Finding the right surgeon for a breast augmentation can feel overwhelming for many patients. Even more confusing, it seems as if every other doctor from the gynecologist to a family practitioner offers breast augmentation surgery as part of his or her “menu.” How do you know which doctor is the right choice for you?
There are some very important things to consider when choosing a breast surgeon. Since who actually performs the surgery is not regulated by either the state or federal government, it is up to the patient to find the surgeon who will deliver exemplary breast augmentation results in the safest setting possible. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Luis Rios of McAllen, TX walks through the questions to consider when booking a consultation to discuss breast implants, as well as how to know when you have found the right surgeon.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, NOT Cosmetic Surgeon
Most patients start their search for a doctor on the world wide web. That said, “the internet can be a good place or a scary place or a misleading place to actually find a plastic surgeon,” shares Dr. Rios. One of the reasons for this is that in the great state of Texas, for example, there are no laws to say who can or can not perform a breast augmentation. This means that there are doctors on the internet advertising breast augmentation surgery who are not actually surgeons. They may be family practice doctors, gynecologists or even anesthesiologists. This can make it extremely difficult for potential breast surgery patients to navigate the web in order to figure out who they should see for their surgery.
The best place to start is by looking for the board certified plastic surgeons in your area on the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) website. Why? “As a board certified plastic surgeon, I know the experience and training that we have,” says Dr. Rios. It is very important to note the distinction between board certified plastic surgeon and board certified cosmetic surgeon. The state and federal government are not regulating this, so it is up to the consumer to figure out who to go to and that should be a board certified plastic surgeon.
Accredited Surgery Center for Office-Based Breast Augmentation
Another area where patients need to be aware is the setting for their surgery. Many surgeons offer office-based breast augmentation surgery. This can be a safe option for the right patient. However, once again, the state of Texas has no laws that require specific safety measures when it comes to surgery in an office setting. It’s up to the patient to make certain that the surgery is safe.
Dr. Rios offers plastic surgery in his office, but it is in an accredited certified surgery center. This is vital. Many doctors operate in the office because they are not plastic surgeons and do not have operating privileges in the hospitals. There is a huge difference between offering patients the convenience of an office-based procedure where it is safe to do so, and having to perform surgery in the office because there isn’t the option of operating in the hospital.
Risks of Non-Accredited Surgery Center
There are real safety reasons for making certain that your office-based breast augmentation is being performed in an accredited and certified surgery center. Non-accredited surgery centers can put you at a higher risk for complications, such as:
- issues with anesthesia
- inability to restart your heart if it stops
There have been documented instances where the surgery center was so small that the emergency crew could not get a stretcher into the room when something went wrong. Even in the most skilled hands, complications can occur. It is paramount that there be procedures in place to ensure patient safety if something goes wrong. This is one of the many reasons why patients want to find a surgery center that is both accredited and certified.
How to Know that Surgeon is Right Choice for You?
After you have had a consultation with a few board certified plastic surgeons in your area, how do you choose the one who is right for you? “You should feel very confident in the surgeon,” says Dr. Rios. By this, he means:
- Did you feel rushed during your consultation?
- Did the plastic surgeon explain things clearly to you?
- Were you encouraged to ask questions?
- Did the surgeon listen and answer your questions satisfactorily?
- Were you shown the various implants that could deliver your goals?
- Was there 3D imaging so you could get a preview of what you’d look like?
- Did the surgeon discuss implant placement, either above & below the muscle?
- Do you feel confident that the surgeon heard your desires and goals and gave you options that can deliver on your desired outcome?
- Do you feel comfortable with the surgeon?
“If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then you’ve probably found a pretty good plastic surgeon,” explains Dr. Rios. But if there is a ‘no’ in there, keep looking because “surgery is a serious experience and you’re building a relationship between yourself and the surgeon and his or her staff,” he continues. If the staff takes good care of you, that is a great predictor of the kind of care that you will get from the surgeon. “Use your instincts, use your gut, and you’ll know if you are in the right place,” Rios concludes.