DOH set to launch plastic surgery certification program

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Department of Health (DOH) will launch a certification program in January for plastic surgery institutions to ensure the quality of cosmetic operations in Taiwan.

With the rise of plastic surgery culture, officials worried over the excessive amount of doctors who specialize in nonsurgical fields such as pediatrics, optometry and gynecology, and also perform cosmetic surgeries on patients.

With the launch of the certification program, the director of the DOH’s Bureau of Medical Affairs Hsu Ming-neng (許銘能) urged patients to only visit medical institutions that have been certified for the sake of their own safety.

The DOH has set new standards for doctors who wish to perform any cosmetic treatments, and they will be required to undergo a requisite amount of training and earn a specified number of course credit, the DOH said.

The Cosmetic Surgeon Medical Association (CSMA) even suggested a higher standard for doctors who wish to perform surgeries such as breast implants or liposuction, so that in order to perform any such procedures a certain amount of practical experience must first be gained.

A representative from the association commented, “How can a doctor perform surgical operations only by reading textbooks or taking courses? He would not be familiar with the procedure.”

As for doctors who specialize in internal medicine, such as pediatricians or physical therapists, the CSMA asked that the DOH not certify these doctors to perform cosmetic surgeries.

According to the evaluation criteria, the DOH has divided cosmetic surgeries into invasive medical treatment and noninvasive treatment. Taiwan Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation (TJCHA) Director Lee Wui-chiang (李偉強) explained that cosmetic surgeries are broadly categorized into three kinds of treatments — injection treatments, photoelectric treatments and surgeries.

Injection and photoelectric treatments, such as laser or hyaluronic acid injections, are considered noninvasive while surgical operations such as breast implants are considered invasive medical treatment. Certifications will only be valid for two years, Lee said.

For surgeries that require anesthesia, the DOH requires certified doctors or qualified anesthesiologists to perform the routine, instead of nurse anesthesiologists.

According to official from the DOH Wang Tsung-hsi, cosmetic surgery clinics will be evaluated in three different categories. They will need to provide sufficient information on the doctors’ backgrounds, diplomas, and the risks of the operations to patients. If anesthesia is needed to perform the surgery, patients will need to be informed of their professional backgrounds as well, Wang said.

The second requirement is that clinics will need to own medical equipment and facilities that are approved by the TJCHA; And the third criteria is that clinics are prohibited to put up excessive or false advertisements.