How Do You Find the Best Plastic Surgeon?
There’s something about your body that’s been bothering you for years, and nothing you’ve tried so far has worked to change it. Now you’ve learned about a plastic surgical procedure (or maybe several) that can do exactly what you need to get the body you want. Your next step is to choose the plastic surgeon who will perform your procedure. Of course, you want the very best cosmetic surgeon around. But with thousands of surgeons in practice, how can you possibly know who to choose?
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Here at Doctor Review, helping you choose the right provider for your elective health procedure is one of our specialties. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re choosing the best plastic surgeon for your procedure.
Things to Look For in a Plastic Surgeon
ASPS: the Mark of Quality
While your plastic surgeon should have the letters “MD” after his or her name (of course! That means they’re a real doctor!), there may be another set of letters after that. “ASPS” stands for American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Surgeons can’t just sign up to be in this society. They have to have a minimum of three years of plastic surgery specialty training (that’s after medical school and general surgery training), and they have to pass rigorous board exams that demonstrate their knowledge in the area of plastic surgery. To remain in the society, plastic surgeons have to take continuing education courses regularly, including training on patient safety as well as new or specialized techniques. So if you see someone’s name written as “John Doe, MD, ASPS,” then you know that person is well-trained in this area. If you just see “MD,” then the person could be a general surgeon who just does a few plastic surgical procedures, and that might not lead to the outcomes you want.
Recent Training and Experience
You also want information on how often this surgeon has done the particular procedure you’re considering, or whether they’ve recently had continuing education to learn new techniques in that particular area. While all plastic surgeons are qualified to perform cosmetic surgical procedures, surgeons (like everyone else) tend to have particular areas of interest. Some may perform certain procedures more or less often, and may choose their continuing education courses to be in their area of greatest interest. If you’re calling the front desk as a potential new patient, you may be able to ask about this information. Sometimes, it’s available on the surgeon’s website. You may need to have a consultation and ask directly; many surgical offices offer complimentary consultations. This information is valuable in terms of determining whether the plastic surgeon can perform the procedure you’re seeking at a high quality.
While you do want someone who’s experienced, it’s at least as important to find a surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, who listens to you, tries to understand your goals, and answers your questions. If your surgeon doesn’t take the time to connect with you in this way, then you could end up making choices that you later regret, because they really weren’t right for you.
You also want a surgeon who helps you feel calm, rather than heightening your anxiety. This makes plastic surgery far more pleasant, helps you make the best choices for yourself, and may even speed your healing.
What About the Money?
It’s important not to let cost be the only factor in your decision. Simply choosing the cheapest plastic surgeon you can find is likely to lead to unsatisfying outcomes, and possibly to much larger expenditures down the road to fix the problems that were caused. However, since medical insurance rarely covers cosmetic surgery, the balance in your bank account might force you to consider cost as part of your decision. You can sometimes simply ask the front desk staff to give you estimated prices on a variety of procedures, or you can have a consultation to get a more accurate estimate. Just keep in mind that if you don’t have the money you need to pay the provider you want, financing your procedure is an option.
Ask For a Little Help From Your Friends
Referrals from friends and family, especially if they’ve had the particular procedure you’re considering, can be especially valuable. You might not know who’s had plastic surgery recently, because if it’s done well, then it looks natural! You might feel comfortable putting it out there: “I’m looking for a great plastic surgeon in my area, do you know of anyone?” You might find the perfect fit this way. However, many people would like to be more discreet, rather than announcing their choice to seek cosmetic surgery to the world. Instead, or in addition, you can search on Doctor Review to read reviews of plastic surgeons in your area. This is a great way to broaden your search and make sure you’re considering all the options, and to get advice from people who’ve had exactly the procedure you’re seeking, all while maintaining your privacy.
So Who’s the Best Plastic Surgeon?
The best plastic surgeon is the one who offers all of the factors above — training and experience in the procedure you’re considering (including specialty training, designated by ASPS), a caring and compassionate manner, and great results. If you want to feel good about your plastic surgical procedure, it starts with feeling good about your surgeon!