When searching for a plastic surgeon what qualifications/credentials should the MD possess? Also, what other elements should I be concerned with or look for?
When Searching for a Plastic Surgeon What Qualifications/Credentials Should the MD Have?
Doctor Answers (6)
Tips on picking a Plastic Surgeon
Tips on picking a Plastic Surgeon
Answer by George J. Beraka, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
1) Is the surgeon a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery? Members usually do a lot of cosmetic surgery.
2) Did you sense a commitment to excellence in the office. Did the surgeon spend a lot of time with you? Someone who rushes through the consultation may rush through the surgery.
3) Were you treated as an individual? Did the surgeon present you with a surgical plan tailor made for you?
4) Plastic surgeons have to have a good eye and meticulous technique. Did the surgeon show you A LOT of before and after pictures, and did you love the results?
5) Talk to other doctors you know. Established plastic surgeons have a reputation in the community, good or bad.
6) Ask to speak to a patient who has had the procedure you want. You are looking for a surgeon who does a lot of what you want. Many patients are eager to share their experience. Privacy is preserved by having the patient call you.
7) If you are having breast augmentation, ask if the surgeon has a large inventory of different size and shape breast implants available in the operating room. A surgeon who does a lot of breast surgery will have an inventory. This way, the final implant choice does not have to be made in advance.
8) With office surgery, make sure the surgical facility is ACCREDITED. Very important safety assurance.
9) Make sure the anesthesia is given by a BOARD CERTIFIED ANESTHESIOLOGIST. Another very important safety factor.
10) Make sure the office has trained nurses available for hands-on post operative care. This can really speed recovery.
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon Questions to Ask
When choosing a plastic surgeon it is imperative to select a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Often, plastic surgeons who perform a great deal of aesthetic or cosmetic surgery will also be members of ASAPS. Although many capable aesthetic surgeons are not ASAPS members, searching for a plastic surgeon who is a member of ASAPS is an indication that a surgeon has significant interest in aesthetic plastic surgery.
Selecting a plastic surgeon should always start with board certification but it doesn't end there.
Choosing Your Surgeon
There is endless information about plastic surgery available online, some of it helpful, some of it hogwash. Many patients learn about treatment options and narrow their search for a plastic surgeon with the help of their computer. And then they make one or two or more appointments, and on the basis of these encounters decide on a surgeon. Some patients already have a particular plastic surgeon in mind, based on the recommendation of satisfied patients or the surgeon's reputation.
Regardless of how you decide who you see, ask yourself the following questions after your consultation appointment(s):
Is this surgeon qualified to perform the surgery I am considering?
Do I like this person? Will I enjoy seeing them over the course of my surgery and recovery?
Was my complete medical history taken and examined in detail?
Did this physician truly listen to me as I explained my thoughts about the improvement I am seeking?
Does this physician share my aesthetic sensibility? Do they understand me and are they able to provide exactly what I am looking for?
Was I provided with a thorough understanding of all options available (both surgical and non-surgical)?
Was I shown photographic examples of surgical outcomes that give me confidence?
Was the office staff professional, friendly and accommodating?
Was I pressured in any way to proceed with surgery?
Listen to what your heart and your gut tell you when you are evaluating your consultation experience. Only move forward if you can do so with confidence about the experience you expect to have in a given plastic surgery practice, and about your ultimate outcome as a surgical patient.
Your experience with the consultation process is a good indication of what you are likely to receive as a surgical patient in any practice. If the process is well-organized and enjoyable, the staff is respectful and efficient, and the physician takes adequate time to understand your individual needs and communicates effectively, then you have a very high likelihood of being treated in a similar fashion if you become a surgical patient of that practice. If the process is disorganized or rushed, if the staff is discourteous or unprofessional, or if the physician does not give you confidence that your needs will be met, then don't expect things to get any better once you are a surgical patient.
You must be absolutely certain that your plastic surgeon's aesthetic sensibility matches your aesthetic goals. I have a very particular aesthetic vision, and I do not pretend to be the plastic surgeon for everybody. I strive to produce surgical results that are natural-appearing, results that do not advertise a trip to the operating room. For example, I do not perform breast augmentation for patients that are seeking an overly large and distinctly `done' breast appearance. And I have a particular distaste for cheek implants, as I think they rarely produce natural-appearing cheek contours, and instead prefer to enhance facial volume by means of structural fat grafting. Make sure that your plastic surgeon's philosophy and preferred approaches are consistent with the goals that you have in mind.
Adequate communication is obviously invaluable, and you should be able to communicate clearly and easily not only with your doctor, but also with your doctor's staff. Over the course of preparing for and recovering from aesthetic surgery, your doctor's staff will have an important and active role. Make sure that your interaction with the staff gives you confidence that you will receive the care and attention that you expect, and deserve, postoperatively.
Searching for a qualified plastic surgeon
As with any speciality, Board Certification is the best fundamental qualification. To achieve board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a surgeon must have completed 3 to 5 years of general surgery, 2-3 years of plastic surgery and then have their cases reviewed by the board and undergo very difficult exams which test the surgeons knowledge of plastic surgery, surgical techniques and medical ethics and patient care. Many plastic surgeons are also board certified in General Surgery and have done additional fellowship training in areas such as hand, microsurgery, aesthetic surgery, ect. So a board certified plastic surgeon with fellowship training in aesthetic surgery is likely your best choice for a cosmetic procedure.
How to Pick THE BEST Plastic Surgeon
Regarding: "When Searching for a Plastic Surgeon What Qualifications/Credentials Should the MD Have?
When searching for a plastic surgeon what qualifications/credentials should the MD possess? Also, what other elements should I be concerned with or look for?"
This is an often asked question and I must commend you for thinking about it. A LOT of people walk into a doctor's office NOT understanding in the least what "Board certified" really means.
Rather than wasting my time, I refer you to the most extensive and clear explanation on HOW to pick a Plastic surgeon and the meaning of all the catch phrases out there on the Internet. Once you reviewed this page you will need everything you need to know on what to look for and how to pick a Plastic surgeon. Just follow the link below.
Dr. Peter Aldea
What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon
It is important to understand that there is a difference between the qualifications you should demand someone have before allowing them to perform a surgical procedure on you, and the additional characteristics and qualities that are found among the very best surgeons....
At minimum, you want to know that the doctor doing your plastic surgery is Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is easy to verify at The Board's website (search term American Board of Plastic Surgery).
You also want to ask if the surgeon has privileges to perform the operation proposed for you in a hospital. To obtain these hospital privileges, the doctor would have had to prove to the hospital that he or she was adequately trained in the procedure. If they do not have hospital privileges for the operation in question, I would not let them operate on me.
There are many other considerations in choosing a plastic surgeon, and this question is asked so often that I have written an article on the topic, which you can read by following the link below. I think you'll find it helpful.