Can You Recommend a Plastic Surgeon for Facelift in New Mexico?

I live in a remote area in new mexico and have been considering a face lift--I'm 66 years old.Can you recommend a good plastic surgeon in the Albuquerque,Las Cruces or El paso area? my main concern is the mouth and cheek, jowl area--I'm an ex smoker so I have some pretty deep wrinkles around the mouth.

Doctor Answers (13)

Recommending a Facelift Plastic Surgeon in New Mexico

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After reading the below see how many of the criteria you can find. Also see my below link of how to find the name of a qualified surgeon in your area of New Mexico. You might also consider flying to a nearby city if there is another plastic surgeon you prefer after reading the below. The most critical decision to be made in achieving the best plastic surgical result is picking the most experienced and talented, that is the best, plastic surgeon possible. Too often, patients choose a physician based on a catchy ad, the brand name of a technique, the basis of one or two before and after photos, or their web site’s search engine ranking. These criteria will not find the most experienced and talented plastic surgeon.

My Background

Dr. Larry Nichter
I have been a practicing plastic surgeon for more than 25 years, having trained scores of plastic surgeons as a tenured professor of plastic surgery at USC, and I have had a private practice in Orange County since 1993. Speaking from all this experience, here is my advice and the criteria I would use to find the best plastic surgeon in Orange County, Los Angeles, California, or anywhere in the United States. These are the criteria I would use to select a plastic surgeon for my friends, my family, or myself.

First, I want to stress some general observations I have found to be true over the years.

Caveat Emptor: Buyer Beware
The longer a surgeon trains at his craft, the finer his skills and the better his judgment become. Board certification in Plastic Surgery (see below) is a bare minimum. Board certification in an additional surgical field recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, or for that matter “triple-board certified,” attests to a doctor’s advanced training and skill and judgment. It also means that they have attained Chief Resident Status in more than one field during their training which means they essentially ran a large departmental service and had senior decision-making and independent operating responsibilities. It is this step that is most maturing for a surgeon.

The institution where the surgeon trained is also important. More renowned schools usually attract the best faculty.

You can use the internet to research the background of a prospective plastic surgeon quickly. Please do this prior to making an appointment. “Just because you wear a baseball cap it doesn’t mean you are a good ball player.” The same applies to anyone wearing a white coat—it doesn’t make you a plastic surgeon, much less a great one.

Caveat Emptor in Latin means “Buyer Beware.” In most states, including California, any physician with a medical school diploma and state license is viewed as a doctor and a surgeon—even without any formal surgical training. In some cases even doctors who have completed only the minimal requirements (medical school, licensing examination, and a one-year internship that need not include surgical training) are touting themselves as “cosmetic surgical experts.” They make these claims of expertise despite the fact that they are only formally trained as family practitioners, OB/Gyns, emergency physicians, dermatologists, or ear-nose-throat specialists. Even physician assistants and nurses have made such claims.

7-Step Process for Finding the Best Plastic Surgeon
The following are my screening guidelines and criteria for picking the best plastic/cosmetic surgeon.

1. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only certifying board in Plastic Surgery that is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Use these links to look up a prospective surgeon’s status.

To become a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery requires a minimum of five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years of training specifically in plastic surgery. Then the applicant must also pass a comprehensive written board exam. If successful, the candidate must present his/her clinical cases for critical review by board examiners (I was one such board examiner) and if accepted will take a series of oral examinations.

Since the 1990s, the American Board of Plastic Surgery Certification is only valid for ten years. To retain your board certified status, a plastic surgeon must complete a Maintenance of Certification including written testing and case review. This means that all who pass are trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures including facial procedures, breast, and body; essentially all cosmetic and reconstructive procedures.

If a Plastic Surgeon is additionally board certified by another surgical specialty recognized the American Board of Medical Specialties, then this also marks additional expertise and training at the highest level. The American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery (ABFRS) is not a licensing body nor an educational institution and the certificates it issues are not legal licenses to practice facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. The ABFRS is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (although it does note additional specialty training/interest in facial aesthetic surgery).

Likewise, beware of physicians armed only with certification from other non-ABMS recognized boards or special society memberships other than those I have recommended (eg. “Cosmetic Surgery Board,” “Lipoplasty Society of North America,” etc.).

2. Fellow of the American College of Surgeons: FACS
The American College of Surgeons is dedicated to improving the care of the patient and to safeguarding standards of care in an optimal and ethical practice environment. Members of the American College of Surgeons are referred to as “Fellows.” The letters FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon’s name mean that the surgeon’s education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation, and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College.

