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choosing a plastic surgeon

How do I choose a cosmetic surgeon?

I am often asked, how “How do I choose a cosmetic surgeon?’ Well, the answer is pretty straight forward. I tell those who ask “Do your homework and ask the right questions”.

So what’s the homework assignment?

Since the plastic surgery is so popular and very mainstream there has been an ever-increasing demand for cosmetic surgery and an ever-increasing number of doctors calling themselves “Cosmetic Surgeons”. The problem here is that any licensed physician can call himself or herself a cosmetic surgeon – whether trained or not. That is scary.

So here’s what you do when you begin your search for a qualified plastic surgeon: go to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world’s largest plastic surgery organization. To be a member of ASPS, a surgeon must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which is the only Board dedicated to plastic surgery of the face and body.

Search the American Society of Plastic Surgeon website for surgeons in your area. ASPS surgeons have at least 6 years of training and experience in surgery and 3 years of additional training and experience specifically in plastic surgery of the face and body. Importantly, ASPS surgeons only operate in accredited facilities. Look online at surgeons web sites to see if you can get an insight to the surgeons specific experience level. Look at the surgeons before and after photo galleries. See if there are before and after photos of the procedure or procedures you are specifically interested in. Look at review sites such as Realself.com, vitals.com and healthgrades.com. You want to look for the essence of the reviews. No one is perfect so you should look for trends in reviews rather than any one particular review.

Set up consultations with your top 2 or 3 choices. Choosing a surgeon is a big decision and you want to be able to compare your consultation experiences.

What should I ask?

Create a list of questions you want to ask the physician. It’s ok to write them down. Any surgeon who is offended or put-off by your questions isn’t the right surgeon for you. Among your questions should be:

  1. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  2. What are the risks associated with this surgery?
  3. What will the recovery period be like?
  4. What do I need to do to obtain the optimal result?
  5. How many surgeries of this type have you performed?
  6. Can I talk to one of your patients’ who has had this type of surgery?

What should I expect?

You want to make sure that your expectations are reasonable. To assure that you get the result you want, you need to discuss your expectations with your surgeon. Make sure you both are on the same page. Open communication with your surgeon and his/her staff is the key to success.

Who do I choose?

Since you have done your homework and are meeting with Board Certified Plastic Surgeons you know you are in good hands so now you need a good fit. You should choose a plastic surgeon that you are comfortable with, that gives you the time you deserve to answer all of your questions and address all of your concerns.

You have to meet with and be examined by the surgeon. So many offices have patients meet with a patient coordinator and then only meet with the surgeon after they’ve decided on the specific surgery with the coordinator.  It’s not the patient coordinator that’s going to perform the surgery – it’s the surgeon. That’s who you have to meet and be comfortable with. It’s the surgeon you need to spend the time with and agree on the right surgical procedure with and discuss expectations with. The patient coordinators will help with information, scheduling,  pricing and maybe to narrow down sizing in breast enhancement consultations.  The surgeon does the rest.

Once you’ve done all of this you should feel comfortable enough to choose your plastic surgeon. Good luck on your journey to achieve your surgical enhancement goals.

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