“Dr. Body” (Beverly Hills board-certified plastic surgeon Stuart Linder, MD) and his blogging colleague “Dr. Face” (who, in real life, is a Beverly Hills board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon Robert Kotler, MD) keep a weather eye on new rules proposed and passed worldwide that would make American plastic surgery even safer. It’s a little like listening to the old back-and-forth that made Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel so entertaining as movie reviewers. Plastic Surgery’s New Rules?

Dr. Face: Any cosmetic surgeon performing surgery should have hospital privileges. That means the physician must have at least one hospital appointment so that, in an emergency, he can immediately get his patient into a full-service environment.

Dr. Body: Yes, and speaking of hospitals, prospective patients need to know that hospitals are expert in credentialing. Choosing a plastic surgeon who has excellent hospital privileges means that doctor has been fully cleared to perform the procedure – the face lift, the breast augmentation or whatever – you are considering.

Dr. Face:  Another new rule I would like to see is one that requires physicians to advertise their specialty only if they have board certification in that specialty.

Dr. Body: I’ve noticed that, too. Some cosmetic plastic surgeons advertise they are “board certified.” But the certification is in gynecology, internal medicine, neurology or some other discipline not related to the cosmetic plastic surgery arts.

Dr. Face: Muddying the waters even more are non-boards like the Board of Laser Surgery. But the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) only recognizes 23 major medical specialties.

Dr. Body: So it’s up to the consumer to check on the board or ask a potential surgeon during the first consultation: “Which board has certified you?”

Dr. Face:  You can also do that on your computer. Just go to the ABMS website, (http://www.abms.org) register and type the first and last name of the plastic surgeon you are considering into the box on the left that reads “Is Your Doctor Certified.”

Dr. Body: Consumers should do all this because, in America, any physician with a proper medical license can offer plastic surgery.

Read it all.