Some patients painstakingly vet their surgeons to find a highly skilled professional to perform their operation, only to discover later that they didn't get the person they wanted or expected.
A different physician can step in for legitimate reasons, such as a medical emergency involving the surgeon. And at academic medical centers, residents and other junior health professionals often perform procedures under supervision. Medical experts and patient advocates agree that is acceptable as long as patients are informed and give consent.
But in some cases, patient advocates say, there can be an actual bait-and-switch, when a prominent surgeon promises to carry out the procedure but does not.