How Should One Make a Choice Between Different Surgeons ?

I am having difficulty in making a choice between 2 surgeons. Both are ABPS certified as well as other credentials. Both were able to provide me with answers regarding abdominoplsty, both were able to answer all my questions. The difficulty comes from reviews ive read about them, the hospitals the procedures will take place. How much does years in practice/experience determine the choice? I saw photos on both of their websites, pictures in the office of one etc..etc.

Doctor Answers 19

Tummy Tuck

It sounds like you have two good choices.  Let your comfort level assist your decision.

Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Choosing your surgeon?

Thank you for the question.  Sounds like you're doing your due diligence. Based on your question it sounds like you have found two good plastic surgeons; now it comes down to your own “gut feeling”. Some general words of advice in this regard...

Anyone considering plastic or reconstructive surgery should consider consulting a board certified plastic surgeon to achieve the best and safest results possible. Physicians who are considered board certified hold a certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This certification proves that the surgeon has graduated from an accredited medical school, has completed a residency of at least five years, has three years of experience in general surgery, is actively practicing plastic surgery for at least two years, and has passed mandatory comprehensive and written examinations. These surgeons are referred to as diplomats of the ABPS and have fulfilled the following requirements. 

It is in the patient’s best interest to choose a board certified plastic surgeon. It is vital to your safety and the success of your cosmetic surgery that the surgeon you choose has the right qualifications, ample experience, and documented results of his or her work. ABPS diplomats have extensive skill and experience in a wide range of plastic surgery procedures.

There are a number of advantages in choosing a qualified and highly experienced Board Certified plastic surgeon to perform your cosmetic surgery. If there are any complications during surgery, an experienced plastic surgeon will be more adept at handling the situation. In addition, a plastic surgeon that has performed many cosmetic surgeries will have had more time to perfect his or her technique and results.

Reputable plastic surgeons should have privileges to perform cosmetic surgery procedures in the operating room at an accredited hospital, not just in the surgery center in their office. They work with a highly skilled team including, board certified anesthesiologists, nurses, and technicians to enhance patient comfort and to provide a peace of mind to the patient’s and their families.

During your consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon, ask to see before and after photos of actual patients who have undergone cosmetic surgery. The surgeon may provide you with a list of patients you may speak to as a reference for the doctor. To enhance your education regarding the surgeon, you may be introduced to some post-op patients as well during your visit with the surgeon. Most patients are willing to share their experience regarding their surgeon, the staff, hospital, and recovery.

I hope this helps. 

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

How to choose a plastic surgeon.

Choosing a doctor can be a confusing and seemingly arbitrary decision. However, there are many things to take into account when looking for the right doctor, including a plastic surgeon.

  1. Credentialing: This is one of the most important factors to determine. For plastic surgeons, the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the ONLY approved board for plastic surgery. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery IS NOT an approved board by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). I've provided a link to the ABMS below in case you are interested in finding the approved Boards for any specialty of medicine.
  2. Word of Mouth: Your friends, family, coworkers are all resources when it comes to finding a doctor or plastic surgeon you can trust. Your other doctors (OB/Gyn, Internist, etc.) also usually know who does "good work" and often hear the scoop on different plastic surgeons.
  3. In Office Consultation: The consultation with your plastic surgeon should be professional, direct, and unpressured. Your questions should be answered without you feeling rushed. Your gut feeling is very important following this consultation. In many respects, it is an interview. Looking at pre and post photos is also very important.
  4. Websites/reviews: These are tricky. If you have ever read a comment section after an article on a news website, you'll notice that the negative comments seem to dominate. When people have a bad result or feel as if they have been slighted, they are quick to condemn a doctor in reviews. Take these with a grain of salt. On the flip side, overly glowing reviews are more likely to have been written by the office manager of the practice than an actual patient. Again, grains of salt.
  5. Price: A common fallacy is that if you spend more, you get a better result. This is true to a point. I would never recommend bargain basement plastic surgery - this is not like getting a discount on a fridge. But, paying prices that are twice the average for an area is also not a guarantee of perfection. Price should be a consideration, but by no means the driving force to choose one surgeon over another.
  6. Sanctions: Although this seems obvious, major sanctions such as previous revocations of a medical license, revocation of staff privileges at a hospital, or professional misconduct should be noted. Inquiries as to a doctors standing can be found at many of the websites which review physicians - Healthgrades, Vitals, etc.

