Plastic Surgery 101

Before plastic surgery or a procedure, know your practitioner’s credentials

Q: I don’t understand what all the abbreviations after a person’s name means. I am seeing a person who is doing non-invasive treatments who says he is a doctor and has a “DNP” after his name. Can you tell me what that is and maybe you can also tell me all the other abbreviations?

Carlos Wolf 2018
Dr. Carlos Wolf

A: With the advent of non-invasive procedures — and the wild wild west of South Florida when it comes to plastic surgery — this is a great question!

A DNP is a doctor of nurse practitioner — not a medical doctor. A doctor of nursing may be able to do non-invasive procedures, but know that you are seeing a nurse with a sub specialty. A PA , or physician’s assistant, is a healthcare worker who works under the guidance and supervision of a physician. In Florida, physician’s assistants frequently will do non-invasive procedures, along with assisting in surgery.

Doctors of osteopathy are DOs and medical doctors (MDs) work as physicians. In Florida, any DO or MD can do brain surgery up to cardiac surgery if they find a place to do it. It is safe to say that because of the liability and the credentialing process, very few, if any, hospitals will give privileges to unqualified practitioners.

Unfortunately, because plastic surgery and aesthetic treatments are not hospital-based, any physician, physician’s assistant, DNP, working with a non-plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist can do any of the procedures regardless of thorough training. That’s why I often tell people “buyer beware.“

So what should you do?

Disregard most, if not all, social media accolades that people give themselves. Do thorough research on your practitioner. Do not hesitate to ask them what type of doctor they are. Are they physicians and if they are not, who is supervising your care? Social media abounds with a plethora of people who expound on how wonderful they are, how well-trained they are and unfortunately many of these facts are not true. If you have any reservations, don’t hesitate to contact your local or state agencies and ask what type of training your medical practitioner has had.

The public has a false impression that non-invasive procedures, hormone treatment and injectable treatments are without risk. True horror stories often occur. So be wise, choose wisely and noninvasive procedures will make you happy.

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board-certified. Email your questions to him at Follow him at @CarlosWolfMD.