Plastic surgery is more popular than ever and can be highly beneficial to patients. Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that about 17 million cosmetic procedures are performed each year in the United States. It’s become easier for patients to get the treatment and results they desire. However, choosing a surgeon to trust with your treatment can sometimes be an overwhelming undertaking.
There are many plastic surgeons who are rated highly on the internet. You only need to search on Google with keywords such as “best plastic surgeon near me” or “best plastic surgeon in Monmouth County NJ”. But how can patients narrow down the field to find that one practitioner?
To start with, you need a solid criterion of attributes that cosmetic surgeons must have. You can then use the checklist to help you vet potential surgeon candidates.
Ask for Board Certification
You want to make sure that any plastic surgeon who appears on your list has been certified by an independent body. Before you even schedule a plastic surgery consultation, ask whether they have certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.
Surgeons who are certified by the ABPS have gone through a rigorous examination process required by the only medical specialty board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Also, make sure to ask if the surgeon you want to work with is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). While not an official organization, the ASPS is widely respected and has extremely stringent standards for its members.
Why is experience important? Experience matters when you are considering having plastic surgery. If a plastic surgeon has experience with a particular condition or procedure, there is a higher likelihood that the surgical outcome will be better. If the surgeon has more experience performing complex procedures, he can better prevent them, and if complications do occur, he can more quickly recognize them. Ask how many patients with your condition the plastic surgeon has treated. Then find out what complications the doctor has experienced and what your own risks are.
Past Patient Reviews
First-hand feedback from past patients can give you the information you need to make an informed decision. So before you hire a preferred plastic surgeon, make sure to talk to past patients about what they thought about them and the overall experience. Credible plastic surgeons are those who have consistently received good reviews and high ratings from their patients.
Check for Surgical Accreditation
Be sure that the surgeon you intend to work with has access to an accredited and comfortable facility where your treatment can take place in a safe setting. Because many cosmetic surgeries are typically performed on an outpatient basis, it’s important to ensure that the facility where your surgery will take place is held to the highest standards of quality, safety, and patient care.
You can determine this by simply checking to see if the facility has been accredited by respected healthcare organizations such as:
- The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
- The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (A.A.S.F).
- Accreditation of Ambulatory Medical Facilities (AAMHC).
Your comfort level
You should be able to communicate freely with your surgeon and feel very comfortable with their approach. You should feel as though you are a partner with your surgeon. You should also feel safe and secure. Although complications are uncommon, it is good to know that, if something unexpected happens, your surgeon is able to take care of you.
Consider asking yourself questions that will help you understand the type of surgeon you’re looking for.
- Do I trust this surgeon enough to tell him what I am worried about or to ask him questions about my procedure?
- Do I trust that this surgeon will give me safe recommendations that are tailored to me?
- Do I feel that I can trust this surgeon?
- Do I feel safe knowing that this surgeon will look after me if something unexpected happens during the procedure?
- You should also feel comfortable with his staff. They should be accommodating and friendly.
- Do I trust that this surgeon will explain my options in detail, both before and after surgery?
- What kind of experience does this doctor have in the procedures I’m interested in having done?
An ideally qualified plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon should meet all the requirements above. Make sure that you take your time and do your homework to ensure that you are working with a board-certified, seasoned, and talented practitioner.