The Asociación Costarricense de Cirujanos Plásticos (Costa Rican Association of Plastic Surgeons) confirms there are only 52 plastic surgeons duly recognized in the country and is asking the public to be informed before being wheeled into the operating room.
Every day across the country hundreds submit themselves to all kinds of surgeries, among the most common are breast augmentation (implants).
Along with the Asociación, doctors are asking the public to be fully informed about the surgery and the doctor who will be procedure, to ensure that the practitioner is properly identified and registered.
Plastic surgery is a medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery, most plastic surgery is not cosmetic; plastic surgery includes many types of reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.
Would you go to an obstetrician to have a breast augmentation? How about a general surgeon for a facelift? Should an ear, nose, and throat doctor perform your tummy tuck? If you think these questions are ridiculous, think again. Every day in Costa Rica, non-plastic surgeons are performing these procedures.
The lack of regulation has allowed an increasing number of doctors of all types — including gynecologists, general surgeons and even emergency medicine physicians — to perform tummy tucks, liposuction, facelifts and breast enhancement.
These procedures are almost never performed in real hospitals. Hospitals typically vet their surgeons and allow them to practice only within their field of training and expertise. Doctors get around this by performing cosmetic procedures in their own in-office operating rooms or at ambulatory surgery centers, where the credentialing requirements may not be as strict.
So why do so many doctors reject their chosen specialty and remake themselves as plastic surgeons?
One word: money.