6 STEPS TO CHOOSING A PLASTIC SURGEON
There are so many options to choose from when choosing a provider for your plastic surgery needs. There are plastic surgeons, “cosmetic” surgeons; various other specialties performing aesthetic services...there are so many advertisements, impressive before and after photos, low price guarantees and special offers. How do you decide? How can you be sure you’re getting a qualified, competent plastic surgeon? There are several things you should look for:
1. Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. .
Certification by the ABPS means that the plastic surgeon has graduated from an accredited medical school, that he has completed 4 to 7 years of surgical training and 2 to 4 years of plastic surgery subspecialty training, and has passed comprehensive written and oral examinations. You can search for a prospective physician to see if they are board certified, and if so, in what specialties.
Some people are confused by the term “board-certified cosmetic surgeon”. There are many organizations that use names and terminologies such as “American Board of Cosmetic Surgery,” “American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery,” and other names that are very similar to the “American Board of Plastic Surgery.” However, only “American Board of Plastic Surgery” is a Board that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The other Cosmetic Surgery Boards may have their own merits but do not require formal specialty training and are not nationally recognized specialty boards. The “cosmetic surgeon” however may be board-certified in another specialty recognized by ABMS, such as ENT, General Surgery, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, or OB/GYN. It is helpful to find out which residencies (formal training) your surgeon completed and how long were the residencies and confirm that the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
2. Membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
This is a symbol of excellence in the field of plastic surgery. Its members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), are peer reviewed, and meet continuing education requirements.
3. Hospital privileges at reputable hospitals.
The hospitals thoroughly credential the physicians before approving their application to the medical staff. Check to make sure that the surgeon has plastic surgery privileges at the hospitals that they are on staff at.
4. Artistic results
Many overlook the importance of artistic skill in the field of plastic surgery. But don’t rely on 1 or 2 examples in advertising; ask to see more examples at the office. Advice from relatives or friends who have had procedures done, as well as recommendations from nurses and hospitals in the area may be sources of valuable information.
5. Positive environment.
The type of office that the surgeon has can reflect the type of service the surgeon desires to provide for his patients. Look to see if the office is clean and well maintained. Also notice whether or not the office staff cares about your comfort and well being.
6. Focus last on price.
Just as the value of one artist’s work differs from another artist’s work, the work of each plastic surgeon will be different. It is up to you to understand the importance of your body and then determine the value of a surgeon by evaluating all the things mentioned above. We usually get what we pay for. Not all plastic surgeons are the same, and not every cosmetic procedure has the same outcome. You can pay 50 cents for a Coke and it will taste the same as a 1 dollar Coke. However, this principle does not apply to plastic surgery.