When people follow a plastic surgeon on social media, they probably expect to see pictures of that surgeon’s own work and results.
But a Nevada plastic surgeon is under investigation for using more than one other surgeon’s patient before-and-after pictures as if their own on social media.
Newport Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Siamak Agha, MD, FACS, discovered that some of his patient’s before-and-after photos were being reposted on social media by a plastic surgeon a state away.
“We have all heard of the saying ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’ and while I do agree with the statement, I do not take it lightly when it comes to other surgeons stealing my patient photos and trying to pass them off as their own,” Dr. Agha wrote on Instagram Tuesday, October 11th.
Dr. Agha is cautioning members of the public searching for a plastic surgeon to not rely solely on before-and-after pictures, and to be sure they see consistent results.
Fraud is defined as “a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.”
A letter from the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, shared by Dr. Agha, asks that the board-certified Newport Beach, Calif., plastic surgeon return an affidavit solidifying his claim for use by the board’s Investigative Committee.
The letter concerns photographs of the doctor’s patients that are “being used by another plastic surgeon in Nevada,” and notes that the doctor has already “stated photographs previously shown to you, are indeed, your patient.”
The letter also notes that the doctor is “… not the only provider receiving this letter,” seemingly indicating that the Nevada-based plastic surgeon passed off the before-and-after photographs of more than one other plastic surgeon as their own work. (Underline in Board’s original letter.)
The before-and-after photographs of Dr. Agha’s patients have since been removed from the Nevada surgeon’s social media account, the letter says.
“My staff and I work hard to protect and respect our patients who give us consent to post their before & afters for our website and social media,” Dr. Aghi says, “so when we come across other accounts who claim these cases are theirs we ensure the proper action is taken.
“Intellectual larceny, catfishing, whatever you want to call it—it is never okay to claim someone else’s work is yours. For those of you who are researching surgeons I urge you not to make decisions based exclusively on before-and-after pictures. Although important, make sure you see consistent results….”
It is unclear what form of investigation is being conducted and whether it will result in formal charges or a reprimand. The Times is using the word “fraud” in the sense defined above.