The U.S. Food and Drug administration or FDA, is responsible for protecting the public's health by assuring the safety and effectiveness of a wide variety of products ranging from our food supply, drugs and dietary supplements to cosmetics and medical devices.We frequently hear this organization referenced both positively and negatively, usually in regards to a decision that they have made about one thing or another.But with such a wide spectrum of responsibility, what does the Association actually do, particularly when in comes to plastic surgeries? Knowing can help you be a better informed consumer.OverviewThe FDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. It consists of seven centers and two offices, including the Center for Devices and Radiological health which is most directly related to plastic surgeries. This center is responsible for regulating medical devices, from simple items like tongue depressors, to complex technologies such as heart pacemakers. Other related centers would include the one that oversees drugs and the one that oversees radiation-emitting products like lasers.What's regulated?One thing to keep in mind when considering various surgeries is that the FDA only regulates devices. More specifically, it approves a device for a specific use. For example, the Administration approves cannulas, which are used for liposuction, but only for that specific usage.When interviewing doctors in preparation for your procedure, one of the items you can discuss with them is whether they use any devices outside of the governing health body recommendations. If they do, they should be able to fully and honestly explain their reasons for doing so.It's also possible to ask your doctor for a copy of the patient labeling associated with the specific device to be used for your procedure. The FDA has also approved the anesthesia that is administered during plastic surgeries. They have required that information on the potential risks and side effects be made available to you.What's not regulated?The FDA website provides a wealth of useful information on cosmetic surgery that can help a consumer perform research in regards to the specific procedure they are seeking.The FDA does not regulate medical facilities, the training of doctors or how they carry out their plastic surgeries. A variety of other sources will need to be used to research these factors including the board of medicine, the better business bureau and the American Board of Plastic Surgery.