The ASPS Global Leadership Forum (GLF) aims to promote high standards in plastic surgery worldwide through international partnerships and patient education. Recently, they conducted a survey of plastic surgeons from Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania to evaluate the current state of cosmetic surgery practice and regulation in their respective countries and regions.

The survey was sent to 2,553 plastic surgeons across 22 countries and focused on understanding the impacts to the specialty from non-physicians and/or physicians across the globe who did not train in plastic surgery but perform plastic surgery procedures. Respondents were further asked to provide input on how such practices affect patient safety worldwide. 

The survey’s objectives also sought to identify knowledge of and implications for regulatory agencies in determining the scope of practice for physicians and nonphysicians in each country.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Most countries have a regulatory entity, but some face regulations that vary by region or lack a regulatory agency entirely.
  • Responses were mixed on whether the regulatory entities in their country specifically govern professional titles or advertising.
  • Many respondents stated they believe there are no restrictions for noncertified plastic surgeons performing cosmetic surgery in their location.
  • Most respondents have the opinion that injectables should be restricted to trained physicians and view fillers and neurotoxins as cosmetic medical treatments.

The results also underscore a widespread issue of patients consulting trained plastic surgeons after undergoing procedures by under-trained or non-medical professionals. Many note patients present with additional complications or harm resulting from procedures performed by undertrained or non-medical professionals in their country.

Regarding advertising, responses indicated challenges plastic surgeons face in differentiating themselves from uncertified counterparts. Although these plastic surgeons indicate they use credentials and accreditations in social media messaging, the high-volume use of social media by untrained professionals and influencers continues to blur these lines in the patient audience worldwide.

ASPS officials say they remain dedicated to upholding high standards in plastic surgery nationally and internationally and investing in the education and safety of patients around the globe.