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Dr. Pastrick: Choose your surgeon carefully

August 6th, 2012 10:59 am by Gregory H. Pastrick

Dr. Pastrick: Choose your surgeon carefully

Gregory H. Pastrick, M.D., is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and practices at The Plastic Surgery Center in Kingsport.

Each month, Dr. Gregory Pastrick shares a post from his blog in Sunday Stories.

An article I read some time ago prompted this month's blog because it underscores the importance of choosing your surgeon carefully.

"The Arizona Republic" had reported that Dr. Peter Normann had been convicted of second degree murder and manslaughter for the deaths of three patients on whom he had performed liposuction. Dr. Norman, 50 at the time, was a board certified internist who had previously worked as an emergency room physician, and apparently had started a cosmetic surgery clinic. He must have felt qualified to do cosmetic surgery because during trial it was revealed he underwent six days of training in liposuction and did some additional "hands-on training" in liposuction and breast augmentation.

Unfortunately for his patients, it’s not against the law for any M.D. in Arizona to perform cosmetic surgery and the same is true in the state of Tennessee. That’s right. Any doctor with M.D. behind his or her name can legally perform cosmetic surgery without having to show anyone proof of their training, experience, or competence. We have some dilettantes who like to dabble in cosmetic surgery right here in the Tri-Cities, and believe me it’s not as simple as some of these docs pretend it is. Just ask Dr. Peter Normann.

It takes years of training in an accredited residency under the tutelage of experts to know how and what you're doing, and years more to really get good at it. Don’t be fooled by the pretenders with their slick ad campaigns or websites and cut-rate prices.

The bottom line is that you put your life on the line for any procedure and the person doing it better be well-equipped to ensure it’s done well or to deal with anything that may arise during or after the surgery. While I’m sure Dr. Peter Normann had some happy patients with decent results who were willing to refer others to him, the fact is he killed three people.

Your risks increase tremendously by going to an unqualified cosmetic surgeon, despite the fact that others may have gotten lucky with their surgery results. Please make sure your surgeon is certified by THE AMERICAN BOARD OFPLASTIC SURGERY, has hospital privileges in the cosmetic surgeries he/she performs, and has a well-established practice.

Fortunately, I have never had a death from a cosmetic surgery procedure. I’d like to think that’s because of the years of intense plastic surgery training I’ve been through at one of the best universities in the country.

Gregory H. Pastrick, M.D., is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He practices at The Plastic Surgery Center, located at 1 Sheridan Square, Suite 200, Kingsport, Tenn. Check out all of his services at or call 423-392-4884.

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