You have made the first decision on the road to becoming a new you. Whether your plastic surgery is elective or reconstructive, you want the best plastic surgeon that you can find at your side during this journey. Finding a great plastic surgeon isn't an easy task, so you'll need to do some homework before going under the knife.
Finding the Best Plastic Surgeon & Referrals
Plastic surgeons advertise everywhere. From the Internet to giant billboards, it's common to see ads wherein plastic surgeons proclaim that they provide the best results at the cheapest prices. But with all this advertising, how can you really find out which surgeon is a good match for the procedure you want to have done? One good way to find a surgeon that really delivers is by seeking a referral from a trusted source.
You can start by asking any friends or family members who have had plastic surgery about their doctors and their overall experience with their surgery.
You can also find referrals by going online. There are lots of plastic surgery forums and websites where plastic surgery patients can rate their doctors as well as professional organizations that list board-certified plastic surgeons throughout the U.S.
Plastic Surgeons & Board Certification
Even if a plastic surgeon comes highly recommended, you should still continue to investigate each doctor on your list. Any type of medical doctor can legally perform plastic surgery. Theoretically, this means that a pediatrician can perform a nose job if they so choose. You want to ensure that whoever operates on your body has been trained specifically in the type of surgery you are interested in.
The surgeon you choose for your plastic surgery procedure should be board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can find out if a plastic surgeon is board certified by visiting either the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Board of Plastic Surgery's website.
Remember, you need to ensure your surgeon is board certified in "plastic surgery." A doctor can be board certified in any medical practice, so if a doctor tells you he or she is "board certified," you need to ask about the area the certification is in. For all you know, your plastic surgeon could be board certified in dermatology or gynecology and not actually plastic surgery.
If you are trying to find the best plastic surgeon for you, it's all about doing your research and asking lots of questions. Making a quick decision without doing all of your homework might cost you more in the long run. You want to go into your surgery with complete confidence in your plastic surgeon.
Plastic Surgeons & Medical Boards
Just because a plastic surgeon is certified doesn't mean that you are home free. You have just reduced the odds of getting a bad surgeon. Check your state's medical board. In some states, the board will list any malpractice lawsuits filed or disciplinary actions taken against the doctors who practice in that state. You can find links to your state's medical board by visiting the Federation of State Medical Boards online.
Plastic Surgeons & Hospital Privileges
While you may be wishing that there was short-cut to finding the right plastic surgeon, there are still a few more steps that you need to complete before you are ready to go under the knife.
Check to see if the plastic surgeon in question has hospital privileges. Hospitals do background checks on doctors before hospitals grant them privileges. Even if your surgery is being done on an outpatient basis or in a surgery center, ask your potential surgeon about their hospital privileges. Surgeons without hospital privileges may have black marks on their record, ergo; a lack of hospital privileges is a red flag when choosing a plastic surgeon.
Some of the initial questions you should ask your potential plastic surgeon include:
- How long the plastic surgeon has been performing this specific surgery
- Will the surgeon be doing all of the procedure or will another doctor participate?
- How long the surgery should last
- How long you will be in the recovery room
- What kind of complications might occur?
- Ask about "before" and "after" pictures of patients who have had similar surgeries
- Ask for referrals from the surgeon's patients
- What post-operative pain, medications, etc. you should expect
- Recovery time, how long you will need to miss work, and any other limitations you will encounter during your recovery process
Expect the surgeon to ask you why you are interested in having plastic surgery and what you hope the outcome to be. A good plastic surgeon should also honestly tell you if your expectations are realistic. The more that you know and the more that you ask, the safer you will be.
After your interview, you should have a good idea if your potential plastic surgeon is right for you or if you need to keep searching. However, there is one more factor to take into consideration as you narrow down your list of potential surgeons.
After you've located some great referrals, researched your surgeon's board certification in plastic surgery, and met with them for your initial interview you'll need to rely on your instincts. Did the doctor understand what you wanted? Did you understand his or her answers? Was their manner and demeanor approachable and helpful or did you find them standoffish? If something about the doctor's answers or attitude didn't sit right with you, move on. Your body is too precious to trust it to just anyone.
If the plastic surgeon passed all your tests, has great recommendations, your initial consultation went well, and they helped you understand what to expect when going under the knife, you may have just found the perfect plastic surgeon for you.