How To Find A Good Plastic Surgeon
A lot rests on your choice—not only your appearance, but your safety as well. Whether you’re having an elective procedure like a tummy tuck, scar removal or fillers, or you’re reconstructing a breast after mastectomy, you want to make sure your surgeon is well-trained, has an excellent reputation and will be able to look at you in a holistic way to give you options that make sense for your situation and lifestyle, says Dr. Oren Lerman, a cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon at Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital and associate professor of surgery at Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.
Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon
Plastic surgery is a complicated specialty, and you want someone who has been expertly trained in it. Board certification by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) assures you that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school, has completed at least six to eight years of surgical training, including general and plastic surgery, and continues with ongoing education and testing.
Ask friends, family and your physician for recommendations
Do you know anyone who has had work done that looks good? They can provide useful information about their doctor and prepare you for what’s going to happen from start to finish. Ask detailed questions about any doctor they’ve used: How is his bedside manner? Did the doc address all their concerns? Were they given realistic expectations? Were they happy with the results?
View Google with the proverbial grain
When it comes to picking doctors, social media is both a blessing and a burden. Online review sites can reveal a surgeon’s education and training, what people are saying about him, and even include before and after pictures. Many surgeons’ websites have helpful information to teach you about the procedures you’re considering.
Meet the surgeon beforehand
Of all the pieces of advice, this is probably the most important. “You want a good fit,” says Dr. Lerman. “You want to make sure that the surgeon understands your concerns, that they give you good options to treat those concerns, and that you trust that person.”
tips for picking a good plastic surgeon
Make sure the surgeon is board-certified
This one, say experts, is a no-brainer. For plastic surgery, you want a doctor who’s certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It’s simple: The American Board of Medical Specialties’ Web site will tell you if a doctor is board-certified in plastic surgery.
Check the surgeon’s record
Trobaugh says she never would have gone to Adams if she’d known he had two malpractice judgments against him. She could have found that out easily by going to the Medical Board of California’s Web site. Links to the Web sites of every state’s medical board can be found
Ask if the surgeon has hospital privileges
Even if you’re having a plastic surgery procedure at an outpatient clinic, it’s worth asking where the doctor has hospital privileges, because hospitals do background checks, says Dr. Rod Rohrich, past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “If they don’t have hospital privileges, that’s a huge red flag,” he says.
Come armed with questions for the doctor
One crucial question for your potential surgeon is how often he or she does the procedure you’re interested in. “If I’m coming to you for a facelift, you’d better do it almost weekly,” says Rohrich, who’s also chairman of the department of plastic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Be wary of multiple procedures
Trobaugh says when she went to Adams, he suggested three procedures. “When you bundle procedures, the risk goes up,” says Stuzin, the plastic surgeon in Miami. The more procedures you have, the more money the doctor makes. Dr. Grant Carlson, a plastic surgeon at Emory University School of Medicine, says an unethical surgeon might suggest a neck lift when someone has come in looking for just for a nose job. “Unfortunately, money is a motivation in some people.”
How to Choose a Cosmetic Surgeon
If you are considering cosmetic or plastic surgery to your body (breasts and face are the most common locations), don’t overlook the importance of choosing the right surgeon, as not all are equally trained or competent. Consider the following tips when researching for potential plastic surgeons
Ask a friend or trusted doctor for a referral.
Use the advantages of word-of-mouth to find a plastic surgeon. Friends who have undergone a cosmetic surgery, operating room nurses, or surgical technicians who have worked with a cosmetic surgeons can help point you in the right direction!
Make sure the surgeon is board certified
Ensure that your doctor has actually graduated from an accredited medical school and ask for board certification information. By law, any medical doctor can perform virtually any medical procedure, so make sure they are a trained specialist in the surgery you need
Ask about their experience
Once you’ve established they are a board certified surgeon in the specialty you require (such as breast augmentation or face lift), ask about their experience. Find out how many times they’ve done your type of surgery and when the most recent time was. Some doctor who focuses on breast implants, may occasionally do face lifts to augment their income
Check the doctor’s record
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier now than ever to do research online from your home, so use this to your advantage by checking your doctor’s record. The status of your doctor’s license can be found through their state licensing boards. Pick surgeons with clean records and no history of serious discipline or malpractice.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST PLASTIC SURGEON
Find out if the surgeon is board certified
Surgeons that are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) are uniquely qualified and specially trained in the field of plastic surgery. Typically board certified plastic surgeons have lower complication rates and provide superior patient care compared to physicians without certification.
Check the surgeon’s record
You can go the medical board of your state to verify that the surgeon is licensed to practice within that state and view any disciplinary actions taken against the surgeon. Typically all that’s needed to obtain this information from the board is to submit a records request either through the mail or online.
Make sure the surgery will be performed in an accredited facility
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) requires that its members operate in accredited facilities when any significant anesthesia is used in the procedure. Accredited facilities are surgical rooms that meet strict standards for equipment, personnel, and room safety. In order to receive and maintain accreditation, the facility must adhere to various standards established by state and federal guidelines.
Ask if the surgeon has hospital privileges
This is an easy way to verify the qualifications of a surgeon. Hospitals conduct detailed background checks prior to granting a physician privileges to operate within their facilities. Thus, privileges from a reputable hospital are a good indication that the surgeon is qualified and in good standing.
Ask detailed questions
One of the best things to do is to ask the surgeon detailed questions that may include
Choosing the Right Cosmetic Surgeon
First, you should interview two or three surgeons whose specialties match your needs. The surgeons should be board-certified and members of one of these professional organizations
Personal recommendations are important. Ask friends for referrals if they have gotten a similar procedure. Get opinions from your family doctor and other doctor acquaintances. Surgical technicians and operating room nurses are an excellent source for information about a surgeon’s skill in the operating room
Remember, cosmetic surgery is a highly competitive field. Don’t be confused by groups claiming to be “the only” or “the best” because this excludes many surgeons who may be better choices for your particular issues. Ask about their fellowship training — specialized training in specific procedures. Check with your state’s medical board to verify the surgeon’s board certification, education, and license. And check whether disciplinary action has been taken against the surgeon.
Keep in mind, excellent credentials and a good rapport with your surgeon do not guarantee a favorable outcome. However, they are the foundation of a successful partnership between your surgeon and you.