How to Avoid Black Market Plastic Surgeons

After the PIP scandal that took the nation by storm just this year and thousands of women were forced to have their breast implants removed and replaced at vast expense and the risk of further scarring. The UK, which was one of the main problematic areas the crisis took hold of, only provided removal from their National Health Service and not replacement which left those who struggled financially facing the decision whether to put their life at risk by keeping the implants in, or have them removed and with a potential fate of being horribly disfigured as a result.

The PIP Scandal

How did this mass crisis be allowed to happen on such a large scale? How could PIP possibly fool a whole nation? Unfortunately these questions are not a rarity among surgery misgivings. What’s poses the most frightening question of all are the hundreds of thousands more cases of black market surgeons and procedures that appear unavoidable in today’s current economic climate – is there simply no way the public can be kept safe? Medical procedures are no longer a thing of necessity and are often related to aesthetics, consequently surgeons are becoming equally more demanding and greedy taking advantage of the nations lust after perfection increasing their fees to ever more willing to pay customers – the result of this for many however, is that the average consumer becomes and more likely to turn to black market procedures that are skilfully advertised to have a professional oeuvre that lures the unsuspecting, desperate victims into their trap.

Finding a Reputable Surgeon

So how can a highly skilled and equally qualified, reputable surgeon actually be acquired? The first thing to initially ensure upon your quest is that any surgeon you consult with is a member of the ASPS. That means that they will belong to The American Society for Plastic Surgery, this is the typical mark of distinction for the ability to perform cosmetic procedure in America. Surgeons that specialise in other procedures that are not purely aesthetic should also be recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA). As with all procedures an initial consultation is required – many plastic surgery companies frequently advertise free consultations which can be very tempting to potential customers but are not always the right path to go down as although more than one consultation is advisable, the free options are not always provided by the more qualified surgeons as a consultation frequently lasts for more than an hour; more experienced surgeons need to justify the extensive use of their time. Reputable companies will also do a thorough consultation and examination rather than the free options that do not charge for their time and consequently have less of it to spare.

Brands Surgeons Use

When considering what surgeon or surgical business to go with, it is also very important to check what brands the company as an entirety use or the brands the individual surgeon works with if they differ. The use of uncertified products was the problem with the faulty breast implant scare that swept the nation earlier this year with the infamous brand PIP. All brands should have all their products FDA approved (The United States Food and Drug Administration), and if a surgeon is using a brand of a product which is not FDA approved that should also bring you to question the credibility of the surgeon. Many patients opt to go abroad for their surgery due to the attractive lower costs incurred with many overseas procedures. PIP implants actually held a CE approval which is a European label of industrial approval opposed to the American FDA mark. Every medical product in America, let alone something as serious as a medical implant, must be FDA approved before it is fit for public use; even things as simple as items you can purchase over the counter at your local LA drug store should be FDA approved. The procedure for this approval is said to be more rigorous and arduous than the European CE approval. So if you’re travelling abroad for surgery and have done what you think is enough research as you can into the company you choose and the surgeon you desire, all the regulations, even if they appear to be legal, are of a very different standard to those you would take for granted back home. Having surgery abroad is very much like a lottery, you could get lucky but then again, you might not – gambling with your body is never a wise idea, especially when the odds are as poor as they are.


In 2008 America spent $10.4 billion dollars on elective surgery alone and shockingly some of the black market surgeons attempted to fraudulently use health insurance to pay for some of their procedures. One young woman told a heart wrenching tale of how she felt she was being branded alive with a laser hair removal procedure under her armpits. The surgeon had absolutely no idea what he was doing and gave the patient 3rd degree burns from which she will be left scarred for life. The key to her being aware she was picking a shoddy surgeon is the fact that he was offering this obviously elective surgery free of charge claiming that most health insurances covered the bill. It was later revealed that the company responsible had billed the patients insurance for varicose veins in her legs, which is something the patient had never suffered from in her life. The only way to insure you are going with a reputable surgeon if you are offered such a deal is to contact your insurance or the source of payment directly to check that everything is covered as it says it is in the contract; only then can you be sure that everything is legitimate.

One last invaluable piece of advice that can be offered to someone seeking a surgeon is to use the power of the internet. It sounds like a very simple thing to do and practically common sense but you should not take your initial findings too seriously until you have sufficiently trawled the web forforums that provide mixed reviews and are not advertisements. All forums from past patients will be mixed as a lot of people are hard to please, but what you need to do is find a surgeon that has a good range of reviews where the positives outweigh the negatives. Don’t let the odd bad review put you off completely as no surgeon is flawless and the odd negative review is actually a good thing to find on a forum site as it shows the content is genuine and not fabricated to make the doctor look good.

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