If you are looking for a plastic surgeon, here are some important questions that must be asked during your consultation.
1. Are you board certified? If so, by which board?
This may seem obvious but there are many “plastic surgeons” who are really internists or dermatologists posing as plastic surgeons. Just because a doctor took a few weekend courses on a topic does not make them a fully trained plastic surgeon. Make sure your surgeon has complete residency training in the the specialty of plastic surgery. Beware of similar boards with names like “American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery”.You should only accept a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can look them up at www.abps.com You can also them if they are members of prestigious plastic surgery societies such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). If they are not, I would ask them why.
2. Are the surgeries performed in an accredited facility?
Make sure the surgery center or hospital is fully accredited for the procedures which you are having performed. AAAHC or AAAAF are highly regarded.
3. How many of these procedures have you performed?
It’s important to know if your surgeon is comfortable with a certain type of surgery or procedure. You should be able to view several before and after photos to see typical outcomes from the surgery you are interested in.
4.What are the risks of the surgery?
Patients sometimes don’t ask or surgeons don’t list the potential complications of a procedure or surgery. It’s important to know the common and the uncommon risks of a procedure; even if you don’t always want to hear the answers. Your surgeon should be able to list the risks and give you a reasonable percentage or incidence of each complication.
5. Can I speak to former patients who have had this surgery?
Your surgeon should be able to provide you with written or video testimonials of patients who have experienced the surgery you are interested in. In some cases, you can even be placed in touch with a patient to talk in more depth about the surgery and the recovery; with the permission of the former patient of course.
These five questions are good starting points to review during your plastic surgery consultation. Make a checklist of these and other questions you feel are important and be sure that they are answered to your satisfaction. If you need to schedule a second consultation with your surgeon, please do so. Remember, this is elective surgery so you should take your time and do your research before having any procedures done. I recommend consulting with more than one plastic surgeon as well just to get a few different opinions until you find a surgeon you trust and are comfortable with. If you have any further questions on this topic feel free to call us at 310-461-3855 or visit www.WilliamBrunoMD.com
William Bruno, MD
Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery