Choosing a doctor for a surgical procedure can be very challenging and even intimidating. It’s not like you can test drive the surgery before it’s done. So, you are often left with only your gut feeling about who is the best. While I do believe that your choice has to “feel” right, I’ve outlined some tips below to ensure you choose the right surgeon for you.
One of the most important decisions you have to make before having a cosmetic procedure involves choosing a skilled and accredited plastic surgeon. This can be a bit confusing at first, because many doctors offer cosmetic procedures, and many consider themselves cosmetic surgeons. Cosmetic surgeons are not necessarily plastic surgeons. Plastic surgeons are trained in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and body (some are facial plastic surgeons only). A cosmetic surgeon may be different. According to the Aesthetic Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), physicians who call themselves cosmetic surgeons could be trained in any specialty, including a nonsurgical specialty; it is very unregulated. Just as you wouldn’t want me, a plastic surgeon, to deliver your baby, you wouldn’t want your OB/GYN, who calls himself a cosmetic surgeon, to do your tummy tuck. If you stick only to plastic surgeons board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you’ll almost certainly end up in good hands.
MORE THAN TEST SCORES
After confirming your surgeon is board-certified, you want to make sure that the surgeon has plenty of experience. As a general plastic surgeon, I am trained in plastic surgery from head to toe and am not confined to just one area of the body. You want to ensure your surgeon has dealt with issues at least as complex as your own; more complex, even better. There are some good ways to research this.
Browse through many websites to see which doctor’s style makes you feel most comfortable. Look at the verbiage on the web pages to determine how they speak to their patients. Look at before and after pictures of the surgeon’s work, and try to find a patient with similar
characteristics to yourself.
Check online for patient reviews to ensure that the surgeon has plenty of satisfied patients. If possible, try to speak with former patients of the doctor you are considering. Be leery of surgeons who won’t allow this — ask yourself if they are trying to hide something.
Patients will likely give you the unabridged version of their experience. I love it when some of my former patients take the opportunity to share their Music City Plastic Surgery experience with someone new and encourage them to experience us for themselves.
The next step is having an initial consultation with the surgeon. This is when you and your surgeon get to know one another, face-to-face. When you first visit the surgeon, you shouldn’t feel rushed or get the impression of a giant mass production machine. You should feel free to ask the surgeon anything, including details of his or her training and experience and what the surgery will cost. If you don’t perceive a good connection with the surgeon or if you don’t like any of his or her answers, it may be time to interview someone else. I often find that patients have talked to several doctors before deciding to work with me — and that’s just fine. I especially like informed patients who have made a conscientious choice.
So, do your homework, thoroughly investigate your choice(s), visit the doc in person… then go with your gut of who “feels” right. Good luck.