How Good are the Plastic Surgeons of Reality TV ??
The explosion of reality TV shows on plastic surgery and the public’s thirst for them has been one of the main driving forces behind the large increase in cosmetic surgeries that have been done in the past five years. From Extreme Makeover to Dr 90210 to even Nip Tuck (obviously not a reality TV show…rather unreal….grossly misrepresentative of the average plastic surgeon’s life), the merging of cosmetic surgery with TV has been a very fruitful marriage in terms of viewer interest and ratings.
What is not apparent, however, is the qualifications of the plastic surgeons who are on these shows. As it turns out, some of them are not even board-certified. As I point this out to my patients who frequently ask question about these shows, they are usually quite surprised. How could this be, they ask? The answer is simple……the most important criteria for being on TV is…..appearance, personality, and how one comes across to the public…in short, being comfortable in front of a camera and being pleasing to watch. ‘Acting’ is more important than medical qualifications. After all, it is a TV show first and foremost.
Why would a plastic surgeon not be board-certified in today’s world? They either aren’t qualified by training to take the examination, have taken it and failed, or simply don’t see the benefits of having board-certification. After all, once you have a TV show, your practice will grow exponentially, regardless of board-certification. The public assumption is that if you on TV, you must be the most qualified or the best in your field. Maybe…..or maybe not!
Remember…being on TV is not a criteria for medical skill assessment…..it is more an indication of camera persona and viewability…..probably not the criteria you would use first and foremost to determine who should operate on you.
Dr Barry Eppley