How much does the gender of your plastic surgeon really matter? In a recent study, nearly half of the participants said that it doesn’t matter if their surgeon is male or female, but 26 percent of those who answered the question preferred a woman. It may be because research shows (in general) male and female doctors have a different style of treating patients.
Board certified plastic surgeons of the Plastic Surgery Channel discuss the results and what they find with their own patients.
When the Dr. is a Ms.
Plastic surgery can be private and intimate, and for those reasons, some female patients want to be treated by a doctor who is a woman. “I think that women sometimes feel more comfortable because I am a woman,” says Dr. Camille Cash, a board certified plastic surgeon in Houston. Cash says she knows her gender is one reason patients come to her practice. “I have had kids, I have nursed, I have gone yo-yo with my weight and I have parts of my body that I don’t like.”
Cash says she connects with her female clients, even though she was trained by men and respects many male doctors in the field. “I understand women and I think that makes me relatable because I can understand their needs.”
Differing Treatment Styles
Preferences don’t always fall along gender lines. Some patients pick their plastic surgeon based on reputation, training or a recommendation. Whatever the reason for selecting a surgeon there may be differences in the care provided. A study performed by the University of Montreal found that females surgeons tend to follow guidelines better than male counterparts, scored higher on care and quality of care and showed more empathy toward patients.
Of course, no blanket statement can be made for ALL females, or ALL male surgeons. There are certainly male doctors who provide excellent care and compassion for their patients. There are females who prefer male doctors and vice versa. “I think that male patients feel more comfortable coming to a woman for things like gynecomastia and CoolSculpting, because they are embarrassed to go to a male doctor for having man boobs or breasts,” says Dr. Christine Hamori. Hamori says she has several male patients who come to her for delicate procedures because they know she won’t be judgmental. “A lot of times a male surgeon will just say to them ‘you just need to work out’ and that doesn’t always work.”
Competence is Key
Overall, most patients are looking for a competent, skillful surgeon more so than a particular gender – that’s why experience and training are critical factors in the search for a surgeon. Some patients just want the best – male or female. “I don’t think it matters that much that I am of the opposite gender,” says Dr. Mark Epstein. Epstein performs the sensitive labiaplasty procedure, to rejuvenate the female genitals.
Epstein says he rarely experiences any issues with his gender, but if one develops he tries to be reassuring. “I try and pick up on this and have a discussion ahead of time to lower their stress and make them feel more comfortable with me and make them feel I am on their side.” Epstein says he is never judgmental and that is comforting.
The bottom line in choosing a doctor should come down to feeling comfortable with your pick – whether male or female. A good doctor always listens and is attentive and available. Experts also advise selecting a plastic surgeon who will help you realize your goals.