After Two Consultations, I Like Both Surgeons, How do I Decide?

I really liked and respected both camps so I am having trouble deciding which way to go. All things are equal as far as qualifications and price. Please help!

Doctor Answers 28

After Two Consultations, I Like Both Surgeons, How do I Decide?

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Go with the better looking one.......just kidding...Assuming training, cost and results to be equal, I find the next level of decision making for many patients is the office staff. I send out evaluation forms to all of my patients and many say they love my staff and that other doctors employees turned them off. You will have some scheduling issues and may have questions needing answering my the nurse, so take all of that into consideration!

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

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When considering Plastic Surgery, always choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  This may sound obvious, but many physicians perform procedures that outside of the spectrum of their practice and training.  Compare before and after photos, and talk to other patients who have chosen that surgeon.  Finally, you should select a surgeon and staff who are a good fit for your goals and personality.  You should like your surgeon and feel comfortable with him/her.  There are many skilled Plastic Surgeons, and you want to make sure that you are very comfortable with your entire experience. 

All the best,

Dr. Skourtis

Mia E. Skourtis, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

How to choose a surgeon?

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Firstly, you need to find a board certified plastic surgeon (no other "certification" has any formal training in breast augmentation despite the names given to the "boards"). Finding members of ASPS and ASAPS are beneficial and also looking at before and after images from the physician. With all things being equal, you have to pick the person with whom you had the most "connection."  You will have to trust your surgeon to make some decisions for you when you are under anesthesia and you want to make sure that your surgeons goals best match your ultimate outcome. In the end - go with your gut instinct.

Best of luck,

Vincent Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Research is so important....

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            It’s important for patients to be comfortable with their choice of plastic surgeon before proceeding with any type of cosmetic surgery. When choosing a surgeon, several issues should be considered.  These include the surgeons training, certification and experience.             Completion of a plastic surgery residency is an essential requirement when picking a surgeon.  Although it seems obvious that cosmetic surgery should be performed by someone trained in plastic surgery, this isn’t always the case.  There are many physicians who perform cosmetic surgery who haven’t completed plastic surgery training. They frequently refer to themselves as cosmetic surgeons and have trained in a variety of other areas.             Board certification is also extremely important.  This means that your surgeon has undergone testing and peer review.  He has satisfied certain criteria that are associated with surgical excellence.             One of the most important factors is your surgeons’ level of experience.  Surgeons who have extensive experience with cosmetic surgery tend to have higher success rates.  Equally important is your comfort level with your plastic surgeon.  Your plastic surgeon should be someone that you’re comfortable talking to.  It’s also a good idea to have consultations with multiple surgeons, so you have a basis for comparison.             Take your time with this very important decision.  If you have questions, doubts or anxiety regarding this issue don’t proceed until they’re resolved.  Remember, mommy makeover surgery is an elective procedure and you shouldn’t proceed unless you’re prepared in every way.  Picking the right plastic surgeon is one of the most important types of preparation.

After two consultations, I like both surgeons, how do I decide?

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Hello! Thank you for your question.  Cost will vary among plastic surgeons as well as with geographic location and what procedures exactly they will be providing to you.  Certainly, researching a board certified plastic surgeon well-versed in the procedure(s) you desire is recommended - checking the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a great start. Consult with two or more surgeons who you are happy with their postoperative photographs and those who you, most importantly, feel comfortable and confident with. Use the opportunity to ask questions as well as visit with staff and investigate the accredited facilities they work out of.  I believe fellowship-training, beyond the core plastic surgery residency to be important, as that surgeon has gone above and beyond to seek additional training specific to that area of interest and chosen to gain additional expertise in that area.   

Experience should not be measured solely by the age of the surgeon or how many years s/he has been in practice.  Checking the education and training is more valuable - a Board Certified MD plastic surgeon who was accepted to and completed an integrated plastic surgery residency, in today's day and age, are excellent choices. Those are the top students who have superior training at top institutes.  Plastic Surgery is NOT a is a residency. Those surgeons who have actually successfully completed additional fellowship training beyond the plastic surgery residency are also passionate about that area and will likely have the most recent, innovative, and up to date techniques. These are usually the younger surgeons, who are still readily willing and competent to continue to strive for the newest material and remain up to date on literature and conferences. 

