Selecting a plastic surgeon - Training, Experience, Safety,
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?
Does this surgeon perform aesthetic surgery exclusively or is aesthetic surgery a small percentage of the pratice?
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.
Verify that major surgical procedures are performed in an accredited surgery center and that anesthesia care is provided by board-certified M.D. anesthesiologists. If you are most comfortable with overnight observation after surgery with the bedside care of an R.N., verify that this is available to you. Look up your surgeon on your state's Medical Board website to verify that they are in good standing and have no public record of sanction or limitation of their license to practice.
Be confident enough to ask some `difficult' questions. Feel empowered to ask any physician questions like: What are your complication and reoperation rates for this procedure? Has a cosmetic surgery that you performed ever resulted in a lawsuit? Have you had any serious complications and unplanned hospitalizations after cosmetic surgery? Have you ever been disciplined by a state medical board? I am never offended by these kinds of questions, and no competent and qualified surgeon should be. In my opinion it is actually the savvy prospective cosmetic surgery patient who does this kind of `due diligence'.
The facility that your plastic surgeon uses to perform surgical procedures should be happy to share with you the details of their sterilization process. Simply request to speak with the Clinical Director (usually an R.N.) or Nurse Manager of that facility. It is perfectly reasonable to want some assurance about this important part of the surgery process.
Facial Procedure? Facial Plastic Surgeon
Choosing a surgeon is can be complicated. As I have stated on other posts, rely on Reputation, Results, Rapport, and board certification.
It also stands to reason that when choosing a surgeon, you see someone who specializes in the area you are interested. If you are considering facial rejuvenation, I recommend you see a Facial Plastic Surgeon, certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery (ABFPRS).
The Right Way to Select a Plastic Surgeon?
This question comes up often- here is an answer I gave to a patient interested in finding a good tummy tuck surgeon- If you follow this advice, you should be able to be confident you will be well taken care of...
This really is a universal question. Let's first understand that what you are really asking is, "how do I maximize my chances of getting the outcome I want, with safety, in a comfortable and pleasant experience?".
It is important to understand that while your chosen surgeon is probably the most important factor in achieving the above, there are other important considerations as well. Here are my thoughts about how best to go about this...
Find a surgeon you really like and feel comfortable with FIRST. Too many patients search for a price they like, or for a surgeon who is willing to do a certain procedure on them (whether it is really in their best interests or not). First and foremost, you should be looking for a quality education, top-notch training in plastic surgery, with board certification BY THE AMERICAN BOARD OF PLASTIC SURGERY (there are many "boards", but only certification by The American Board of Plastic Surgery ensures you that the surgeon has undergone the years of plastic surgery specific training and examination you want). Provided the surgeon has these qualifications, it is important that you like them and feel you can get along well with them- you are, after all, entering into an important relationship. If these two criteria are satisfied, it's time to evaluate his/her work and expertise... ask to see examples of his/her work, and maybe even to talk to some former patients. They will be best able to tell you what it was like to be cared for by this surgeon. Whatever you do, remember that quality professional treatment (whether by a plastic surgeon, an architect, or any other professional) will carry a price appropriate for the surgeon's level of training and expertise. Shopping for a low price will usually lead to the difficult re-learning of the lesson that "you will get what you paid for".
Once you have found a surgeon you like, it is important to know about THE FACILITY, and who will be providing your ANESTHESIA. Having a great surgeon won't matter if the facility is less than safe, or if your anesthesia provider is under-qualified or suspect. Most good surgeons make sure the facilities and anesthesia providers they use are reputable, but this is not always the case, particularly as surgeons have scrambled (like everyone else) to save money in these more difficult times. It is very important that the facility is certified by either the JCAHO or AAAASF. These regulatory bodies inspect facilities for safety and cleanliness, as well as verifying the training of the personnel involved in your care.
Your anesthesia provider can be a qualified nurse anesthetist, or an anesthesiologist (a doctor of anesthesia). My personal opinion is that the additional cost of having an anesthesiologist present and managing your care is more than worth it.
I hope this helps you!
Of course you need to check for all the credentials which are easy to do via your state medical board. But a call to your gynecologist might be helpful since many of them know plastic surgeons well. All women who undergo plastic surgery eventually get back to their gynecologist or internist. I would rely more on the doctor's opinion that the media coverage. In fact, it is often an inverse relationship: the more reputable the doctor, the less he is in the media.
You might also ask to speak to former patients with similar concerns as yours. That is probably more revealing than photos.
I would ask what makes you suspect that reviews are not real. If that is true and verifiable, that might be a red flag. Companies, and individuals, have been prosecuted for false advertising for using bogus reviews or testimonials. At worse, it would signal an ethical breech of practice behavior and I would urge you to steer clear.
Selecting the right doctor
Selecting the right plastic surgeon is a difficult process. Beyond Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you want to meet the doctor and spend significant time with him or her to see if you click, you want to see many un-retouched photos of their patients that appeal to you, check with your gynecologist or primary care provider and go with your instinct. It sounds like you have found a good one already!
It seems like you have done your research so I am not sure what you are of suspect. You need to see his before and afters and do your research. Once all that has been done and if you are happy with the surgeon and your consultation then there really is not much more to do. You could ask to talk to some of his patients that have undergone the same procedure.
Selecting the right doctor
Very tough thing to check for everything. First check the person's board certification. Ask around to see if people are happy with his results and the care that was given. Speak to the staff and see how they respond to you. Look at photos. And then choose after you have a consultation and feel comfortable with the doctor.