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The most important thing to keep in mind when you're thinking about undergoing plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery is selection of your doctor. No matter how good a procedure is, if you don't have a good doctor performing it then it doesn't mean anything.

You want to make sure that your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. What that means is you can be confident that your plastic surgeon has completed an accredited training program in both general surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery that can range anywhere from six to nine years of training after medical school. At that point the plastic surgeon has completed and passed a written exam, has completed and passed an oral examination, and has met all the ethical and moral codes that have been set forth by the Board of Plastic Surgery.

You want to make sure your plastic surgeon is a board certified member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can check on the society's website. You can also ask your plastic surgeon. Don't be afraid to ask your plastic surgeon if they're board certified in plastic surgery. If they are then they're going to tell you and they're not going to feel embarrassed. If you get an answer that seems a little bit evasive then maybe they're not board certified in plastic surgery.

The one thing I always tell people is don't just ask if your plastic surgeon is board certified, because you don't know what they're board certified in. Make sure that they say they are board certified in plastic surgery.

Another tip to selecting a plastic surgeon besides being board certified in plastic surgery is to make sure that your plastic surgeon is experienced in the procedures that you want. As a plastic surgeon we all have procedures that we perform more commonly. So, if you're interested in getting breast implants, maybe going to the guy who's only known for doing rhinoplasties isn't the right thing to do.

Don't be afraid to ask your surgeon if they're experienced with this procedure. I know a lot of people say make sure that your surgeon has performed at least 200 of the procedures that you want to get done. I don't think that number really means anything, because there may be a plastic surgeon who's done 200 tummy tucks, but maybe they're all not so good.

I think just knowing that they're experienced in the procedure is enough, and I don't think you can place a number on the case. I wouldn't want to be number one, but I don't think you necessarily have to be number 200.

The other thing that's important is to get feedback from the doctor's other patients. Every plastic surgeon should be able to provide you with the name of one or two patients that have had the same procedure done so that you can speak with them and ask them about their experience with the doctor, their experience with the surgery, how their recovery was, and just help you through the process. If your plastic surgeon is unable to give you the name of a patient or seems annoyed that you're asking for a name of a patient, then maybe that's a red flag that this surgeon is not for you.

The other thing that I think is important is to see before and after pictures of the procedures that your surgeon has done. Again, I don't think you need to see a hundred before and after pictures of breast implants. But, you want to make sure that your doctor can provide you with at least a good sampling of before and after pictures.

The other thing, too, is your doctor should be able to show you results that he thinks are really good. And, he should also be able to show you results that he thinks are average. Because as a plastic surgeon there are always going to be results that are much, much better than others. You want to avoid the doctor that only shows you his most perfect results.

Another thing that's important is you want to make sure that your surgeon is affiliated with a local hospital, especially if your surgery's going to be performed in a outpatient ambulatory surgery facility. If your plastic surgeon is on staff at a local hospital that gives you the comfort of knowing that if something were to go wrong your surgeon has a local hospital where you can be admitted to in the case of an emergency.

The other thing that is a real benefit is if your plastic surgeon is a faculty member at a local medical school. You want to make sure that your surgeon is on staff at a medical school and has a title of a professor of plastic surgery or assistant professor of plastic surgery. This means that they have a role of teaching the residents in training. That gives you the comfort of knowing that your plastic surgeon is up to date on the latest techniques, knows all the current literature, and has been given the responsibility of training future plastic surgeons.

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Cosmetic Surgeon vs Plastic Surgeon

Doctor Matthew Schulman discusses choosing a Plastic Surgeon or a Cosmetic Surgeon.

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