You’ve contemplated plastic surgery long enough. After thorough research about the type of surgery you want or need, it’s time to make another crucial choice. It’s time to choose a plastic surgeon who meets your medical and financial needs and is on the same page with you on a more personal level. You want someone who is both professional and easy to work with because, after all, you’ll be in a professional relationship for some time before and after your surgical procedure.
The first thing you need to do is interview a few plastic surgeons who meet your criteria (location, specialty, insurance requirements, etc.). He or she should be board certified and a member of related professional organizations
– such as The American Academy of Dermatology
– The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
– The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
– or The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
You may find surgeons who belong to a great many other professional organizations, but those listed above guarantee that they’re certified in cosmetic surgery, which is what you want in a surgeon.
In addition to meeting the professional organization affiliation requirement, you’ll also want to gather recommendations from friends who may have had similar procedures done. Gather opinions about the care they received, the staff, morale, customer service, and post-surgical care. Learn about their staff and become familiar with them. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about the surgeon and the procedure you want to have done. The staff can be an excellent source of information about the doctor’s skills and demeanor.
Keep in mind that cosmetic surgery is a highly competitive field and surgeons know the competition is stiff. They may tell you that they’re the only person who can do a surgery or they may say they’re the very best in town. Remember that that’s often a marketing ploy to make them stand out among the rest in their field. Do you due diligence and ask about their specialized training, their fellowship training, and any additional training or expertise they may have. Check with your state’s medical board to verify their claims and to check out their education, licensing, certification, health grade, and patient feedback. Most importantly, check to see whether they’ve ever had any disciplinary action taken against them.
After you’ve completed the above steps, narrow your choices down to one or two surgeons and prepare to ask the right questions during a consultation with each surgeon. Think about what it is you want to know.
– What their area of expertise is
– How long they’ve been in practice
– How many similar procedures have they performed
– If the procedure will be an inpatient procedure or an outpatient procedure
– How much the procedure will cost in total, including the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia, operating room fees, medication fees, and any other charges associated with your care
– What is your financial responsibility
– if the staff is friendly and easy to work with
– encourage questions
– and is open to dialogue
– Also, ask if you can see before and after pictures of patients who’ve had the same procedure.
By Edward Pena, MD