How to choose an expert plastic surgeon
Do your homework
Choosing a plastic surgeon is an extremely important decision. As a potential plastic surgery patient, you have a lot at stake. It is vital to your safety and the success of your surgery that the surgeon you choose has the expertise with the right training and education to safely perform the surgical procedure, is experienced performing it, and has produced exceptional, documented results of his or her work. Before you choose your plastic surgeon, consider the following:
- Is your plastic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? Plastic surgery is a highly complex specialty that requires years of education and training. Plastic surgeons that are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) are uniquely qualified and specially trained. They have earned a degree from an accredited medical school and completed a minimum of five years of surgical training and a minimum of two years of training specifically in plastic surgery. They undergo a rigorous board certification process to ensure that they provide the highest quality care. ABPS Board certification also allows you to ensure that your physician will meet safety requirements and has the medical skills needed.Look at the surgeon’s before-and-after gallery photos – photos of similar patients who have undergone procedures. Most surgeons keep a file of before and after photos which you should examine, and be wary if your surgeon does not have his or her own photos to show you. A picture is worth a thousand words, and before and after photos from real patients who underwent the procedure you are considering is a great indicator of the plastic surgeon’s experience with that procedure.
- Does the surgeon have hospital privileges? Reputable plastic surgeons should have privileges to perform surgery procedures at an accredited hospital or surgical facility. Hospitals do background checks, and if a surgeon doesn’t have hospital privileges, that is a red flag.
- Does the surgeon have surgical experience in the procedure you are having? Is the physician experienced performing the type of surgery you are considering? Has he or she produced exceptional results for other patients on a regular basis?
- Beware of bargain prices, and remember it is not necessary to travel away from home to find a good plastic surgeon. Avoid plastic surgery tourism, where patients travel to foreign countries to have cosmetic procedures for less money than it costs here in the U.S. In plastic surgery, as in life, you usually get what you pay for. Vacation-related activities may compromise your health after having a procedure. Travel and surgery significantly increase the risk of complications. And you may not be legally protected in the United States and have no legal recourse if surgical negligence occurs.
- When you meet with your surgeon, ask detailed questions. Do you feel comfortable with him or her? Ask about their certification, ask about the facility where the procedure will be performed and whether it is an accredited hospital or an office space. What happens if there is an emergency? What is the risk of the procedure and what is its recovery time? You should feel comfortable asking questions about your surgery procedures so that you can make an educated final decision regarding your surgery and surgeon. If the surgeon isn’t forthcoming in answering your questions, find a different surgeon. Your surgeon should be concerned about your feelings and overall wellness by being caring, compassionate and empathetic.
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