Choosing a qualified and experienced board-certified
plastic surgeon is not easy, considering the fact there
are many licensed medical doctors who perform plastic
surgery procedures, yet are not specifically trained
and certified in the field of plastic surgery. Only
surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic
Surgery (ABPS) are specifically trained to perform plastic
surgery procedures. The ABPS is the only board approved
by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS),
to certify medical doctors in the specialty of plastic
surgery of the face and body.
In order to become board-certified in plastic surgery,
a medical doctor must have:
- Graduated from an accredited medical school
- Completed a three year residency in general surgery*
- Completed a two year residency in plastic surgery*
- Completed comprehensive written and oral board examinations
- Hold a valid medical license in the state actively
* Residency programs have to be accredited by the Accreditation
Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The type of training a surgeon received, like that of
a board-certified plastic surgeon, is a good indication
of his or her ability to provide you with experienced
and safe cosmetic surgery. It is important to understand
however, that no credential, such as board-certification
is an absolute guarantee of individual results. With
this in mind it is sensible to choose a surgeon who
has received extensive plastic surgery training and
has experience with cosmetic surgery procedures.
Besides a surgeon's qualifications, such as board-certification,
you should also evaluate:
- The Surgeon's Experience
- The Initial Consultation
- Your Instincts
The level of experience the surgeon has accounts a
great deal for the safe and successful outcome of the
surgical procedure. Generally speaking the more experienced
a surgeon, the safer you should feel in his or her hands.
It is important to feel absolutely confident about the
surgeon's abilities to perform your cosmetic surgery
Typically a surgeon with extensive medical and surgical
experience knows how to deal with unexpected events
during a surgery, in addition is able to minimize the
possible complications you may have during and after
a particular procedure. This knowledge can mean a shorter
and smoother recovery period after your procedure. In
addition the surgeon should be up to date with newer
and more advanced surgical techniques and procedures.
Be sure to ask the surgeon about his or her background
and surgical experience.
This initial meeting tends to be a relaxed, yet systematic
discussion about the particular procedure you are considering.
Generally, the surgeon will begin by reviewing and evaluating
your desired goals. He or she will then review your
medical history and lifestyle, conduct a physical examination
and assess whether you are a good candidate for the
procedure. The aim will be to educate and inform you
about the proposed procedure and to "walk"
you through the whole procedure. He or she will then
explain what the procedure involves, discuss the types
of anesthesia, and go over the risks and benefits involved
as well as the recovery time and how you will feel at
each stage of the procedure. Finally the surgeon will
discuss the costs involved for the total procedure and
give you some reading materials. During the initial
consultation the surgeon should:
Discuss your motivations and expectations of the procedure
Offer alternatives, if appropriate, without pressuring
you to consider unnecessary procedures
Be open to questions about his educational background,
professional qualifications, experience, and costs
Answer all your questions thoroughly and compassionately
Discuss all the risks and benefits involved
After the consultation a mutual understanding hopefully
will have developed, allowing you to feel comfortable
with the surgeon.
Trust your personal feelings about the surgeon, his
staff and the facility. If you do not feel completely
comfortable, walk away and meet with another qualified
surgeon. The decision is always yours. The best thing
you can do you for yourself is to get educated about
your options by learning all the details of the procedure,
including all the risks, benefits, alternatives and
estimated costs. The more informed you are, the more
comfortable you feel making this personal choice.
Once you have decided to consult with a plastic surgeon,
be sure to make the best out of your consultation by
asking the right questions to be able to make an educated
decision. When meeting with your surgeon, be sure to
consider asking some of the following questions:
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic
- How many of these procedures have you performed?
- Where and how will you perform my surgery?
- Is the surgical facility accredited by a national
or state-recognized accrediting organization?
- What are some of the risks involved with my procedure?
- How long is the expected recovery time for my procedure
and what are some special precautions I need to take?
- How much does the total procedure cost? Is financing
- Do I need to take time off from work, if so how
- What results can I expect?
- Do you have before and after photos of this procedure?
- What complications are associated with this type
- Do you have clinical privileges, if so where?
- What kind of anesthesia will be used?
- Who will administer the anesthesia?
- What kind of products will be used during my procedure?
The decision to have cosmetic surgery can often be
difficult. Finding a qualified and experienced plastic
surgeon can be even harder. After all the most important
aspect of a successful procedure is to choose the right
surgeon to trust your face and body too.
Let us help you find an experienced and qualified plastic
surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery,
call Toll Free (800) 449-1884,
or fill out our Online Referral