February 4th, 2020





The world of advertising and social media has brought physicians' names to the public continuingly. Years ago, if a doctor called him/herself a cosmetic surgeon, the patient knew precisely what that term meant.  Doctors in various sub-specialties such as dermatologists, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, and even dentists are performing cosmetic surgery procedures.  This can leave prospective patients utterly confused about how to find the best and most qualified surgeons   But how, wonders Dr. Manish Shah who is an Ivy League educated Board- certified Plastic Surgeon in Denver, "is a prospective patient to know who is a diligent, excellent, caring physician and who is a charlatan?"  Dr. Shah wants to disseminate information the public can use and heed as caution when selecting a cosmetic surgeon in a country now brimming with doctors who call themselves "cosmetic surgeons."

"Public law and policy do not necessarily protect us from unreasonable and untrue claims," says Dr. Shah.  "A physician needs to be licensed in medicine -- which means earning a recognized medical degree, From that point, he or she can hang out a shingle in any specialty he/she chooses; the state does not control what area of medicine he/she practices or which type of specialist they claim unless there are complaints and they are brought before the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. Often, by then, it is too late." 

What can we look for before placing ourselves under a physician's care to ascertain the qualities and qualifications of that physician?  There are four basic areas that must be investigated to determine the qualifications of physicians. These are: a physician's training; a physician's certification; a physician's associations; and a physician's attitude toward his or her patients and the medical community at large.

"A physician should have and be willing to provide evidence that he or she has trained in the area of their expertise," says Dr. Shah.  "For example, patients want to locate a plastic surgeon who trained in plastic surgery, which means a post-surgical residency fellowship in the sub-specialty.  Each residency or fellowship program gives a certificate certifying the dates of service as well as the hospital and department in which the physician trained."  Physicians are usually quite proud of their achievements and keep these and many other framed diplomas in their offices.  If they are not available, then at least a curriculum vitae or a brochure describing a doctor's training should be available and should be carefully examined by the patient.  "If a physician is either unable or unwilling to disclose this information, it becomes a clear issue of 'medical consumer beware,' says Dr. Shah.

After training in their chosen field, each medical or surgical sub-specialty has a certifying board that is approved by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).  After spending the requisite number of years training, a physician has to take an examination in order to be certified.  After being certified, a surgeon often applies to the American College of Surgeons for a fellowship.  These credentials can be checked in libraries, hospital libraries, and online.

"For example, The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not approved by the American Board of Medical Specialists and neither are a host of other so-called 'boards,' advises Dr. Shah, who is board-certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery which is the only plastic surgery board  recognized by the ABMS.  A gynecologist, ENT or general surgeon may be an exquisitely trained physician--but if they did cosmetic surgery, where did they learn to do it?  Was it on-the-job training, or an online or weekend course? How often do they go for a refresher course?  Are they affiliated with a certified hospital in case of an emergency? "

Dr. Shah advises the would-be medical consumer "not to be impressed by a P.C. after the physician's name--it only means that they are incorporated. Jane Doe, M.D., F.A.C.S.', on the other hand, actually tells one something about the qualifications of the physician." It means, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons) It indicates to the patient that the surgeon has passed a thorough evaluation of both professional competence and ethical fitness.

If patients are still confused, Dr. Shah advises them, "check a third area: A physician's associations and affiliations.  If a physician is on the staff at a well-respected local teaching hospital in the department that is appropriate to their qualifications, then patients at least know that his or her qualifications have been appropriately researched by the hospital's committees and should therefore be valid and current.  "Today, however, because of skyrocketing hospital costs, the trend is toward more out-patient surgery and care," says Dr. Shah.  "Because of this, physicians have moved further away from the hospital.  This may be good for the patient from a cost standpoint, but a well-qualified physician--especially a surgeon--should maintain a relationship with a hospital just in case there is a problem with a patient that requires hospitalization."   Dr. Shah further advises patients to remember that, "when a physician is outside of an institutional setting, there is no quality control or peer review other than what the physician sets for himself."

Patients must look into many areas of a physician's training, especially certification, association, and personality prior to allowing a medical professional to manage their health care.  "If you do your homework well," says Dr. Shah, "you should end up with a compassionate well-trained competent physician with whom you feel totally at ease and in whom you have the utmost confidence."

To check if your plastic surgeon is board certified visit https://www.abplasticsurgery.org/public/verify-certification/VerifyCert?section=SurgeonSearch

Since 1937, the ABPS has issued 9,499 certificates to plastic surgeons who met high standards in training requirements and successfully passed the examinations covering the breadth of Plastic Surgery. Approximately 6,900 are actively practicing.

About Dr. Manish Shah

Plastic Surgeon Colorado | Dr. Manish Shah, M.D. | Denver

Manish Shah, M.D., F.A.C.S. was born in Canada and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a degree in biomedical engineering. He then completed his medical training at the University of Virginia, earning his Medical Doctorate. During this time he also completed a one-year fellowship in microsurgery research at the New York University School of Medicine / Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. As a prelude to his plastic surgery training, Dr. Shah completed a rigorous five-year training program in General and Trauma Surgery at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia. His formal training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was completed at the Univ. of Tennessee College of Medicine – Chattanooga Unit. After completing his plastic surgery training, he moved to New York City when he was selected for the prestigious Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. He underwent extensive, advanced training in aesthetic surgery of the face, breasts, and body at the hands of some of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in the world. This fellowship is widely considered to be the best of its kind in the world. Dr. Shah is one of only a select few plastic surgeons in the country who have undergone formal post-graduate training in aesthetic surgery.

Dr. Shah’s specialties include revision facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty (“nose reshaping”), and aesthetic surgery of the breast (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction). He is, however, well-trained in all areas of aesthetic surgery.

Dr. Shah’s aim is to obtain a natural appearing transformation that complements the real you!

Dr. Shah is a past Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center based at Denver Health Medical Center, the Rocky Mountain region’s only academic Level I trauma center. He is a past Chief of Plastic Surgery at Denver Health Medical Center. He also maintains a private practice in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery on the Dry Creek Medical Center campus (DTC/Denver) and up in the Aspen Valley (Basalt – in the office of MDAesthetics – Tim Kruse, M.D.).

Dr. Shah is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Shah is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


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