What to Consider When Selecting Your Plastic Surgeon
Flash sales, Groupons, billboards swathed with “before and after,” ads featuring scantily clad women showing off their new implants on the bus next to you at a stoplight. I’ve seen too much. Too much skin, too many sales, too many ‘deals of a lifetime’ to compel people to base a decision to use a specific doctor on the physician’s ability to purchase an ad or airtime.
I get it, media coverage and exposure can be a huge asset to any practice - but as a consumer, it shouldn’t be the only factor when choosing a plastic surgeon for aesthetic procedures. There are many other factors that should go into making a decision that could affect you for many years to come.
Make sure your plastic surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Any type of medical doctor can legally perform aesthetic procedures, but you wouldn’t want your gynecologist to give you a nose job or your psychiatrist to perform a tummy tuck. The plastic surgery certification is the only one that requires a doctor to have 2-3 years of training specifically in plastic surgery in addition to their training in general surgery. These doctors are as specialized in the field as you can get, which is why you want them. You can check the board’s website at www.abplsurg.org. Also, to find an ABPS board-certified doc, you can also look for one based on your zip code on this website!
This should be a huge factor in your decision making process, as you’re choosing someone to enhance the way you look… not change the oil in your car. Make sure the doctor you’re considering has extensive experience (or even specializes) in the procedure you’re inquiring about. Find out how long the doctor has been performing this procedure and how many times he/she has done so.
Yep, you’re there to determine if this is the right person for YOU (not just anyone). Therefore, it’s important to examine the pictures of other patients who’ve gone before you. Look for people with similar structure to yours and see how they were transformed and most importantly, make sure you like the outcome. Surgeons tend to have a certain style, so it should align with what you’re looking for in terms of an end result.
Your safety during any procedure can be compromised if your surgeon does not work in an accredited facility with an experienced anesthesia provider. Find out where the procedure will be performed and the level of accreditation the facility has.
Note: Whether you are having the surgery at a hospital or not, it’s a good idea to make sure the doctor has hospital privileges. This lets you know that his/her abilities and competency were evaluated in order to be granted approval to operate at that facility. And isn’t it comforting to know that your surgeon is in fact, competent?
Of course, you need to be comfortable with your doctor and feel confident in his/her abilities. I’m not saying you need to find Patch Adams, but you should feel secure discussing any concerns with your doctor. If you feel something is off or you’re not sure that you and your surgeon are on the same page, it’s time to look further.
Most plastic surgeons are members of specific associations. Look for one that is a member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). ASAPS membership is by invitation only. In order to be considered for membership to this elite non-profit organization, surgeons must not only be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, but they must also have significant experience in the field of aesthetic plastic surgery. They must also operate in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified facilities and are required to follow a specific Code of Ethics of the practice of their craft.
Notice advertising wasn’t even on the list. I’m not saying that a great advertisement or even a deal in the Sunday circular shouldn’t pique your interest, but it certainly shouldn’t be the deciding factor! Anyone can place an ad. ANYONE. You really need to do your research. That doctor on the billboard could be incredibly skilled at performing the procedure you want… or at root canals. You should find out.