HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLASTIC SURGEON
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
How do you even choose a Plastic Surgeon? There are so many factors to consider and even more choices to overwhelm us when doing an even quick internet search. The explosion of the internet and social media allows a glimpse into the options patients have, and it's ok for each patient to seek something different. Do you want a Surgeon with slick hair and a Gucci suit? One dancing with their staff on a TikTok video? Or one you find relatable to your own lifestyle? Finding the right surgeon is one of the keys to ensuring a great surgical outcome. Here is where to start:
Being a Plastic Surgeon takes time. Like, a lot of time. Like, 14 years of school amount of time before you even start practicing on your own. Looking at a potential surgeon's credentials is an imperative first step in determining whether a surgeon is qualified to perform the procedure you desire. While being Board Certified is a must, the bigger question you need to ask is WHAT are they Board Certified in. Although it seems crazy to hear, most people don’t realize that the world of Plastic Surgery is largely unregulated. And because it is incredibly lucrative, it's no surprise that everyone seems to want in on it. It is not abnormal to see non-surgical practitioners such as Family Medicine or Internal Medicine doctors begin performing surgical procedures such as Liposuction after simply taking a weekend course. With no previous surgical training and no recourse. Scary, huh? That is why you NEED to do a little homework before deciding on a Surgeon. Here are a couple of facts to consider:
Plastic Surgeons complete a 6 year training program, which is the second longest next to Neurosurgery.
Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is an almost 2 year rigorous process involving both a written and oral examination, and intense scrutiny of all surgical cases performed, online materials and advertising in order to evaluate a surgeon's physical capabilities and also their ethical and professional conduct.
Cosmetic Surgeons are NOT Plastic Surgeons. They complete a 1 year training program and can come from any specialty prior to completing this program.
Entrusting someone with the health and well-being of your body is a big decision. How each patient comes to that conclusion may look different. Some patients may prefer an older surgeon because, to them, it represents experience they can trust in. Some patients rely on word-of-mouth in order to gain trust. And some rely on the overall sense they get when meeting their surgeon in person. Irrespective of how you make your decision, just make sure you pick a Surgeon you trust and who you feel is honest and transparent. Be weary of a Surgeon who tells you everything you want to hear, or tells you all the good and none of the bad. Also remember that surgery is a journey, and complications can happen. You want a partner on this journey that you trust will not only understand your goals and execute them, but also who will listen to any concerns you have and be by your side if complications do occur.
Communication is Key:
The best relationships between a patient and their Plastic Surgeon are based in good communication. Good communication is a conglomerate of time (you NEED good face time with your surgeon), listening (this goes for the Surgeon AND the patient), and substance. If you never even see the surgeon during the initial consultation, run the other way. High volume facilities often hire ill-qualified physicians to do surgery and treat patients like numbers. It is equally important that your surgeon listen to you--your aesthetics and your goals-- as it is you listen to your surgeon about things like your anatomy or setting realistic expectations. Lastly, it's not enough that a surgeon simply gives you information. It needs to be presented in a way that you understand it so it can equip you to make the best decision for yourself.
I have found my style as a Surgeon is to almost over educate my patients. I want them to know and fully understand why I recommend the procedures I do, and exactly why I may not recommend other procedures that I feel aren’t right for them. I think people are smart, and when they understand the why they are much better equipped to make the right choices. Patients who respond to that level of communication tend to choose me as their surgeon. On the flip side, there are plenty of good surgeons and informed patients who prefer less detail to more. The point is finding two parties with similar styles.
Lastly, remember that a consultation is not a commitment to surgery. Take your time, get a second opinion, and do your homework.