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Press Release

Bill Would Open Door To Dentists Performing Plastic Surgery Colorado Senate Health Committee Passes HB 1102 Broadens the Definition of "Dentistry"

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2004

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Colorado lawmakers today sent House Bill (HB 1102) to the full Senate, opening the door for dentists to perform complex surgery of the head, neck and potentially other areas of the body, contends the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). This bill puts Colorado patients at risk of being operated on by non-physicians who lack fundamental surgical training.

"Patient safety is the primary concern of ASPS and it members. The Colorado Senate Health, Environment, Welfare & Institutions (HEWI) committee's decision today is a monumental step backward for surgical care patients receive in Colorado," said ASPS President Rod Rohrich, MD . "Many healthcare providers today are looking for ways to perform popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, exposing patients to unnecessary risk and potentially hazardous outcomes."

The HEWI committee passage of HB 1102, which contains ambiguous language in the definition of "dentistry," allows dentists to incorporate plastic surgery procedures into their practices.

 

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Colorado board-certified plastic surgeons, along with a coalition of surgical organizations (ASPS, American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Ophthalomology, and the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery) oppose the definition of "dentistry" in HB 1102. The coalition urges that critical words and phrases such as "non-medical" and "in all cases relating to maintenance and restoration of dental health" be added to the definition of dentistry. It also recommends phrasing which suggests that dentists be allowed to treat areas on the "human body" be omitted.

"Single degreed dentists and oral surgeons (DDS or DMD) have extensive training in oral health, but their formal training does not equal the level of clinical training plastic surgeons receive in medical school and surgical training," said dentist and board-certified plastic surgeon Paul Zwiebel, MD, DMD, of Colorado. "By passing this bill, without making the necessary amendments, the HEWI committee has shown today that the safety of patients is not its number one priority."

HB 1102 was passed by the House on Feb. 20, 2004. The bill now goes to the Senate floor for a vote.

ASPS, founded in 1931, is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world and the foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. For referrals to ABPS-certified plastic surgeons in your area and to learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, call the ASPS at (888) 4-PLASTIC (1-888-475-2784) or visit www.plasticsurgery.org .

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