How do you find a qualified plastic surgeon?
Most people are not aware that anyone with a medical degree can call himself or herself a plastic or cosmetic surgeon, advertise those services and perform them. Your first consideration should be to develop a list of well-qualified plastic surgeons. Recommendations from friends or your family physician are a good starting point.
Local hospitals can provide you with a list of board certified plastic surgeons with approval to perform the procedures you are considering. Board certification cannot guarantee great results, but it can certainly increase the odds.
The next step is to investigate your physician’s credentials, such as board certification. If a physician indicates that he is board certified, make sure you question to which board he is referring. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify plastic surgeons.
A surgeon who is ABPS certified has graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of additional residency. After this, the surgeon must practice plastic surgery for two years and pass comprehensive written and oral exams. You can verify this information through www.certifieddoctor.org.
After you have narrowed your list of candidates, consider asking these questions during the initial consultation:
- Do you do this procedure frequently or only occasionally and when did you last perform this procedure?
- What major hospitals and surgery centers are you affiliated with in the area?
- Could the surgeon show you various before and after photos of his other patients who had undergone the procedure you are considering?
- Did he candidly discuss the potential risks and complications associated with this procedure so you could make an informed choice?
After your consultation, think about this:
- Did the surgeon ask about your motivation or appearance goals? Were all your questions answered to your satisfaction?
- Did the surgeon welcome questions about professional qualifications, experience and cost?
- Did you feel comfortable talking with the surgeon about surgical and non-surgical alternatives?