Of course, word of mouth recommendations rank high as an important criterion for choosing your plastic surgeon. But it’s not the only key. Professional standing and recommendations also weigh heavily in this choice. Get opinions from your family doctor and other doctor acquaintances. Surgical technicians and operating room nurses are great resources for information about a surgeon’s skill in the operating room.
Selecting A Plastic Surgeon for You First Means Choosing From the Best
“Choosing a plastic surgeon can be relatively straight-forward,” says Dr. Stafford R. Broumand, a board certified surgeon from New York City. “Firstly, I would look for a plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.”
Broumand also says a quality plastic surgeon:
- Has approval by local hospital or hospitals to perform surgery in their facilities
- Belongs to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and/or
- The American Society of Plastic Surgery.
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon is Far Different From Deciding on a Car Mechanic
“You want to make sure that the personality of the plastic surgeon’s office and of the doctor aligns with your personality,” Broumand adds. “Because it’s a relationship you’ll be developing.“
Keep in mind, excellent credentials and a good rapport with your surgeon does not guarantee a favorable outcome. They are, however, the foundation of a successful partnership between your surgeon and you.
“There’s an art to this and you want to make sure that their vision is your vision,” says Broumand. “And then you want an office that can walk you through the process. It feels like it is thoughtful in dealing with you as a patient.”
Making a Great Choice in a Plastic Surgeon Means Asking a lot of Questions
After making sure the surgeons you’re considering meet these professional criteria, it’s probably time for you to sit down with the top candidates. And that means it’s time for you to bring your concerns, and your questions:
- What is the surgeon’s area of expertise?
- How long has the surgeon been in practice?
- If the procedure will not be performed in the doctor’s office, does the surgeon use a certified surgical facility with board-certified anesthesiologists and up-to-date emergency equipment and anesthesia monitoring devices?
- What is final bill going to look like? (This includes the surgeon’s fee, operating room, anesthesia, and other charges)
- Are you allowed to see before and after pictures of other patients? Are computer images available for you and the surgeon to view together?
- If a second surgery is needed, what is your financial responsibility?
Red Flags to be Wary of:
- The surgeon doesn’t routinely perform the procedure you are considering
- He or she doesn’t discuss possible complications
- If results are guaranteed
- The surgeon can’t or won’t show you before and after photos of other patients
- They offer bargain fees or gimmicks
- The surgeon is not routinely involved in postoperative care
Seeking a Second Opinion is ALWAYS a Good Idea
Even after you’ve settled on a doctor and a procedure, you may want to get a second opinion. This will reassure you about your final decision.
Don’t be confused by groups or individual doctors or “medical spas” 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.
Plastic Surgery Customer Service
Throughout the process of improving your appearance, you want to be sure you’re being served and treated well. If something feels off, it’s best to trust your instincts and maybe think about continuing your search for that “right” combination. Some of those characteristics will be obvious a few minutes after you walk in the door of your plastic surgeon’s office. Here are some tips on other things to consider:
Things to Ask and Look for:
- Is the staff friendly and helpful?
- Do I get helpful materials that fully prepare me for the risks and realities of surgery and recovery?
- Are all fees clearly stated? Is the quote all-inclusive?
- When I contact the practice, do I receive a prompt reply?
The process seems lengthy, but this is surgery after all! When all of the consultation, planning, and goals have been outlined and settled, that then provides the best foundation for a surgical procedure. For some procedures, the consultation process may end up being more challenging than the procedure itself! Trust the surgeon you settle on to finalize all planning before heading into the OR.