Revolutionizing Safety in Plastic Surgery is the most critical component of cosmetic medicine and surgical care, but how do you know what is safe and what is not? To gain insight into the state of plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments, we sat down with the expert, Robert Singer MD, FACS. Not only is Dr. Singer a leader in his industry, he literally wrote the book on safety in plastic surgery!

With an increase in aggressive marketing efforts, it is difficult to know what is true about these treatments, especially when so many patients are looking for the “magic pill”. However, these procedures are not appropriate for everyone. At the end the day, it is the doctor’s responsibility to serve the patient’s best interests, find the right approach given their medical history, anatomy and emotional state, and even say “no” when necessary. However, the patient also needs to protect themselves by doing their research. To this point, Dr. Singer notes “even in the best facilities and in the best of hands, there are always risks, but it will be much lower with a board-certified plastic surgeon in a an office-based or free-standing surgical facility that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization.”

If you are considering a procedure, you should verify that the doctor has relevant training and they are board-certified, which you can confirm through the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You would be surprised by the lack of nationally standardized regulations for office-based facilities and who can call themselves a plastic surgeon. Treatments that might seem simple, like fillers can have very real risks, especially when performed by someone without the proper training.

You should also find out if there are any actions against the doctor by checking with the Medical Board of California, and whether the office is a surgical facility accredited by the AAAASF, AAAHC, or The Joint Commission. You also want to ensure that the procedure is FDA-approved, that there is valid scientific data about the procedure or technology, that you will be meeting with the doctor before and after the procedure, and that a CRNA or ideally a board-certified anesthesiologist is administering your anesthesia. All these factors play a critical role in minimizing complications. One final factor Dr. Singer urges patients to watch out for is pricing – “Shop for sale prices on your shoes, your sandals, and t-shirts, not your procedures! Even if they are non-invasive, they are still medical procedures with real potential risks.”

Dr. Singer has dedicated his career to safety in plastic surgery, sticking to his guiding principle; “If it is not good enough for my family, it is not good enough for my patients.” He is also incredibly qualified and has undergone extensive training at premier institutions including Stanford and Vanderbilt Universities, is involved in continuing education, has served as President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the AAAASF, and co-edited a book on safety with Dr. Goff Keyes, which has become the gold standard for safety in ambulatory facilities. Additionally, Dr. Singer started the Hot Topics Task Force for The Aesthetic Society (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery), the most prestigious plastic surgery organization to report on safety and efficacy of all new procedures and technology, is a longtime member of the Surgery Supervisory Committee at Scripps Memorial Hospital – La Jolla, and is the co-founder of ASERF, the premier aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgery research foundation.

He is currently focused on raising the bar on safety both in the U.S. and globally by giving presentations and serving on the Safety Task Force for the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery urging the requirement that all members of international plastic surgery organizations only use licensed and accredited facilities. He is frequently requested to moderate plastic surgery panels on topics concerning breasts, eyelids, rhinoplasty, facelifts, fillers, new procedures and general safety in surgery.
All in all, Dr. Singer is passionately leading the revolution for better standards of safety in plastic surgery.