Be very careful when selecting your “doctor” to perform cosmetic plastic surgery. Keep these five things in mind when researching your procedure and your health care provider.
1. Make sure your doctor is actually a Plastic Surgeon. Many “doctors” claim they do cosmetic plastic surgery when in reality, they are simply family practice doctors or gynecologists or dentists who are not trained in plastic surgery. For example, a gynecologist can attempt to do a breast augmentation, even though they are not certified by any board to do so. Check to see if your doctor is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or check on the website www.plasticsurgery.org to see if they are a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). You should also see if your doctor is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a very prestigious group for plastic surgeons who perform primarily cosmetic procedures- www.surgery.org. If your doctor is not a member of the above groups, you should ask why they are not.
2. Be sure your doctor has experience with your particular procedure. Not all plastic surgeons are the same. Some have extensive experience with certain procedures such as breast augmentations or rhinoplasties whereas some do primarily hand or reconstructive procedures and may only dabble in cosmetic surgery. They should be able to easily explain the procedure, complications and recovery to you in simple language.
3. Be sure your doctor performs surgery only in accredited surgery centers or hospitals and/or has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby.
4. Ask your surgeon to see as many photos or videos of procedures as possible. Your surgeon should be able to show you many good outcomes of a particular procedure. If not, your doctor probably does not perform that procedure enough or does not have good outcomes. Your doctor should also have several patient testimonials on the internet reporting good experiences with a certain procedure.
5. Be sure your doctor is in good standing with his or her state medical board. This is to see if there are any existing or pending lawsuits against your doctor.
If you follow the above guidelines when choosing your plastic surgeon, hopefully you can avoid any major issues. I would recommend meeting with at least two or three plastic surgeons before deciding on your surgeon. If you need to go back for a second consultation with the same plastic surgeon, then do so. Make a list of questions and be sure they are answered to your satisfaction.
Choosing the wrong plastic surgeon can have serious consequences.
William Bruno, MD
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Beverly Hills, CA