When considering plastic surgery, choosing a surgeon is the most important decision you can make. Your plastic surgeon will ultimately influence every step of the process from the choice to have surgery to the impact of your recovery, as well as your satisfaction with the final results. Here are six key questions to ask when choosing a plastic surgeon.
1. Are you board certified in cosmetic surgery?
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, any licensed doctor can legally perform a cosmetic surgery in the United States, even if he or she has never had training in this area. Choosing a board-certified surgeon ensures that the doctor has completed a 12-month fellowship in cosmetic surgery as well as a surgical residency in a related specialty. It also certifies that he or she performs surgery at a fully accredited, state-licensed facility.
2. How many procedures of this kind have you performed?
Regardless of the type of surgery you’re considering, it’s important to choose a plastic surgeon who is not only an expert in the field, but also in the specific type of surgery you want to have. Get specific details about how long he or she has been doing this procedure, how many times it has been performed, and success and recovery rates.
3. Who is a part of your surgical support team?
It’s important to be aware of who else will be assisting in your procedure and the credentials they hold. Learn about the person who will be administering and monitoring your anesthesia and what kind of emergency staff will be available in case an issue arises. If you’re having your procedure at a teaching hospital, you’ll also want to know whether any students or interns will be observing or assisting during your case.
4. What are the potential risks and complications?
According to Health.com, any surgeon who promises a risk-free procedure is a red flag, since there are risks inherent in any surgery. He or she should be able to explain exactly what the risks are and what you can expect during your recovery, including any common and not-so-common complications. If you don’t feel satisfied with these details, don’t move forward with that surgeon.
5. Can I see before and after photos?
Seeing a portfolio of the results experienced by other patients who have had the same procedure with the surgeon can help you get a truly realistic idea of what to expect. If the after photos aren’t what you’re looking for, you may want to look elsewhere.
6. What will be the total cost of my procedure?
Many cosmetic procedures are elective, which means you’ll likely be responsible for the entire cost. Be sure to get a hard number before you decide to move forward to avoid costly surprises later on.