How to Choose a Cosmetic Surgeon


Cosmetic surgery is not just science, it is also a feat of art. Every cosmetic surgeon must be an artisan in its own way – just like a tailor his skill determines the quality of the overall results on your body. If you decide to undergo an aesthetic surgery procedure, your objective is quite simple: becoming more beautiful. However, if your physician is not as competent as you expected, the final result can leave you dissatisfied. But your body is not like a suit you can simply throw in a drawer, never to wear it again. Your body is who you are, and a botched or low-quality surgery can compromise your very living.

So how can you find the top cosmetic surgeon your budget can afford and guarantee yourself the best results possible? Let’s have a look.

Look for an accredited cosmetic surgeon

This one isn’t just a no-brainer as it may seem. In the United States, any physician with a formal training in general surgery can perform cosmetic procedures without any specific degree. Do you really want a psychiatrist to perform your abdominoplasty? Well, it happens, since many unscrupulous doctors jump on the bandwagon to make a quick profit at the expense of the patients.

Thankfully, the American Board of Plastic Surgery exists, and only provides accreditation to those who completed three to five years of training in general surgery plus a minimum of two to three years of specific training in plastic surgery. And they go beyond that: the wanna-be cosmetic surgeons must take oral and written tests every 10 years to check if their knowledge is still up to date. Check your doctor’s name on the American Board of Medical Specialties’ Web site to check if he’s board-certified in plastic surgery.

Check his or her reputation

So, you just made sure that the theory is okay, but what about the practice? Even if your doctor is board-certified, how good he or she is in his work? The simplest way to make sure you asked the right person to cut you open with a scalpel, is to have a direct look to his previous works. Ask him or her to provide you with pictures of previous interventions, but don’t stop at that.

Search on the Internet for other patients’ reviews, and even ask around. Word of mouth still works, even in 2017! By checking the records you can also find if that physician was subjected to disciplinary actions or if someone filed a malpractice lawsuit against him. Spending some time asking questions and making researches can save you from a lot of pain if this doctor is not as competent as you expect.

Make a lot of questions

Always come armed with a lot of questions for your doctor. How often he performs that specific procedure you’re interested him? If the answer is not “weekly” there’s a risk he just performed it a few times in his life. How well he knows the detail of that kind of surgery? If he fumbles with answers, there’s a chance he’s not as good as he claims to be.

Also, ask the surgeon if he has hospital privileges. Even if your procedure will be done at an outpatient clinic, if he has no hospital privileges should raise a big red flag. Healthcare facilities run their own background checks, and if they refused him privileges they might have a very compelling reason.

Find out about the operating facility

Your safety during a procedure depends on the doctor’s staff and the place you’re being operated as well. An expert anesthetist and a skilled staff of nurses is just as important as a skilled surgeon to guarantee optimal results. Make a check on their reputation and background as well. You want them to be a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), if possible.

Find out more about the facility you’re going to undergo your procedure. An accredited operating room of the highest level (such as AAAASF, AAAHC or JCAHO) includes additional life support systems to ensure your safety in case something goes wrong.

Beware of multiple procedures

Sometimes more than one procedure is needed to achieve a good result, such as a tummy tuck after a significant liposuction intervention. However, it is not so uncommon that less transparent doctors suggest you to undergo multiple procedures just to make more money.

Any time you bundle procedure, you’re not just raising the final cost. The risk goes up as well, so an ethical surgeon should always warn you about that, and suggest the less invasive approach he’s familiar with. If you came for a neck lift and ended up talking with your doctor about the need for a nose job, this could be a huge hint that something is not right.

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