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What to look for in a plastic surgeon

There are no dumb questions! You need answers before choosing your plastic surgeon. Get all the information prior to your procedure.

Preparing for plastic surgery

Why is it important to have an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon? In most countries any doctor is legally permitted to perform any procedure. So at least in theory, a psychiatrist would be legally able to perform a face lift! Board certification in the country where the doctor operates will generally ensure that the surgeon has completed a minimum number of years of training in general surgery and additional minimum years training in plastic surgery specialties, plus they have taken written and oral tests pertaining to their specialty.

Check the record

Links to an area’s licensing board can often provide critical background information on a surgeon’s record: malpractice judgements, any accusations filed against the doctor, plus disciplinary actions taken against them.

Ask questions

When you meet for your first consultation with the surgeon be prepared with questions. Ask if the doctor has hospital privileges because hospitals are careful about background checks. Even if your procedure will be done at an outpatient clinic, it’s important to know if the doctor has hospital approval. If it can’t be verified, it’s a big red flag.

Ask how often the doctor has done the procedure you are considering. Be wary of surgeons who suggest multiple procedures. Some general guidelines in selecting a good plastic surgeon: your chosen doctor should have at least six years of surgical training and experience with a minimum of three years experience as a plastic surgeon. They should be board-certified with hospital privileges, trained in all plastic surgery procedures — including breast, body, face and reconstruction. Ask about their record of peer review. The doctor should operate only in accredited facilities and have a verifiable record of fulfilling continuing medical education requirements including standards and innovations in patient safety.

Ask additional questions and listen carefully to the responses. Are you a good candidate for this procedure? What will be expected of you in order to get the best results? What are the risks involved with this procedure? How long is the recovery period? What kind of help will be necessary during recovery? The surgeon should answer all of your questions calmly and completely and offer alternatives if appropriate, without pressuring you to consider unnecessary or additional procedures. The doctor should also make clear any risks associated with the surgery and discuss possible outcomes. Without undue pressure, the surgeon should leave the decision to proceed up to you.

Don’t be embarrassed or shy about asking questions until you are comfortable with the answers and the competency of the doctor. Remember that you are considering altering your body in a major way. Under those circumstances, there are no dumb questions! Get the information you need to make an informed decision.

More plastic surgery tips

Plastic surgery: What you need to know
Cheapest plastic surgery procedures
Plastic surgery procedures to avoid

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