Plastic surgery procedures are more popular now than ever. Not surprisingly that correlates with the many medical practitioners who are going after their share of this multi-billion dollar industry. There has been major advancements in the plastic / reconstructive and cosmetic surgery field and what can be achieved for those who want to correct deformities or enhance their appearance.
However, remember that ANY surgical procedure is a very serious undertaking and should be approached with great care. As with any decision of this magnitude, researching both procedures and possible doctors is critical to giving you the best chance for success. Here are some questions that can help you in the search for a physician.
What Kind of Associations / Boards Should I Look For? It should be noted that there is a difference in a ‘board-certified plastic surgeon’ and ‘plastic surgeon.’ A well-qualified plastic surgeon is a member of the American Board of Plastics Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Board-certified plastic surgeons are highly specialized surgeons that perform plastic and reconstructive procedures.
Many surgeons who are NOT board certified plastic surgeons also perform plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. This is very common and many are very well qualified and experienced. However, for those looking for ‘reconstructive’ or other highly intricate procedures to correct a deformity, a board certified plastic surgeon is the way to go.
How Can I Judge A Potential Physician’s Experience Level? The best physicians will spend a good deal of time consulting with you and providing a wealth of information about the procedure and their practice – including patient before and after pictures and testimonials. Another good strategy is to speak with other doctors and nurses about a specific doctor to get their impression of that physician. Also, ask your doctor if they can utilize facilities at the local community hospital. There are many plastic surgery procedures that may require the extensive facilities the local hospital. If a surgeon does NOT have privileges at the local hospital that is a sign to do more investigation on that doctor.
Should You Be Concerned If the Doctor Wants To Do the Procedure In His or Her Office? Generally no. Many physicians have the ability and equipment to handle procedures ‘in-office’ including such items as laser treatments, etc. However, as is noted above, your doctor should have the ability to utilize facilities at the local hospital for more involved procedures such as tummy tucks. For most physicians its cost-prohibitive or not feasible to have a fully equipped surgical suite (along with surgical nurses, etc.) located within their office.
What About Risks and Recovery? You should know that ALL surgery comes with both risk and recovery considerations. Your doctor should spend ample time discussing both of these items as they pertain to your desired procedure. Make sure you are fully aware of all risks and special recovery items before you commit.