1. Consider ONLY a board certified plastic surgeon.
2. Ask friends and family for recommendations (especially if they are in the medical field and know the reputations of local surgeons).
3. Ask your current family physician for recommendations and/or if you have chosen a surgeon, do they know anything about the surgeon.
4. Use a surgeon in your area that is specifically known for excellence in the specific procedure (i.e. blepharoplasty, face lift, breast lift, etc).
5. Ask how many he/she has performed.
6. Ask how many and what type of complications he/she has experienced.
7. Do Google searches on any surgeon you are considering. Don't forget - when your consider a surgeon such as a maxillofacial surgeon as I did - they are not governed by the Medical Board, but by the Dental Board (again, don't use a non-board certified plastic surgeon!! Don't learn the hard way as I did!!). If nothing results from the search - good - but don't stop asking and checking.
8. Interview the surgeon and make sure you feel comfortable with his/her answers, personality, office staff, procedure room if you are having it done in an in-office surgical suite.
9. Take notes, write everything down, take pictures of before and after photos on your own.
10. Remember, the consent form you sign has real complications that can and do happen - the more experienced and qualified your surgeon, the less likely you are to experience those complications. Read, ask questions, and understand the complications and evaluate if they are worth the risk for the procedure you are considering. DO NOT ACCEPT THE STATEMENT "NOTHING EVER HAPPENS", or "don't worry about that", or, "that's very rare" (those are examples of the statements my surgeon made) - the complications are listed because they can and do happen - more than you realize.
11. Ask for step by step what will happen in the surgery. Know what to expect. I didn't find out that a uretheral catheter was used until I reviewed the surgical notes - I was humiliated upon discovering this and felt embarrassed and violated - I was later told it was not even necessary based upon the amount of time the procedures took.
12. You CANNOT do too much homework and research before making a decision on your plastic surgeon - it will save you time and money in the long run and hopefully insure your happiness with your surgical results.