Plastic surgeons get a 'lift'in Vegas

Aug 20, 2002 8:51 AM

There’s good reason the American Society of Plastic Surgeons chose Las Vegas for its annual convention.

As the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is rampant with entertainers, many of which are showgirls who often depend on charm and cleavage for their livelihood. Plastic surgeons specialize in the latter.

In fact, Las Vegas surgeons perform more breast enhancing operations per capita than any other city in the country. But there’s more to plastic surgery than silicone implants, facelifts and tummy tucks.

Much of the focus of the convention, which started on Friday and continues through Wednesday, involves teaching practitioners how to avoid the pitfalls of handling insurance claims ”” coding errors, documentation, reimbursement and other accounting techniques.

Meeting coordinator Carrie Schweitzer said a handful of the attendees are from Las Vegas, which features a somewhat renowned contingent of plastic surgeons.

Schweitzer said that, besides the obvious reasons of non-stop entertainment, relatively inexpensive food and lodging, and an array of debauchery from which to choose, the Society wanted their convention in Las Vegas because it is convenient to the West Coast, which also harbors a legion of plastic surgeons.

Among the attendees, one surgeon said the profession has become very complicated with all the educational and governmental requirements. His office is also involved with research grants and opportunities for fellowship and volunteer programs.

One surgeon from California said that, despite the amount of doctors in Nevada, he treats many clients from Las Vegas. He added that most of the patients are in need of some type of reconstructive surgery.

The Society is among the most prestigious in the medical field. Some of the requirements for membership in the ASP are high moral, ethical, professional standards, maintaining a practice for more than five years.

While plastic surgeons are undoubtedly among the best paid medical doctors in the profession, very few that were sampled indicated a willingness to play high stakes blackjack or other expensive casino games.

Said a practitioner from Beverly Hills, "I’d rather put my money into something tangible, like a new boat or vacation home."

Some people have all the tough decisions.