The Five Actions to Take When Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

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Choosing a plastic surgeon may be one of the most important decisions you will make. The wrong decision has the potential to drastically affect your surgical outcome and your peace of mind. From your research so far, you know how hard it can be to find easily quantifiable information about physicians online. You may see doctor reviews on sites like Yelp, but sometimes those do not seem trustworthy, and the dissatisfied customers always seem to have the loudest voice.

Still, there are a number of ways to aid in choosing a doctor who will help you look and feel your best, and who will be your partner in finding the course of action that’s right for you.

1. Verify their Board Certification

First and foremost, you should seek out a provider who is board certified. Though there are state medical boards that provide licensing, these boards do not certify that specialists are experienced in a certain type of practice. That is why board-certifying agencies such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery exist. Your doctor should be certified by the ABPS. They should also be a member of the American College of Surgeons . Check on the surgeon’s certifications.

2. Check their Record

Judgments and disciplinary actions against a plastic surgeon can be red flags. Most states have databases where you can find out if there have been any disciplinary actions or open formal complaints against a doctor’s license. You can look up your potential Michigan plastic surgeon at michigan.gov/lara on the LARA License Search page.

You also may check whether they have been involved in any malpractice cases, by searching their county’s circuit court website. Of course, finding evidence that someone has brought suit against a doctor will not tell the whole story. If you see multiple suits or judgments against a doctor, you may become aware of a negative pattern that should make you leery of using their practice. Trust your intuition.

3. Check their Experience Level

Is the surgeon experienced in the type of procedure that you’re interested in? When you speak to their office, their staff should be able to tell you how much experience in this area the surgeon has, or be able to get that information to you quickly. Though you may feel comfortable with a certain physician, they may not be the most ideal provider for your circumstances. Be proactive and find out.

4. Peruse their Before and After Pictures

This can help give you a realistic expectation of what this physician is capable of. Do the results on their example cases match what you’d like to see on your own body or face? Sometimes the doctor’s aesthetic sense may not match your own, and it’s best to move on to another provider.

5. Meet Them Face to Face

Above all, you want a provider that you feel comfortable with. The preceding steps are meant to eliminate those providers that may not be valuable to meet with. In this final step, you should use your instincts to help with your decision. Speak with the doctor and engage with them. See if you connect. Pay attention to the following factors:
     - Do they treat you with respect? Some doctors exude an air of arrogance, and talk down to their patients.
     - Are they a good listener? Your doctor should truly hear what you have to say, and not dismiss your concerns.
     - Do they encourage questions? Your surgeon should want you to have as much information about your potential surgery as possible.
     - Do they explain things in an easily understandable way? Your doctor should be able to break things down for you in layman’s terms, and not overwhelm you with medical jargon.

Having plastic surgery can be a very stressful (but ultimately very rewarding) process. Finding the right doctor, one who can be trusted to act as a partner and advocate, is paramount. With these tips, you should have a very good start on finding the ideal one.
Article by
Troy Plastic Surgeon