you wish to have. Some plastic surgeons specialize in facial plastic surgery, including rhinoplasty, facelift, and blepharoplasty. Others may focus on body contouring procedures, such as liposuction, tummy tuck, and breast augmentation. The more often your surgeon performs the specific surgery you want, the more likely he or she is up-to-date on current techniques.

Does your plastic surgeon have privileges at a nearby hospital to perform the procedure you want?

The majority of reputable plastic surgeons have privileges to do plastic surgery in the hospital nearby as well as surgery centers. There are self proclaimed, poorly trained cosmetic surgeons who rarely are allowed surgical privileges in hospitals. They may see patients and treat them medically only and not have privileges to do surgery in the hospital. Hospitals allow surgeons to practice their field of expertise according to standard credentials, such as board certification. Having hospital privileges to do your procedure is another indication of a wise choice. Hospitals know the difference, and they leave the plastic surgery procedures to the actual plastic surgeons.

Dr. Karl Hiatt has privileges to perform plastic surgery at many hospitals and surgery centers, and he is the director of Turning Pointe Surgery Center, which is a private state-of-the-art operating facility that offers the highest levels of comfort and safety for his patients. Turning Pointe Surgery Center is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF), which is recognized as the “Gold Standard” for ensuring the facility meets the highest quality patient care in the ambulatory surgery setting. In addition, Dr. Hiatt works with a board-certified anesthesiologist to provide his patients with the safest procedure possible.

Dr. Karl B. Hiatt is a board-certified plastic surgeon with more than 25 years of experience performing many facial, breast, and body plastic surgery procedures. Dr. Hiatt is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and has been voted a “TOP DOC” by his peers and chosen as the plastic surgeon “doctors would choose for themselves” in a Maricopa county CBS news survey. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Hiatt, please call (480) 844-1410 or fill out our online consultation form. Dr. Hiatt looks forward to meeting you.