Searching for a Surgeon
As the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery so succinctly notes, “Your choice of cosmetic surgeon will be a choice you live with for years, if not your entire life.” So…no pressure, right?
Anyone who’s ever needed to find a doctor in any specialty knows that the process can be grueling. Once you’ve chosen the person in control of your body, there are no returns or take-backs allowed. Thus, the effort of searching for a surgeon to alter your cosmetic appearance can be especially terrifying for those who are already nervous about their surgery. How do you ensure that there will be no mistakes, no flaws, and no irreversible (undesirable) alterations to your appearance?
Though humans certainly aren’t perfect, you can increase your chances of a successful surgery by knowing what to ask and how to find a doctor to fit your personal needs and personality. If you’re guessing that scrolling through the phone book and putting your finger on a random “plastic surgeon” isn’t the best way to find your dream doctor, you’re absolutely right.
Do’s and Don’ts of Finding A Surgeon
- Do Seek Out Word-of-Mouth Recommendations: For many potential patients, the most effective way to find a surgeon is to ask friends, neighbors, and relatives who have experience with plastic surgery. For the most part, these recommendations are most likely reliable, as the La Jolla Plastic Surgery Centre explains: “Don’t underestimate the value of “word of mouth.” What other patients say tells a lot about that doctor’s talent. We encourage our patients to talk to people they trust and ask who they recommend. A busy surgeon with good outcomes will be known by word of mouth.” On the other hand, if no one has ever heard of the surgeon you’re asking about, you might take that radio silence as a potential (though not infallible) warning sign.
- Do Check Board Certifications: One of the safest ways to guarantee that your surgeon has the chops and professional credibility you seek is to find them via the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery’s Directory (click through to find it here), the American Board of Plastic Surgery’s Directory (find it here), or in a professional association for your specific surgery (i.e. The Rhinoplasty Society here). Narrowing your criteria to only surgeons who have board certification doesn’t guarantee a perfect outcome with 100% certainty, but it absolutely helps your chances. For example, the American Board of Plastic Surgery requires rigorous training, extensive experience, and top-notch performance, so you can almost always assume that your chances of success are higher with a board-certified surgeon.
- Don’t Forget to Do Your Own Research: Ultimately, you’re the one who will need to be comfortable with the surgeon you choose. As Steven M. Denenberg notes, “the best way to select your plastic surgeon is to do your own research. Take your time. Interview at least two or three plastic surgeons, and see examples of your work…anyone who refers you to a plastic surgeon has far less at stake in the outcome than you do, so it’s up to you to take responsibility for finding the best doctor.”
- Do Establish Your Criteria Before Looking: Your search will narrow down the possibilities dramatically if you’re looking for specific criteria from the outset. For example, you may want to only look for plastic surgeons with a specialty in your surgery, or you may care more about the space in which your surgery is performed. Plastic surgeries may take place in hospitals, hospital-affiliated surgicenters, or on-site surgical centers. For example, the Minneapolis plastic surgeons at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery feature an on-site AAAASF-accredited surgical center with complete local-to-general anesthesia services, which is an important feature for patients who would like to avoid visiting a hospital (and therefore, a higher likelihood of exposure to bacterial illness). Once you can limit your search to surgeons who only operate in their own accredited centers, for example, you’ll be able to better understand the options you have.
- Do Prioritize Communication: If there’s a hiccup in communication during any part of the process, run like the wind. If your surgeon doesn’t speak the language that you do (and doesn’t offer a full-time, on-site interpreter to help you schedule visits and manage consultations), find a surgeon that does. Especially if you’re one of the many patients who isn’t sharing their decision to undergo plastic surgery with friends, and family, it is of the utmost importance to communicate your goals, expectations, and concerns with the surgery group. There is never an excuse for poor communication, especially when the stakes are so high.
If you need help finding a plastic surgeon who can fit your needs, please let us know or leave a comment in the section below, anytime! We’d be more than happy to help you find a good fit.