Do Your Research
It’s exciting to make the decision to have plastic surgery, but it can also be a little intimidating to begin the search for the right plastic surgeon. “In terms of choosing a plastic surgeon, you have to do your homework,” says Dr. Restifo, a board certified plastic surgeon in Orange, Connecticut.
Restifo recommends that a person considering a procedure plug in plenty of time researching doctors online. He says to also talk to friends who have had work done. “Talk to people, go online, dig and dig some more.” He says its important to look for any red flags that could indicate it won’t be a good fit for you. “You should spend a lot more time researching the doctor who is going to be altering your appearance with a knife while you are unconscious than you did researching something like an expensive camera.”
What Really Matters?
It’s important to look for a plastic surgeon who specializes in the type of plastic surgery procedure that you are considering. “It makes sense to pay attention to specialization because plastic surgeons are best at what they do the most,” says Restifo. He adds that it just makes sense to look for a surgeon who is performing the same operation day-to-day.
“If you want your nose straightened, it doesn’t make sense to go to a plastic surgeon who spends the day operating on breasts,” explains Restifo. “You want someone who does noses all day long.” He also says its a good idea to consult with a variety of plastic surgeons. “I think it makes sense to speak to more than one plastic surgeon, because the consultation process is instructive and you will learn a lot and the knowledge you will gain will help you make a better choice.”
Restifo also recommends a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. “In my opinion this is the only certification that matters and you should accept no substitutes.” Beyond qualifications and certifications, Restifo says it’s also important to have a good relationship with the doctor’s office staff and to understand the safety measures in place.
Get What You Pay For
If you do a Google search, you will find that pricing for plastic surgery procedures can vary significantly from region to region – even among doctors in the same area. Pricing is often confusing to patients who don’t understand why one plastic surgeon can charge more for what ‘seems’ like the same procedure. “Patients often want to know why a plastic surgeon charges a certain price and it’s because they charge whatever they can,” says Dr. Restifo.
According to Restifo, the rate a plastic surgeon sets is often based on the law of supply and demand. If a successful plastic surgeon has a thriving office with a constant flow of happy patients coming through the doors, the rates are likely to be higher. “If a plastic surgeon has the experience and an outstanding reputation, so they are highly sought out and very much in demand, then that plastic surgeon will tend to to be very busy with an operating room schedule that is booked solid for months in advance – and this will tend to cause that plastic surgeon’s fees to rise,” he explains.
Restifo is quick to add that higher rates don’t always mean better care. “You might ask does this mean that the more expensive a plastic surgeon, the better he or she is, and the answer is no.” When considering price, ask questions about what is included – sometimes budget prices don’t include all pre and post operative visits and the board certified anesthesiologist, along with the operating room charges.
Restifo recommends that patients look for other factors including a good supply of before and after pictures that fall in line with what they are looking for in a quality outcome. Overall, he says choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon with a high level of training will be worth the price tag. “I don’t think it makes sense to bargain shop for plastic surgery because you may get more or less than you bargained for.”
He says trust your gut to pick the right doctor for you. “Regardless of what you spend, it’s important you have a good, gut feeling about the choice you’ve made.”