The bottom line is that you are looking for someone who is competent in what they do and whom you trust will put your best interests first. In the field of elective plastic surgery, safety is more important than price and convenience. Understanding the procedure you are having done, the risks associated, and the expected downtime, recovery period, and limitations is important. Ask around and you'll find folks who have had great experiences with their plastic surgeon. In the end, you will likely have several options of great plastic surgeons to choose from. If that's the case, go with the person you feel the most comfortable with.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Choosing the right surgeon for tummy tuck

It is difficult to choose between plastic surgeons.  Assuming that the surgeons, as you said, are ABPS certified, have hospital privileges to perform the sugery (even if it is going to take place in their office surgery center and not the hospital), then it comes down to certain intangibles.  You should feel that the results shown to you in their before and after photos are consistent with your goals.  For example, I see results from board-certified surgeons that show impressive tightening and flattening of the tummy, but the belly buttons are too large, or too low, or the scars are too high, or the scars are of a shape that I find aesthetically displeasing, or all of the scars are unsightly (we cannot control how every patient heals, but poor quality scars in most photos might tell you something!).  Also, how much time did the surgeon spend with you during the consultation?  Did the nurse perform the consultation and the surgeon spent 5 minutes examining you?  If the surgeon does not spend much time with you when he is trying to win your business, how accessible will they be after you are their patient?  Reputation matters, of course, and although not infallible, positive word of mouth among other patients and other physicians means a great deal. Ultimately, you will get a feeling that one surgeon connects with you, that you just feel more comfortable with them and what they are telling you, and that, should a problem arise, you trust them to guide you through that crisis.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Choosing between plastic surgeons

You have done good homework.  I would trust your gut instincts more than on-line reviews if one has some that are less than positive.  I also would go to the more experienced one because as well-intentioned as the younger one might be, all of us who are more "seasoned veterans" would tell you that our results are better after 20+ years of doing plastic surgery than they were when we were younger even though we were pleased with them back then.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Chosing between well qualified surgeons

You have obviously done your homework in checking on credentials for both surgeons and hospitals. In addition to the recommendations in the other answers to your question, I would add how do you feel about the office staff. Often you will have more interaction with them than the surgeon so you want to be comfortable with them and feel that they will treat you well. Good luck with your decision and surgery.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Choosing A Plastic Surgeon

You have already done the important things in selecting a plastic surgeon.  You note that both are certified bt the Amer. Board of Plastic Surgery and have comparable credentials.  You also note that you have visited both web sites and presumably viewed photos.  If all else is equal, it probably becomes a matter of which personality with whom you better mesh.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Choosing the right plastic surgeon for you

Hello and thank you for the question.

Assuming that both physicians are properly qualified (Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, etc) and you are satisfied with your online due diligence, I would ask the physicians to speak with old clients who have had similar procedures to get an opinion and a sense of what the procedure and post-procedural experience was like.  Aside from that, I would choose the surgeon you have the best rapport with and are most comfortable with.  You are about to embark into a long-term relationship with your surgeon. Choose wisely.

Kindest Regards,

Glenn Vallecillos, M.D, F.A.C.S.

Glenn Vallecillos, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Making a Choice

After ensuring that your choices are board-certified , have reasonably answered your questions and discussed their particular approach (this can be assisted with pictures, etc); I would then just go with your intuition and who you feel most comfortable with.  While all of us want happy patients and perfect procedures, in the end, this is a partnership between surgeon and patient to achieve your (realistic) goals; this includes the surgeon and his staff taking care of you whether the course is smooth or has complications. 

Jerry Lugger, MD
Southlake Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Choosing a plastic surgeon

I do think that experience is important and this is likely reflected by how long the surgeon has been in practice. The hospital site can be important as well and you may be able to find that information on the web. But also important is the experience of others. Your surgeons may be able to put you in touch with one or two of their patients who are willing to talk to you.

Hugh McLean, MD
Mississauga Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 7 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.