What is a Plastic Surgeon?
How do You Choose your Plastic Surgeon?
For years now, friends and acquaintances ask me which plastic surgeon they should go to for their surgical procedure. The answer to that depends on a number of things before I refer them out.
Here is an easy breakdown of Surgeons:
Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons:
These are the highest trained and have been trained to operate on your face AND your body. They have gone through mandatory General Surgery training first and then went on to train additional years for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. There are a little over 6000 in the world.
Facial Cosmetic and Cosmetic Surgeons:
These are surgeons from other specialties like ENT, Oculopastic (eyes), Ob-Gyns, Maxillofacials Doctors and Dermatologists. They have been trained to operate from the neck up…not your body. There are over 250,000 in this country alone. Keep in mind that there are some ENTs that do fabulous facelifts and facial work. There are Oculoplastic Surgeons that do amazing eye-lifts and brow lifts. There are some awesome Dermatologists that do amazing liposuction. It depends on how much further training they had and what they do the most of.
It’s important for you to find out what specialty they were trained in.
What surgery are you interested in having done? The plastic surgeons who are Board Certified are trained to do both face and body work…however, their practice usually slants toward a few procedures that the surgeon does well and that he or she likes doing. You will notice as you are doing your research, if he or she advertises “Mommy Makeovers” it means that he focuses on Breast Augmentation, Breast Lifts, and Tummy Tucks (Abdominoplasty). Would I consider that person for a facelift? Not sure.
Look at before and after pictures. If there are hundreds of breast pictures and a few of Rhinoplasties, or noses, it usually means that he or she is doing more body work.
Research your Surgeon! I cannot emphasize this enough. Although people do rely on word of mouth…this does not always mean that the Surgeon is properly trained and qualified. There was recently an article about an Emergency Room Doctor who took a weekend course in liposuction and killed 3 people. These stories are in the media frequently, and it is you job to make sure that he or she is Board Certified in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery. Make sure the operating room they use is accredited…meaning approved by the state. Also find out if the doctor works with Board-Certified Anesthesiologists and Registered Nurses.
Also, you the patient can look up your Doctor on the Medical Board website for your state. It will tell you if he has any history on his license…if he has been reprimanded, had his or her license revoked, etc. Keep in mind that if it’s a really busy practice there might be some lawsuits associated with it. High volume and high profile means more lawsuits…not necessarily the doctor’s fault.
I also suggest patients see 2 or 3 different surgeons. You have to like and trust the person who is going to operate on you and personality and bedside manner is important. If you don’t click or seem to be on the same page about what you want done, or if you just don’t feel comfortable, then see someone else.
Ask the surgeon what he or she likes doing the best. They will tell you.
Don’t go to someone just because they are advertising a cheaper price. Remember, you get what you pay for and that goes for plastic surgery too.
So please do a lot of research when looking for a Doctor. Take your time and ask lots of questions…as I always say…its surgery, not a hair cut!