To be a member you have to:

be board certified in a surgical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties
be in practice in one location for a number of years, with a background check, nomination, and interviews which verify that you are an ethical and safe surgeon among other criteria.
Hint: Look for the “FACS” (or “FRCS,” see below) after the “MD” in a doctor’s title or in his/her Curriculum Vitae to see if he/she is a “real surgeon.”

Note for patients in Canada: The equivalent of FACS in Canada is the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, FRCS.

3. Member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of plastic surgeons in the United States and one of the largest in the world. ASPS members are uniquely qualified because of the society’s membership requirements:

Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons must be Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery complete at least 5 years of surgical training with a minimum of 2 years of training specifically in plastic surgery. The more years of Plastic Surgical Training the better – this includes fellowships in a plastic surgical field.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and must fulfill rigorous Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements including patient safety issues.
Lastly, ASPS members are required to operate at accredited surgical facilities certified by one of the following USA organizations: American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities, Inc., Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc., or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
Beware of physicians without this membership but belonging only to similar-sounding societies as their claim to excellence eg. “American Society of Cosmetic Surgery,” “Lipoplasty Society of North America,” etc.

4. Member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
This is the most elite society in the United States and perhaps the world for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. To be a member means that your career is focused in cosmetic surgery at the highest level. Among the requirements for invitation and election to ASAPS membership, a plastic surgeon must:

Be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (or in plastic surgery by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada);
Be in at least the third year of active practice following board certification;
Participate in accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) to stay current with developments in the field of cosmetic plastic surgery and patient safety;
Document the performance of a significant number and variety of cosmetic surgical cases to demonstrate wide experience;
Be sponsored by two ASAPS-member plastic surgeons to help ensure that the applicant’s professional reputation meets the high standards required by ASAPS;
Adhere to current ethical standards for professional conduct as outlined in the Code of Ethics observed by all ASAPS-member surgeons;
Operate in accredited surgical facilities; and
Be elected by at least 80% of the Active Membership.
Find an ASPS member online.

5. Hospital privileges to perform the same type of surgery
Hospitals often examine qualifications of doctors applying for hospital staff privileges and restrict privileges to only surgeons best trained and qualified to do certain procedures. For example, in order for surgeons to be granted plastic surgery privileges in most hospitals in Orange County, California, that surgeon must have completed plastic surgery residency training and must be board-eligible or -certified in plastic surgery to be allowed to perform plastic surgical operations in that hospital.

Non-surgeons and other physicians that are not plastic surgeons circumvent this process by performing surgery in their offices or in outpatient surgery centers where the credentialing process is less rigorous or nonexistent. In these settings non-plastic surgeons perform procedures in which they have no formal residency training.

I am not warning against use of outpatient surgery centers or in-office procedures. I am only recommending that you check that your physician has hospital privileges for these same procedures.

6. Surgical Experience in the procedure you are having
Few patients ask how long doctors have been doing a certain procedure or how many they have performed. When you consult with a plastic surgeon:

Ask to see typical “before and after” photos;
discuss the details of the procedure in a manner that is clear to you;
review benefits and potential complications;
get full answers to your questions.
7. Evidence of Excellence, Experience and Commitment to the field of Plastic Surgery
Here are some additional criteria to look for in your plastic surgeon.

Surgical Board Certification in more than one field
Plastic Surgical Fellowships in addition to Plastic Surgical Residency.
Number of years practicing.
Peer Review Honors in their own board certification from groups such as Best Doctors, Top Doctors, Super Doctors.
Current or Prior position denoting excellence in the field or high regard by their peers such as:
Prior or present Professor or Faculty affiliation with a University Plastic surgical program (the higher the rank the better)
Chairman of a Department of plastic surgery at a regional hospital
Honors from surgical societies of which they are members such as Board Examiner, etc.
Published Plastic Surgical papers in peer review journals are also a good sign that they are committed to being on top of their field.
Feel Comfortable with your choice
It is very important that after you have done this screening and met with your potential surgeon that you feel confident in your choice.

Complications are not common in cosmetic surgery, but if one did occur are you confident that this surgeon would take charge and handle just about any problem?

Do you feel that he listens to you and communicates well by answering your questions completely, doesn’t rush you in to a decision but rather makes you part of the decision-making process? You should truly feel that it is a combined effort.

Does the surgeon’s office run smoothly? Do the staff take good care of you? If you answered in the affirmative and have gotten this far in your screening guidelines then I think you have found your “Dr. Right.”

—Larry S. Nichter, MD, FACS


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Seeking a Plastic Surgeon

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Your face is the first thing people see, and what most people tend to be most insecure about. You should not restrict yourself to an "area". A Facelift will definitely help improve the cheek and jowl area, as far as the wrinkles around your mouth, you might want to ask your surgeon about laser resurfacing. We have seen great results from the Sciton Erbium laser taking deep wrinkles to moderate, moderate to fine, and fine fade away. Although we are located in Phoenix, Arizona we have patients that travel from all over to have surgery done. The best marketing tool and the most important is word of mouth, it shows patient satisfaction and the willingness of others to share their experience. Many surgeons have a recovery center you can stay overnight at, and can assist in hotel and driver accommodations. It is very important that your surgeon be Board Certified as well as his/her surgery facility. Best wishes!

John Ward, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Facelift or facial rejuvenation

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The best way to find a board certified plastic surgeon is to look on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website, plasticsurgery.org. All their members are board certified and they are listed geographically. You might want to think beyord a facelift as there are now other procedures that can help rejuvenate the face.  Procedures such as resurfacing with either laser or chemical peels can change the skin texture and will probably help more with wrinkles around the lips than a facelift. Fillers (Juvederm, Restylane or Sculptra are examples) can replace lost volume in the face and can make a face appear more youthful. Often a combination of procedures will provide the best result so don't limit yourself to just considering a facelift. A board certified plastic surgeon will be able to advise you as to what will work best for your unique requirements.

Margaret Skiles, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

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Facial Rejuvenation

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There are good surgeons in all three cities. Go to PlasticSurgery.org's "Find a Surgeon" area. Everyone listed there is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. On of the things you need to know is that a Facelift does what it says it does. It lifts the tissues of the face (cheek) and neck back to where they originally were. A Facelift in its broadest terms also corrects the area around the eyes and the brow (though, in reality, a Blepharoplasty and Brow lift is needed to do this). It does not, however, repair the ravages of your previous smoking on your skin. With a Facelift alone, you will still look old, just without the jowl and other areas of loose skin. To repair the skin also, you will need skin rejuvenation. My preferred method is the Obagi Skin Care System. There are other methods, but this is the most complete and, in my opinion, the most efficacious. In addition, you may need laser or peel and/or fat injections to get a really complete rejuvenation.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Plastic Surgeon for Facelift in New Mexico

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The ASPS website is good starting point to identify qualified, board certified plastic surgeons. Dr. Aaron Mayberry is a possibility. Consult with 3 - 4 experienced and expert board certified plastic surgeons to explore your options.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Plastic Surgeon for Facelift in New Mexico

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There are many experienced facial plastic surgeons and each surgeon has a unique set of skills and tools which may make him or her the best surgeon for that unique problem

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Face Lift

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Visit with two to three Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in the NM area, and decide which one best fits your concerns. Thank you for your question and good luck with everything.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Facelift - Facelift After Restylane? Can You Recommend a Plastic Surgeon for Facelift in New Mexico?

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I don't know anyone personally but I would suggest that you contact the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery at surgery dot org for a list of board-certified plastic surgeons near you.  You may have to travel a bit in order to have a few different consultations but I think it's well worth that investment at this point.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Go to larger city for Face Lift

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 The best advice is to find an experienced Face Lift surgeon with a good reputation in a larger metroplitan area where he/she performs Face Lifts on a regular basis.  Take a look at the newer Minimum Incision Face Lifts as well as Traditional Face Lifts.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Facial rejuvenation for ex smoker

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There are many good surgeons in each area and it is best to go to several consultations and find a surgeon who is not only well recommended but also one you feel you establish a good patient surgeon understanding with. I would speak with many of the surgeons patients who have undergone the same procedure he recommends and view the before and after photos and make sure that the results are what you are looking for. As you state you are an ex smoker with lots of deep wrinkles around the mouth you may need more then a facelift. The lines around the mouth are not taken care of by just a facelift. A facelift is really what it states it is the repositioning and lifting of laxity of the skin in the lower face and neck region. You may need to look into laser resurfacing for the lines as this will not be accomplished by traditional facelift alone. Also if you do not find the surgeon you are looking for in your area it is not a bad idea to look put side of your area. I treat patients from all over the United States as do many surgeons and my patients fly in and stay in our aftercare facility and return home with a natural rejuvenated youthful appearance it is worth the flight time and inconvenience to seek the best professionals wherever they may be! Best regards!

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.