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Plastic Surgery - Where's The "Plastic"?
Don't be looking for the Dupont Company sales rep the next time you visit a Plastic Surgeon's office because, despite popular belief, there's no "Plastic" in Plastic Surgery. The name is taken from the Greek word "plastikos" which means to "mold or shape."
Initially plastic surgery procedures were limited to facial and body reconstruction caused by accidents, trauma, illness or birth defects. As people began to see the purely cosmetic possibilities, many surgeons expanded their services to include facelifts, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), breast augmentation and liposuction.
It's important to know the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery, especially if you're planning on having your insurance company foot the bill for your procedure.
Cosmetic surgery is performed solely to improve a person's outward physical appearance and self-esteem by correcting naturally occuring conditions that the patient is unhappy with. Cosmetic surgery may be performed by either a Plastic Surgeon or a Cosmetic Surgeon. Cosmetic surgery is generally not covered by health insurance.
Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct or reduce the effects of congenital defects, accidental trauma injury, infections, tumors, and other health-related conditions. It's primary purpose is rarely to simply improve appearance except for extreme cases involving major facial or bodily damage resulting from automobile accidents, etc. Plastic Surgery may only be performed by a Plastic Surgeon.
In most cases insurance does pay for plastic surgery although there are some cases where your claim may be reduced or denied completely. That's why it is always important to coordinate the planned procedure with your health insurance provider BEFORE you get the procedure.
Often times the difference between whether or not your insurance company will cover the bill is the REASON for the procedure. If, for example, you are having your nose reshaped because you're unhappy with your profile -- no deal. You're on your own. However, get that same nose job because your doctor has diagnosed a chronic breathing problem that results in the potentially dangerous condition known as "Sleep Apnea" and you could end up with a new nose courtesy of your health insurance provider!
If you are planning to visit a Plastic Surgeon, keep the following items in mind:
Your plastic surgeon should be "Board Certified" by the American Board of Plastic Surgery;
If your doctor will be using anesthesia then make sure that only a licensed Anesthesiologist administers the medicine and make sure that the facility where the procedure is being performed is accredited by at least one of the following organizations:
American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities(AAAASF)
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
Although making sure that all of these certifications are present is no guarantee of a trouble-free experience, NOT having these certifications means that both the doctor performing plastic surgery, as well as the people who run the facility, have a serious lack of regard for your health and well being! You should NEVER use an uncertified plastic surgeon or facility. The risk is simply not worth it.
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