Is It Better to Have One Plastic Surgeon or Specialists?

In considering different procedures like - eyelid fix (hood), facelift, breast enhancement and liposcution. Is it better to find one surgeon or should you seek out a specialist in each area. Is it really possible that one surgeon be expert in many diverse procedures?

Doctor Answers 13

Multiple procedure with one PS?

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Yes, it is possible for a Plastic Surgeon to be great at more than one area of the body. All surgeons will tend to have certain strengths but if you are comfortable with your surgeon, and you've seen photos of the work, and you like it, you may have found a real gem.

Facelift, browlift, midface lift,blepharoplasty, necklift

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Of course it is important to have a surgeon who is experienced and skilled in the surgery you are having performed, but there are other considerations that are important as well. Do you feel comfortable with your surgeon? Do you have a good rapport with him? Is it easy for you to ask him your questions and answer your concerns. Does he understand your questions? Can you understand his answers? Does his aesthetic vision and surgical goals match your own?

Another important point is that certain surgeries and anatomic areas naturally overlap with others. A browlift and an upper lid blepharoplasty, for instance, each affect the other. similarly, so does a browlift and a facelift or a browlift and a necklift, or a midface lift and a lower lid blepharoplasty, etc., etc. There is much to be said for the idea that a single skilled plastic surgeon can create a more integrated aesthetic harmony of the different areas being rejuvenated consonant with a single artistic vision than a gaggle of ultraspecialists working in an uncoordinated piecemeal fashion.

There is an old joke that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. It is important in this era of the supersubsubspecialist  that we not balkanize the practice of plastic surgery, or, indeed, human anatomy  to such a degree that we create awkward disjointed camels rather than graceful Arabian horses.

Peter Lee, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Anyone can wear a white coat. Not everyone is a board-certified plastic surgeon

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A plastic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are specifically trained for cosmetic surgery of the whole body.

Please see video: Anyone can wear a white coat. Not everyone is a board-certified plastic surgeon.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

One plastic surgeon or specialist

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You should ask your surgeon what he feels comfortable with.  Most board certified plastic surgeons are well versed in all aspects of facial and body cosmetic plastic surgery.  There are a few instances where a surgeon may suggest you see someone who specializes in one specific area if it is warrented.   Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Plastic surgeons capable for surgery on any part of the body

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Plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are fully trained in cosmetic surgery for all parts of the body. There are other specialties such as Facial Plastic Surgery where the training is limited to that anatomic region, but it does not imply greater expertise, only that it is limited to a specific area. However, many plastic surgeons limit their practice focus.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Hyper-specialization in plastic surgery

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Most well-trained, board-certified plastic surgeons can perform the majority of plastic surgical procedures you mentioned. A few are hyper-specialized either by choice because they enjoy only one area of the body, or because they are specially trained to take care of more difficult or unusual problems. Of course, there are all sorts of plastic surgeons with various interests and experience. You should ask the plastic surgeon if he feel competent to care for all your concerns and ask for other patients to talk  to if necessary.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Plastic Surgery Specialists

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All board-certified plastic surgeons are well-trained in all of the procedures that you mrntioned.  I would echo that you should make certain that the board cerification is in plastic surgery.  Menbers of the Amer. Soc. of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons have a special interest in cosmetic procedures and must be certified by the ABPS, but all board certified plastic surgeons, again, have the expertise to perform the procedures in which you are interested.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

One Plastic Surgeon or "Specialists”?

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Thank you for the question.

When choosing a plastic surgeon is important to  do your due diligence carefully. You will find that well-trained, well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons are extremely capable managing a variety of different procedures and the potential complications  associated with the procedures.

Although doctors have tried to carve out a “specialty” from the field of plastic surgery there is no evidence that these doctors achieve better results then extensively trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

You should also be comfortable with the ethics of the plastic surgeon you choose;  he/she will  ideally let you know when a specific procedure is not in their area of “expertise”.

I would suggest that you not be misguided by salesmanship or misleading titles and look carefully before selecting your plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

Is it really possible that one Plastic surgeon be expert in many diverse procedures?

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Do not fall for the hype created by non-Plastic surgeons seeking to elevate themselves by claiming superiority and God given cosmetic skills. Please, do your homework. The American Board of Plastic Surgery was created in 1938 to ASSURE a level of excellence and competence in both Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery for all American. Surgeons who are certified by this board (now part of the umbrella of The American Boards of Medical Specialists, wwwabmsorg) are eligible to apply for membership in The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) which requires adherence to a strict code of ethics and a culture of safety which NO other "cosmetic" society requires or enforces on its members.
Plastic surgeons who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, are NOT "generalists" but super-specialists. Those of us who specialize in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery can perform ALL these procedures equally well and, more importantly, handle their complications should they occur.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgeon or specialists? Wait . . . an ABPS-certified plastic surgeon IS a specialist!

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Certainly, I understand your question, but the fully-trained ABPS-certified plastic surgeon and ASAPS member who performs mostly one type of operation (breast only, liposuction only, facelifts only, etc.) is in a very unusual minority. Rather, plastic surgeons are fully trained in reconstructive and cosmetic procedures of the entire body.

Often, plastic surgeons with interest and expertise in cosmetic surgery will gradually move their practices away from reconstructive surgeries to a mostly or completely aesthetic practice, and a few who excel at one area of particular focus may become "known" for being a facelift expert or a breast expert. Often (usually?) this is a product of marketing to increase patient consultations in a certain area of interest (or better $$), not truly because any one plastic surgeon is indeed an "expert" in one specific operation.

Most plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic surgery have done so over many years of gradually building their elective aesthetic practice, and most all cosmetic operations are performed frequently enough that we are indeed "specialists" in each of these procedures. Sort of like going to the exotic car dealership where an expert mechanic knows all about, say, Ferrari automobiles. He won't be a Ferrari muffler expert or a Ferrari transmission expert, but pretty much a specialist in all things Ferrari. He may do more of one thing than others, but still has expertise specifically related to all things Ferrari.

Plastic surgeons are the specialists in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast, and body, and we perform many of each of these procedures every year, year after year. That is how we become specialists in these areas of initial training, and subsequent experience.

Trying to find a "facelift expert" who does only facelifts is possible, but unnecessary, since that plastic surgical expert will also likely be an expert in breast surgery and liposuction. Just ask. As an example, click on the web reference link below and see several examples of the different kinds of surgery I perform; each of these cases are my own.

Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 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.