As a doctor, how do you weed out the genuinely skilled surgeons and the not so skilled ones?

I am needing to find a PS for a possible tummy tuck/lipo (don't know just want my pooch gone) and a Lift/small reduction. The surgeon I am going to tomorrow has a TON of reviews, and it is almost scary there are so many positive and so few negative. I get the feeling he sees a TON of patients and I worry he won't give me my desired results because I am just a paycheck. How do you truly know if you are going to a good surgeon who will give you what you want?

Doctor Answers 8

Finding the Right Surgeon

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That is an excellent and important question.  To help narrow the field of potential plastic surgeons you should be certain to limit your search to board certified plastic surgeons.  You should also try to find a doctor who is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).  Surgeons in that society have a particular interest and experience in cosmetic plastic surgery.  Beyond that, check online reviews and seek out recommendations from friends and your physicians.  Schedule several consultations during which you can evaluate how you are treated by the surgeon and his/her staff. Determine if the physician is really listening to your concerns and taking time to explain your options including the risks of the various procedures.  Finally look at photos and evaluate the fees you have been provided.  Hopefully, after that process, you will find a plastic surgeon with whom you feel comfortable.

Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Choosing a surgeon, getting the best outcome

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The first thing you should do is check the ASPS website for a list of doctors in your area. Then look at online reviews. Check the surgeon's website. Look at their results. Ask around to see if you have any personal references, these can be very helpful. Once you have screened the doctor, meet with them. If they are professional and sincere, educated and experienced, if they listen to your concerns and develop a plan which fits with your goals, you have found a good match.

Good surgeon or not?

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Great question!  First, make sure your PS is a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.  Once that base is covered, then talk to people you know that have been to him/her, and check out all the reviews.  You may find negative reviews even on good surgeons, but the majority should be positive.  Having a great reputation is a difficult achievement, so if you find someone like that, then that is another factor to consider.  Lastly, you must feel comfortable with this surgeon.  Did he/she spend time with you to help you determine the best procedure to accomplish your goals?  Did he/she listen to you?  Do you feel he/she has your best interests at heart?  If you can answer all of these positively, then likely you are making the most informed decision.  Good luck!!!

Jonathan Heistein, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

how do you weed out the genuinely skilled surgeons and the not so skilled ones?

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Thank you for the question. It is an important one: selection of your plastic surgeon will be the most important decision you make when it comes to achieving an outcome that you will be pleased with.

Generally I suggest that patients start with the American Society of Plastic Surgery and/or the Aesthetic Society of Plastic Surgery to obtain a list of well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.
Then, I would suggest you visit a few surgeons whose practices concentrate on aesthetic surgery.
***Ask to see lots of examples of their work and preferably speak/see patients who have had similar procedures done. Ultimately it will be important that you feel comfortable that your plastic surgeon have a significant/demonstrable experience consistently achieving the types of outcomes you will be pleased with. 
Be very careful with your decision-making. You will find, while doing your due diligence, that there are many different “specialties” who will offer their services to you; again, I strongly recommend you concentrate on surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Best wishes.

Weed out the good and bad

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Hello and thank you for your question. Really difficult to answer. As far as I am concerned before and after photos are most important.  Second did the surgeon himself see you and how much time did he give you. Did he explain everything about the surgery and follow up. You still may not be happy with your results but those are most important. Personally one other thing is a down to earth but confident surgeon.
Good luck. 
Peter Fisher M.D 

Peter Fisher, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

As a doctor, how do you weed out the genuinely skilled surgeons and the not so skilled ones?

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FIrst, you need to have a good feeling for the surgeon and find the doctor friendly, approachable, knowledgeable, and feel the surgeon understands your goals. But the review thing is also great. Having lots of good reviews and a few bad ones really implies they are real, no one has a perfect record in pleasing patients. And he wouldn't be busy if he wasn't good. Finally, of course you want an experienced surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Any other board would be inadequate. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Qualified surgeons

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Thank you for the question. Being certified by American Board of Plastic Surgery is just the beginning of the criteria you should start your search. Talk to your friends and get some personal references. If you know any medical professional (especially nurses) talk to them. Search the state medical board for any complaints and national database for malpractice or discipline action. Find out how long he/she has been in town and how many surgery of that particular kind he/she has done. 
Finally, set up a consultation with the surgeon and see whether you are comfortable with him/her. Good luck. 

Neil T. Chen, MD
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon

How do you tell if someone is a 'skilled' surgeon

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There is no definitive way to determine this.  However, reviews and before and after photos help as well as talking to patients that have had these procedures by the doctor.  Also make sure that your doctor is an actual plastic surgeon because in every state ANY doctor with a medical license can call themselves a 'Cosmetic Surgeon'.

Best wishes

Shayne Webb, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 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.