You must decide for yourself who you are most comfortable with and confident with who will meet your goals and expectations. Cost may differ just on expertise and the aforementioned additional training ad what that additional expertise training has afforded to his/her patients.  Hope that this helps!  Best wishes!

Depends on what you find most important

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What do you find the most important? In these situations, you should consider what's most important to you and see which surgeon is better at that. For example, rapport is an important factor to consider for many patients, so they choose the surgeon they get along with better.  

How to Pick the Best Plastic Surgeon

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How do I pick the best Plastic Surgeon is what you are asking. Here is my advice:

  • Verify Board Certification by American Board of Plastic Surgery (do this online)
  • Member of American Society of Plastic Surgery (requirements beyond Board Certification)
  • Member of American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (indicates extensive experience in aesthetic surgery - see below link)
  • Look at online review sites - like RealSelf, Health Grades,RateMDs, Google, etc
  • Look at Before and After photos
  • What is my instinct or "gut reaction" as to who I relate to better, answers my questions more fully and who I basically trust the most.
  • Finally ask yourself - if I was to have a complication, who would be the best to take care of me.

Larry Nichter, MD, FACS

Outcomes and The Quality of Your Relationship are Very Important

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Hi there-

Plastic Surgery, more than most other medical specialties, will produce outcomes and experiences that are dependent on intangibles unrelated to the physician's credentials.

On other words, I'm glad that you have found two surgeons with excellent qualifications. This is a great place to start from. 

Making the decision from here should be based on the quality of the relationships you will enjoy (or not) with the surgeon and the staff in the practice. Remember that over the next few months and for up to a year, you will be interacting a great deal with these people and that your safety and happiness will be in the balance. As much as most surgeons would like to believe that their qualities as a surgeon are all that should matter, it is simply not the case. The experience is as important as the outcome...

Which brings me to my second point- the OUTCOMES your surgeon is able to demonstrate should be very important in your decision making. In plastic surgery, this is, in fact, our work product, right? You would never buy a painting from an artist without seeing lots of examples of his artwork... If you were hiring an architect, you would want to see lots of examples of other beautiful buildings he had designed, right? This is no different- beyond his education, training, and experience, the only way to know that your surgeon has the SKILL and TALENT (things that are different to gauge otherwise) to make you happy is to see many (not one or two) examples of lovely, natural outcomes produced by him.

Once you've considered the above, the right choice should present itself to you. If after these matters are taken into consideration you are still uncertain, I would take this to mean that you are probably equally likely to be safe and happy in either of their hands!

Liking to surgeons.

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Liking both of your plastic surgeons is a good thing.  It's also good if both of them are making similar recommendations as it confirms that the surgical plan is sound.

If you like both equally you may have to turn to personal things in your life that may help make the decision.  Is one office closer to you than the other?  Are they both available at the same time when you have time to recover?  Do you like their staff?

It seems like you can't go wrong with either one.  I suggest making a list of pros and cons.  It might help.


Good luck with your choice.

Photos, Photos, Photos and patient testimonials to decide which doctor to work with

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Getting more than one consultation can be very confusing but it is very helpful as well.  I think the best thing to do is to look at as many pre and post op photos to see if you like the position of the scars, the shape of the breast.  There are soooooo many things to consider and you actually have many options with both surgeries. For example with the breast augmentation you have the choice of implant style, size, texture, position, incision location etc.  For example placing the implant above or under the muscle is a major decision - understanding the risks of each is critical to your being able to decide which risk you are more comfortable with: margin visibility (submammary-above muscle) vs.  double bubble & motion related asymmetries (submuscular-under muscle).  I also get my patients in touch with other patients who have under gone the same surgery so that they can ask questions and speak openly about their experience.

Look at the photos and go with the one that has the results you like best!

Good luck!!

Kimberley Lloyd O'Sullivan, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon

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.