Plastic surgery is an effective way to address flaws that might not respond to other cosmetic procedures, such as lifts for excess skin from weight loss surgery. It is also an effective way to address physical defects or flaws that are the result of an injury or heredity, such as uncomfortably large breasts.
While cosmetic surgery does not generally fall under the category of lifesaving, or medically necessary, it is surgery nonetheless, and as such has many of the same risks and concerns as other types of surgery. If you are thinking of having a surgical cosmetic procedure, one of your biggest concerns should be the doctor you choose.
Picking Your Doctor
If you live in a large, metropolitan area, you will have the option of hundreds of surgeons at your disposal. Some may work out of private facilities, while others–like Scottsdale’s Tummy Tuck expert Doctor Joseph Berardi and San Diego-based reconstructive surgeon Doctor Jason Hess–may practice in a medical center, such as the Kaiser Foundation Hospital.
1. The first thing you should do is find doctors who specialize in the procedure that you want to have. A doctor who mainly does rhinoplasty (nose jobs) could do a decent job with your breast augmentation, but why take the risk? The best way to find a doctor would be through a consumer rating site like Health Grades and UCompareHealthCare that can give you information on the doctor’s experience, specialty, and patient experiences with the doctor.
2. The second thing you should do is narrow your search to two-to-four doctors and verify credentials, as well as the credentials of their facilities. The rating sites above will include any information that the doctor provides, but it’s the agencies listed below that can actually tell you what sort of license, accreditation, or certification the doctor and facility has. Uses the two types of resources together can give you the best information available on your prospective doctor.
· American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) – Certifies ambulatory surgery facilities, also known as outpatient facilities, and provides practice guidelines for surgeons working in ambulatory surgical facilities.
· American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)/ The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) – Lists all ASPS members who are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It also verifies that they have graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of surgical residency, with three years of general surgery and two years of plastic surgery.
· Federation of State Medical Boards (FCVS) – FCVS verifies medical education, postgraduate training, licensure examination history, board action history, and identity from state boards across the country.
3. The third thing you should do is schedule a consultation with each doctor. When you arrive, you should check out the waiting room, the examination room if applicable, and the staff and doctor. Does the facility look and smell clean and well-maintained? Do the other patients seem happy and relaxed? Are the doctor and staff courteous and respectful? In short, do you feel comfortable in this environment, and do you feel that you can trust this doctor and his staff to treat you well?
4. The fourth thing you should do is discuss the procedure with the doctor. What is the exact name of the procedure, and what is involved? Are you a good candidate for that procedure? What are the risks and benefits? What can you expect after the procedure, including possible complications and recovery time? Will you need any follow-up care? How long does it usually take to heal? Are there any other procedures that would achieve the same, or a similar, result?
Your doctor should also ask you questions about your expectations regarding the procedure, versus what the surgery will actually achieve. He should also be honest with you if your expectations are unrealistic – such as wanting breast implants that are too large for your frame – and be willing to work with you to achieve the most satisfactory result possible.