Rhinoplasty quantity and quality does matter
If your surgeon has a great reputation that is a good starting point. If they have a large volume of rhinoplasty patients within their practice and that is how they earned their reputation, that is even better. In a smaller market such as Charlotte, it is likely that if your surgeon was getting bad rhinoplasty results, you would have heard about it. Most of us would argue that rhinoplasty has a steep learning curve, and you really need to perform many of them in order to become proficient in rhinoplasty. How many is enough? The answer probably varies from surgeon to surgeon.
Unfortunately, as pointed out by some of my colleagues, there are surgeons who are truly unskilled but extremely savvy in their marketing and sales. As a potential patient, feel free to ask to see photos, talk with patients, and spend enough time with your surgeon to get a sense of whether they are passionate about their work or are you just another number.
Training, accreditation, and experience should all be considered. I assume you have verified the training and accreditation of your surgeon. 50 rhinoplasties per year is probably adequate experience. The final step should be reviewing pictures of the results achieved in noses similar to yours. I wish all patients were as thorough as you have been.
Surgeon's rhinoplasty experience and results are what matter
The majority of plastic surgeons perform less than ten rhinoplasties per year. It is important to seek out a surgeon who has performed thousands of rhinoplasties before entertaining a difficult rhinoplasty procedure. The rhinoplasty operation is the hardest single operation to perform in the field of cosmetic surgery, and it pays to go with someone who has an enormous amount of experience. Look at each surgeons before and after photos to ensure you like the results. Typically patients in these photos are happy with the surgeon's work. It is also important to find a physician who has a background in ear, nose, and throat and is board-certified in both ear, nose, and throat surgery and in facial plastic surgery.
The importance of rhinoplasty experience
Rhinoplasty is a very complex procedure and requires hundreds if not thousands to really master. 50 a year over the last 10 or 20 years is certainly enough to have developed and refined your technique. While there is a certain amount of talent and artisitic judgement that your surgeon either has or doesnt have, they definitiely have to have a certain number of rhinoplasty under their belt to be great. A surgeon may be the best breast or tummy tuck surgeon that ever lived, but rhinoplasty requires a very different skill set and without that experience that same doctor may not be a great rhinoplaty surgeon.
I heard a statement once made by a legend in rhinoplasty and that is , "The first 200 rhinoplasies you do should be for free". He made this remark because it takes at least that many to have a reasonable understanding of the nuances of rhinoplasty.
Rhinoplasty quality is the most important criterion, not numbers.
You should find an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon who does the kind of noses you like since that is what you'll be getting in the end.
Rhinoplasty, a numbers game
First of all, I would not consider choosing a surgeon based solely on how many of a specific surgery that they perform each year. I would look at the before and after photos that he/she has, and look at his/her credentials. You may even ask to speak with a patient who has had surgery performed by this doctor. The quality of the results are what you are looking for.
First, I dont know of any surgeon that performs thousands a year, that is not possible. Second, you need to see before and after photos and not be so focused on the number performed. Numbers dont mean anything, if all the surgeon does is bad work. Practice does not make perfect!
Be more concerned on the quality and your relationship with your plastic surgeon.
Rhinoplasty is a difficult operation
Rhinoplasty procedures are the most difficult procedure for both the patient and the physician. That being said it is also one of the most rewarding procedures. I do recommend someone with a lot of experience performing them for the simple reason is that while you may hit a home run with the procedure a majority of the time, the suregon needs to know how to deal with other issues that may go wrong during the procedure.
For example, performing tip surgery may result in twisting of the tip or other asymmetries that only an experienced surgeon can correct. This is one example, others include a crooked nose or residual humps and irregularities. The reason why the operation is so difficult is that you are dealing with a three dimensional structure that projects away from the face and alterations in one area can have predictable but sometimes unpredictable aspects of healing. For that reason, I would recommend a facial plastic surgeon or a plastic surgeon who has done a fair number of operations but also, and perhaps more importantly I would ask the question how many revision procedures has he or she done. Not just his or her revisions, but revisions of other patients operated on elsewhere.
In seeking a surgeon to do your rhinoplasty I believe it is equally important to make sure that he or she has seen what can go wrong and how they would fix it or would they need to send the patient elsewhere. Even if you have a straight forward problem to correct, every person heals differently so make sure you feel comfortable that the surgeon has done a reasonable number of revision surgeries so that he is well rounded. I hope this information helps.
Rhinoplasty isn't a numbers game
The answer is yes. However rhinoplasty isn't a numbers game. And besides you will never really know. There’s no independent means of verification. But let’s assume it happens to be the truth; it may still be far from what you actually want. They could be reconstructive, functional only, repair of injured noses, ethnic, revision etc.
Your surgeon clearly needs to do a certain volume to have the necessary experience and skills, but 200 sloppy and hastily done is obviously not as good as 25 precise and thought out rhinoplasties. So you have to add into the mix his training, experience, area of interest and reputation. Unfortunately there's no system for rating us like Moody's or Robert Parker's wine ratings. Finally, you will have to analysis all the information you've sifted through and collected and go with your instinct.
Rhinoplasty surgeon credential based on number of surgeries
Very hard and GREAT question to answer. In any market how can anyone call themselves an expert in just that one operation? I really do not know. I feel if any plastic, facial plastic does deem themselves an expert in rhinoplasties than their volume of all surgeries should be weighted toward just that operation. For example, in a large market a surgeon could do 400 surgeries in a year. To be that ONLY expert than the cases load should be greater than 50% of the specific type surgery, ie rhinoplasty.
But does than mean the qualified surgeon in that large market who does the same 400 yearly cases but only 10% rhinoplasties can not achieve an excellent result? I think if the surgeon has enough experience in all phases of cosmetic surgery than you can be considered an expert. That is the term "board certified in". Go see 3 boarded surgeons, look at the photos, ask to talk to a few patients. Then decide. Regards and Happy New Year!