MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) In a WMBF News Special Report, we're learning that not asking the right questions when you go to a cosmetic surgeon, can lead to not only dissatisfaction, but maybe even disfigurement. Some are now calling the cosmetic surgery field the wild west -- with few laws and no sheriff.
In the Grand Strand, where the sun is shining, the beaches go farther than the eye can see, being bikini ready is pretty much every day. That's why men and women flock to plastic surgeons like Dr. Ralph Cozart.
"The most common surgery I do is breast implant surgery and breast lift. I do a lot of liposuctions and body contouring procedures like tummy tucks and this time of the year is a time a lot of patients are doing it because they want to get ready for the summer and look good in that bikini," says Dr. Ralph Cozart, a board certified surgeon with the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
But what you may not realize is there's actually very few regulations in the industry. There are no laws in the United States that require doctors to practice only within their specialized fields. Which means, you could find an ear doctor performing face lifts; Gynecologists offering breast augmentations and even family practice physicians giving Botox.
When you consider plastic and cosmetic surgeons, you may think it's the same thing, but it's not. A plastic surgeon requires five to seven years of hospital residency while a cosmetic surgeon can receive accreditation within as little as a weekend course.
Dr. Cozart says, "Doctors who aren't plastic surgeons are doing liposuction procedures or breast augmentations in their office on the local level. I don't know the total number but there are some in this area. State wide there are probably dozens; nationwide there are probably thousands."
In just the past three years, Dr. Cozart says he's completed 50 revision surgeries.
"I've seen skin burns from the laser, irregular contour, a lot of scarring from smart lipo that I've had to correct," admits Cozart.
And he's faced with fixing the mistakes of others. Including Candace Holladay who was disappointed with her procedure done by a non board certified surgeon years ago.
"I showed him what areas I had a problem with and he told me he could fix them no problem," says Holladay.
When you're considering any type of body altering procedure, there are questions you need to ask.
1) Is the person responsible for your procedure a board certified plastic surgeon?
2) Does he / she have hospital privileges?
3) Is their operating room certified? Hospitals act as a second set of eyes that overlook your potential surgeon's education before giving them access to the hospital facilities.
4) Ask how long they've been certified to do the cosmetic surgery you're looking for. Just like finding the best heart surgeon, you want someone with real experience to ensure a positive outcome.
Questions Candace Holladay wishes she would have known to ask years ago.
"My message would be for people to do their research. That's one thing I didn't know seven years ago. I didn't know the difference between a board certified plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon and that's a huge deal," warns Holladay.
Only Texas, California, Louisiana and Florida mandate that doctors be specific in their advertising about which board certifications they have. WMBF News found seven certified plastic surgeons recognized by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons within the Myrtle Beach area and three in Florence. Bottom line, take the time to do you're homework before going under the knife.
Dr. Cozart says consider it a red flag if the first time you meet your surgeon is the day you're going under the knife. He says you should meet with him or her to discuss all your options before you decide to move forward with your surgery.
Use the links above to find a surgeon near your area or you can search by name to find out if the doctor you're dealing with is in fact certified.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:28 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:28:23 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Police are searching for a suspect after one man was shot on South Church Street in Florence early Tuesday morning, according to Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler. At about 1:40More >>
Police are searching for a suspect after one man was shot on South Church Street in Florence early Tuesday morning, according to Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:17 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:17:36 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Construction for an ocean outfall project is set to begin Tuesday. Areas of Myrtle Beach ocean water is under advisory because of the high levels of bacteria. The ocean outfallMore >>
Construction for an ocean outfall project is set to begin Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:15:26 GMT
MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF)-Restaurants along the Murrells Inlet Waterfront prepare for the off-season after Labor Day Weekend. Local restaurants admit to having a love-hate relationship with Labor Day. Wahoo'sMore >>
Restaurants along the Murrells Inlet Waterfront prepare for the off-season after Labor Day Weekend.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 8:45 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:45:07 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are headed to the postseason after earning a walkoff win on the final day of the regular season thanks to Luis Mendez's single in the bottom of theMore >>
After winning on a walkoff in the final day of the season, the birds will spend all week at Ticketreturn.com Field.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 8:00 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:00:35 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Tilted Kilt restaurant, located at Broadway at the Beach, is scheduled to close. The last day of business will be September 30, General Manager Beth Sansone confirmed. BurroughsMore >>
Tilted Kilt restaurant, located at Broadway at the Beach, is scheduled to close.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:02:51 GMT
(WMBF) - Several emergency responders and service workers got a surprise when members from the Myrtle Beach area and Florence area Olive Garden delivered lunch on Labor Day. Crews from the North MyrtleMore >>
Several emergency responders and service workers got a surprise when members from the Myrtle Beach area and Florence area Olive Garden delivered lunch on Labor Day.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 5:31 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:31:17 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Labor Day weekend is a big moneymaker for the Grand Strand, meaning all the tourists who spent time here over the long weekend put more money back in our pockets. If you driveMore >>
Labor Day weekend is a big moneymaker for the Grand Strand, meaning all the tourists who spent time here over the long weekend put more money back in our pockets. More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 4:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:54:23 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Fall is prime time for locals to enjoy the beaches without all the crowds. But fewer lifeguards means there won't be as many sets of eyes to watch and keep your family safe. ThisMore >>
Fall is prime time for locals to enjoy the beaches without all the crowds. But fewer lifeguards means there won't be as many sets of eyes to watch and keep your family safe.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 4:35 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:35:29 GMT
Horry County, SC (WMBF) - All around the Grand Strand bags are being packed and cars are being loaded up for the long drive home. Last week's traffic made getting into Myrtle Beach hard enough for some,More >>
All around the Grand Strand, bags are being packed and cars are being loaded up for the long drive home.More >>