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California governor signs cosmetic surgery bills

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gray Davis has signed into law three bills intended to protect Californians from deceptive physicians and misleading before-and-after photos for cosmetic surgery.

The bills include one that will ban inaccurate cosmetic surgery ads and those that make scientific claims that cannot be substantiated.

Davis also signed a measure that will require physicians who say they are "board certified'' to specify the source of that certification. That will prevent a gynecologist, for example, from implying in ads that he or she is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon.

The third bill will require that a physician carry malpractice insurance and have at least one staff member present when performing plastic surgery in an outpatient facility.

Davis also vetoed a bill that would allow potential plastic surgery patients to check the backgrounds of their surgeons by logging onto the Internet.

The Democratic governor said Monday the bill would have been too costly and might have left consumers with inaccurate information.

The bills follow a sharp increase in the use of cosmetic surgery and in the number of doctors who perform the procedures in their offices or clinics, sometimes with little or no specialized training.

The death rate for liposuction, a fat-removal procedure, is as high as one in 5,000 nationwide, a state Senate analysis found.

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