Plastic vs. Cosmetic Surgery: Things to Know Before Under the Knife

After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and losing her baby while nine months pregnant, Linn Rowell from North Philadelphia felt uncomfortable in her own skin. Her body had changed and she wanted to get her life back.

Rowell researched local cosmetic surgeons and stumbled upon celebrity doctor Dr. Ayman Shanine, who provided butt injections to “Mob Wives” star Renee Graziano. Shanine, a New York-based gynecologist, ran a Havertown location that offered good prices.

“I’m thinking I hit the jackpot,” Rowell said.

She prepaid his office $2,150 - about one-third of the total cost for a Brazilian butt lift with fat transfer. But two months before her planned procedure, Rowell started hearing horror stories from Shanine’s patients, including one woman who took her complaint to the E! television show “Botched.”

“I was mortified. I was scared,” she said.

Rowell canceled her procedure and asked for a refund, but one never came until NBC10 Responds stepped in.

During our investigation into Shanine, our team discovered the good doctor had at least 29 administrative charges waged against him. The allegations came from eight separate patients who accused him of gross negligence and gross incompetence.


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One patient emerged with a deformed buttocks while another was allegedly rushed to the hospital after a liposuction procedure.

“Because I’m a gynecologist, I have a special eye for a woman’s body. I know how to sculpt a woman,” Shanine told NBC10.

No criminal charges have been filed against Shanine, and he still has an active license to practice in both Pennsylvania and New York.

But avoiding any unnecessary discomfort while undergoing cosmetic procedures in paramount, said Dr. Richard Brannon Claytor, a plastic surgeon in Bryn Mawr. The first thing to know, he said, is the difference between a plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon.

“Plastic surgeons are members of the medical community who have gone through medical school residency and training specific for plastic surgery,” he said.

In other words, plastic surgeons are doctors who have finished medical school and subsequent residencies, passed verbal and written exams specific to plastic surgery and then become board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The added training can sometimes take an additional 10 years, Claytor said.

Cosmetic surgeons, on the other hand, receive training after their residency in a different field in some instances, including Shanine who was first a gynecologist. Also, cosmetic doctors do not always have the necessary privileges to perform procedures in the hospital, so they operate from their office.

“We don’t like to do [cosmetic procedures] in the hospital because they get bad results,” Shanine said. “Hospitals have a lot of infections from other sick patients.”

But there is also a difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is for enhancement while plastic surgery is for repairs and reconstruction. It’s the difference between getting lip injections for a fuller-looking mouth and stitching up a split lip in the emergency room. 

Other things to keep in mind before going under the knife:

Do you research. Who is your doctor? What is their training, speciality and status of their certification? Do they have litigation against them? Are their patients happy have the fact?

Also, where will your procedure take place? Going to the hospital could have benefits such as emergency treatment if something goes wrong.

Consider your overall health: Are you a smoker? Are you pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant? Do you eat well? Are you at a healthy body weight? All of these factors can contribute to your recovery time and potentially put you at risk.

If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Bottom line? Do your homework.

“Patients today are very savvy,” Clayton said. “The internet is a phenomenal resource.”

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