How Do I Properly Check out Doctors?

I'm trying to really do my research before I get lipo on my inner/outer thighs and upper knees. I know that checking out your doctor is important. I've done lots of internet searches on mine, and found nothing negative but not a lot in general. What should I be looking for beyond Board Certification and no sanctions? How/where do I find reliable information on surgeons?

Doctor Answers 13

This can be very difficult for consumers.

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It is important to understand that for liposuction there are several surgical specialties that perform liposuction: General plastic surgeons, cosmetic dermatologists, and increasingly cosmetogynecologists.  There is very little evidence that one speciality is better than another.  However, there is some interesting data that comes from malpractice insurance data suggesting that general plastic surgeons are more likely to be sued from liposuction malpractice than dermatologists performing liposuction.  Interestingly in the United States, these two specialties do about the same number of liposuction surgeries.  So the difference is not explained by one group doing more surgery than another group.  It is thought that the big difference is that dermatologists tend to do liposuction under local anesthesia instead of using general anesthesia.   So when you read that the surgeon should be a board certified general plastic surgeon, remember this information comes from board certified general plastic surgeons.  Just be aware that there is turf conflict between cosmetic surgery specialists.  Generally this competition benefits the public by creating more choices.

Generally Googling the doctor will bring up their web marketing.  Negative (and positive) comments about doctors are worth reading but take them with a grain of salt.  Check with the Medical Board of your state regarding any your doctor credentials.  They should be licensed, board certified in their particular speciality.  I personally think it is a good sign if they are involved in training other doctors, lecturing to colleagues, and writing papers.  Finally, see how you are treated by the doctor and his or her office.  

Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Properly Check out Doctors

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Some of the important considerations include input from friends and family, whether the surgeon is a member of American Society of Plastic Surgery, Fellow of American and/or International College of Surgeons, a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the level of accreditation at the center at which he/she operates, and the anesthesiologist used.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Checking out Doctors

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Thank you for the question.
I  am  sure there are many well-qualified plastic surgeons in your area. I would suggest starting with the American 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.

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. The surgeons will generally be well-versed in a  variety of procedures that may be indicated based on your examination and goals.

I hope this helps.


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To get the best liposuction doc, make sure that that is pretty much all he/she does!

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It is hard for patients to find a good liposuction doc if all you see are docs promoting their board certification and nothing else meaningful.  Ask the doctor's receptionist what that doc is noted for.  That let's you know alot since if they say he does everything from breast surgery to noses, facelifts etc...then he probably dabbles in lipo as a sideline.  Also if they still use general anesthesia rather than tumescent liposuction, that also can be a red flag but not always.  By now you must have read enough on the internet to know that gen. anesth is more risky and "old school" and not done by most experienced liposuction surgeon now-a-days.  If you feel comfortable with your doc, and like their before and after photos and answers your questions well as well as having done thousands of cases then you got the right doc.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD 

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Internet and surgeons

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I do not believe that the internet is a good place to search for surgeons unless you are looking at national boards, state licensing boards, and the like. The is too much self-promotion, self-acclaimed aggrandizement, bogus boards, as well as invalid negative reviews that it all ends up pretty muddy.,  I suggest asking your primary doctor for referrals and, for women, their gyncologist since all the women patients eventually get back to their gyncologist. They know who is good, or not, who is reputable or not, or they can find out for you. Good doctors tend to refer to other good doctors.

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

Best doctor for liposuction.

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You are right in that board certification is only the minimum qualification needed. See live patients the doctor has done. We have been doing liposuction for more than 30 years and if a patient wants to see someone I have done with their problem I will introduce them to one of my patients with the same problem who has had surgery.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Board certification is a good beginning

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No the qualifications differ and depend on the training programs.
In the United States, medical doctors are licensed at the state level. It is generally a requirement that all individuals requestiing a license meet several criteria including:
1. Earning a degree of MD or DO from an accredited medical school (128 in the US) or college of osteopathic medicine (28 in the US) with differing qualifications.
2. Completing at least one year of internship in an accredited program.
3. Succesful completion of a licensing examination. Separate exams are administered by the United States Medical Licensing Examination (MD) and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (DO).
Now this is a very simpliflied explanation of licensure. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Therefore, you have to distinguish licensure from board certification. You can be licensed either as a DO or MD. However, you can be board certified in a variety of different specialties. This is an additional process to licensure.
There are approximately 23 "Boards" recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialites (ABMS). Why is this important? Almost anyone, you are I, can establish a Board and make ourselves Board Certified. For example, I could create a board that is called the Board of Absolutely Astounding Aesthetic Surgeons and make myself the supreme leader. Well, it wouldn't be respected and it would only have one member. So the ABMS was created to establish criteria that recognized and oversees Boards.
I know this is complex but let me try to explain in layman's terms. It takes a little time. When you look at an electrical product, many people insist that it have the UL seal of approval or the CE mark. Why? Because, this assures but does not guarantee that the product has met certain baseline criteria evaluating quality as well as testing.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery is currently the only ABMS recognized cosmetic surgery board and it credentials both MD's and DO's.
Board certification by an ABMS recognized board does the same. Is that clear?

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Plastic surgeons

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Besides seeing if your plastic surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you can go to the American Society of Plastic Surgery. You also want to make sure that your surgeon can do the same procedure in the closest large hospital in case there are problems.

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

How to find the best plastic surgeon.

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This is an important question. It require some home work from you. First there is a minimum qualifications that every one should be looking for. This is membership at ASAPS ( American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery ) the members of this society are all real plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and do perform aesthetic ( cosmetic) surgery frequently. As I said this is the minimum requirement. Then call the local hospital operating room and ask to talk to the nurse who works with the plastic surgery cases . Nurses know who is the best and they will usually offer an unbiased opinion. The more people you ask the better it is. If you hear the same plastic surgeons name from three different sources you can be sure that he has a good reputation in the community and that usually means he gets good results. Don't get fooled by websites and advertisements.

Finding the right doctor

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Read all the rest and add this please.  You have expressed an interest in upper knee, inner thigh lipo as well as outer thigh lipo.  The first two are relatively bad places for lipo because of the thin skin in the inner thigh and the tendency for sideways wrinkles in the upper knees.  Be ware of any doctor who doesn't caution you about these areas and encourage you to either accept a very conservative result there or skip the areas entirely.

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.