American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

ASPS Global Survey Sheds Light on Cosmetic Surgery Practice and Regulation Challenges

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Global Leadership Forum (GLF) mission is to advance patient education and promote high standards in plastic surgery across the world through international partnerships. Earlier this year, the GLF surveyed plastic surgeons in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania to assess the current state of cosmetic surgery practice and regulation in their 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.

On the subject of 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 remains dedicated to upholding high standards in plastic surgery nationally and internationally and investing in the education and safety of patients around the globe.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 11,000 physician members worldwide, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 92 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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