Choosing a Plastic Surgeon – What You Need to Know

From facelifts to body lifts, nose jobs to liposuction … a growing number of people are interested in improving their appearance through the use of cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, many spend more time choosing their wardrobe than they do researching their cosmetic surgeon.

As a practicing plastic surgeon, I can assure you that the long term consequences of getting a poor doctor can be difficult. Avoid hassles and heartache by following this list of tips for finding a good doctor.

Certification is essential

One of the most important criteria is making sure the surgeon has board certification in plastic surgery from the American Board of Medical Specialties. A surgeon who is certified by this organization or the American Board of Plastic Surgery has graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of training as a surgical resident. This includes a minimum of five years of residency training in all areas of surgery, including two years devoted entirely to plastic surgery.

Beware that cosmetic surgery in particular is ripe with examples of non-qualified practitioners setting up shop and performing medical treatments they are not properly trained to do. This practice puts unsuspecting clients at unnecessary risk. Do not assume a practitioner is certified. Ask.

Check references

Ask friends or family for recommendations. Ask your primary-care physician for references. Check online databases of licensing boards to investigate whether any lawsuits or disciplinary actions have been filed against the doctor. Each State maintains their own registry.

Ask for testimonials –

Ask to speak to patients who have had the procedure you are considering. A quality plastic surgery practice will have names available for you so do not be shy about asking. Ask your doctor about complications or problems that may arise. Be prepared and know the risks. He or she should be willing to discuss these and offer explanations on what will happen if there is a problem. Ask for before and after photos of previous patients. The photos should have a nice composition, be clear and show an easily comparable image.

Ask about hospital privileges –

Ask your surgeon if he or she keeps privileges at local hospitals. This will allow your surgeon to treat you at the hospital if you have any complications. Plus, if a doctor doesn’t have hospital privileges, or has lost them, that is a bad sign of a problem doctor

Are they helpful and friendly? –

When you call the doctor’s office for the first time, is the staff friendly? Do they try to help you or do they treat you just like a number? At your preliminary consultation, make sure you feel like your surgeon is listening to you and you feel comfortable discussing your needs and desires with him or her.

Choosing the right plastic surgeon is critical.

Your satisfaction with the results depends on making sure you choose a qualified practitioner. Follow these tips for choosing a plastic surgeon. Ask a few key questions and find a physician with whom you feel comfortable. By doing so, you can help ensure that you will get your best cosmetic results.