After Man Loses Nose in Texas, Chicago Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Weinzweig Presses for Tighter Legislation to Protect IL Patients Against Inadequately Trained Physicians Presenting Themselves as Plastic Surgeon-Equivalents.

CHICAGO, IL – Everyone agrees that when one is interested in having plastic surgery performed, the best specialist to enlist for the task would be one certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).  The ABPS is one of only 24 medical specialty boards approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization that is the pre-eminent entity overseeing the certification of physician specialists in the United States.  Only surgeons who have successfully completed the rigors of an accredited plastic surgery residency program can be referred to as ‘plastic surgeons’.  Only such plastic surgeons can be certified by the ABPS.  Further, only plastic surgeons certified by the ABPS can become members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). These are undeniable facts.

This week the press reported that a man filed suit against a surgeon in Texas after he lost his nose after a cosmetic surgical procedure. The surgeon involved in the case is listed as the current President of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Weinzweig explains: “After review of the member listing of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) surgeons in Illinois, not one of the surgeons on the list is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The ABCS is not recognized as an accredited specialty board by the ABMS.  The majority of its members in IL seem to be ENT surgeons, dentists and oral surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery. We do not believe that the public understands that non-accredited boards like the ABCS, in general, are not made up of actual plastic surgeons but instead are made up of doctors of other specialties.

More concerning, the ABCS website insinuates that their doctors are more qualified than plastic surgeons to perform cosmetic surgery.  Specifically, the website states that, ‘Cosmetic surgery is a unique discipline of medicine … Unlike cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects …’  This is ridiculous.  ‘Plastic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘plastikos’ meaning ‘changing form’.  The field of plastic surgery is comprised of two branches: cosmetic (or aesthetic) surgery and reconstructive surgery.  Such statements made on the ABCS website are misrepresentations that benefit physicians who do not have the training, board certification, and qualifications of actual plastic surgeons.”

There are those who believe that weekend courses or ‘fellowships’ provided by other inexperienced ‘trainers’ bestow sufficient skill and experience to render one capable of performing procedures for which they have had no formal or accredited training, and those who believe that the creation of fictitious ‘boards’ can provide the qualifications and validation that the public seeks.  It is ludicrous to believe that either of these scenarios is valid.  In addition, it is important to remember that ‘plastic’ surgery is a specialty, not an adjective.

JW Plastic Surgery Chicago has developed a 3-step checklist to ensure the safety of patients who wish to undergo plastic surgery. This is the list that we would give to family and friends as a start to selecting a plastic surgeon.

1.   Is your plastic surgeon really a plastic surgeon?

Go to the ASPS website ( to confirm ASPS membership and board certification. It is a little known fact that any type of medical doctor can call himself a “plastic” or “cosmetic” surgeon without completing the necessary residency training program.  The vast majority of board certified plastic surgeons have achieved membership in the ASPS.  For those who have not, it would be wise to confirm their plastic surgery training and board status prior to any consultation.

2.    Is the procedure being performed in a licensed or accredited facility?

As the vast majority of cosmetic surgery procedures, such as liposuction or breast augmentation are performed in outpatient surgical facilities, it is paramount to ensure that such facilities are, indeed, accredited to perform these procedures.  Licensed or accredited facilities must follow processes and have policies to ensure that the environment in which care is provided is safe and complies with the standards of an actual surgical facility certifying organization.  The Joint Commission and AAAA are two certifying organizations that most commonly inspect and certify such surgical facilities.

3.    Is your level of sedation during the procedure properly monitored?

Your surgeon should be operating not monitoring your level of sedation during your procedure. There has been a significant rise in the last few years in the use of oral prescription medications to provide sedation rather than monitored forms of intravenous sedation.  If medical professionals truly believe that this level of sedation is appropriate for surgical procedures, such as facelifts and liposuction, then appropriate monitoring of the patient – by anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists – is warranted.

Patients should require that their surgeon is operating while another qualified medical staff member is dedicated to managing their pain and ensuring their level of sedation is safe.  We can think of no reason – other than cutting cost at the expense of patient safety – to not provide adequate personnel to manage intra-operative sedation.

Dr. Jeffrey Weinzweig is planning to work with his local plastic surgery society as well as local legislatures to further tighten regulatory legislation which should be modeled after several states that have enacted strict “Truth in Advertising” laws which disallows the use of “self designated” boards in advertising both in the office and in the media. In addition, he would like to implement legislation to require certification or licensing of office based facilities which, in cosmetic surgery, will ensure the appropriate level of safe care.


Dr. Weinzweig is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and completed his double fellowship training in both craniofacial surgery and hand and wrist surgery.  He is one of the foremost experts, researchers and authors in the field of plastic surgery and has written 5 books and published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and chapters.  Dr. Weinzweig is dedicated to advancing his specialty through education, innovation and service. He is Director of JW Medical Group, which includes JW Plastic Surgery & MedSpa, Headache Response Center, JW Hand Center and JW Men’s Center with locations in Chicago and Highland Park, IL. For additional information please visit




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