You’ve been thinking about plastic surgery for quite a while and you’ve finally decided that it’s time to actually see a Plastic Surgeon and find out more about the procedure and then have it done. So how do you decide who to go see? You could see the doctor who’s been advertising on your local TV station or the guy who has the billboards around town and all those radio advertisements or you could look through the yellow pages or a Google search and look for the largest and slickest advertisements. But is that really the best way? It is certainly the way to find out who has the biggest advertising budget but does that necessarily translate into the best results. After all you’re not buying a couch or a car. You’re going to entrust someone to operate on you and improve your appearance
It’s a big decision because as with any surgery, the single most important factor in the success of cosmetic plastic surgery is the surgeon you select. Although individual results can vary, consistently superior results can only come from skilled plastic surgeons like Dr. Nein who understand what you’re trying to achieve and have the skills to accomplish those goals. Those skills can only be obtained through training (more on this later) and experience.
So how can you find out who is the best surgeon for you? Word of mouth is perhaps the best way. Not just who you and your friends have “heard of” the most but which doctor as actually performed similar operations on people you know. I say “similar” operations because even very skilled surgeons develop more expertise in certain procedures. So ask people you know who they’ve been to and what their experience has been. You’ll probably hear the same few surgeons mentioned repeatedly. This is valuable first-hand information for you. At the same time try and take comments posted on the internet with a grain of salt. An individual who posts there may just have an ax to grind without any “real” issues.
You may be new to town or not wish to discuss your interest in cosmetic surgery with all your friends. Word of mouth may not be possible. Then start with training and experience. Remember, cosmetic surgery is elective surgery – you do not have to have it done. Even on recommendations from friends conduct your own research to verify the surgeon’s training and experience, then weigh your decision carefully.
There are a number of ways to evaluate which surgeon is best for you. Check for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Don’t be confused by other official-sounding boards and certifications. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify surgeons in plastic surgery including cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. There is no separate, ABMS-recognized board for any type of cosmetic surgery.
Remember – in most states, it is legal for any physician who holds a medical license, with or without surgical training, to practice cosmetic or plastic surgery. This is why understanding board certification is so important for the person seeking cosmetic surgery. Also simply stating that a physician is board certified is not enough. There are physicians who are board certified in other specialties performing plastic surgery, so find out exactly which specialty the board certification is in.
Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery means that the surgeon has completed medical school and has completed an approved plastic surgery residency as well. In addition to this, the board certified plastic surgeon has passed thorough written and oral examinations given by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has been in practice at least two years.
If there is any confusion about your surgeon’s board certification, you may consult the ABPS website at https://www.abplsurg.org/ You may also call the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASPS) at 1-800-766-4955 to check on certification and member status. The ASPS represents over 97% of all board certified plastic surgeons. Many plastic surgeons who have a specific interest in cosmetic surgery are also members of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (www.surgery.org)
Now you have narrowed down to several choices of plastic surgeons in your area. Call their offices and ask a few questions and get a feel for the office. If it’s good, then schedule an appointment. This is a crucial step in your decision making process. It’s basically an interview process. You’re interviewing the surgeon to see if he is a fit for you and he is also interviewing you to see if you have realistic expectations about what can be accomplished and to see if your health status makes you a good candidate for surgery. Don’t be afraid to talk to more than one surgeon. You’ll likely get slightly different perspectives on your situation. That doesn’t mean one is right while the other is wrong or that one is better than the other; it’s just that we all do things a little differently.
When choosing a plastic surgeon, you should look for:
• Board certified in Plastic Surgery
• Comfortable discussing your desires and expectations
• Answers questions accurately with your best interest at heart
• Highly qualified medical team and certified facility
• Caring bedside manner
• Thorough follow up after procedure
• Warm and caring staff
The consultation is an important process and you should not take this responsibility lightly. As a patient with any doctor, you should feel comfortable discussing your desires and expectations. Be certain you fully understand the procedure: where it will be performed, the expected recovery time and the real risks of the procedure. Although some procedures can be safely performed in an office setting, other procedures may be safer in an approved operating room. The overall risk of cosmetic surgery is very low and most people are very happy with their results.
Do not hesitate to ask questions. You need to have confidence that your surgeon’s answers are accurate and designed with your best interest at heart, even if it means that the recommendation is against the procedure in which you are interested. You should believe that your surgeon would rather turn your business away rather than risk your health and well-being on a cosmetic operation.
Above all, have confidence in your plastic surgeon and your relationship with him.