When it comes to plastic surgery, there are some key factors to consider when choosing the right surgeon. Here's how to make sure your surgeon has prioritized safety as the foundation of their practice.
1. Board Certification
Your surgeon should be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Certification assures that your surgeon has undergone the rigorous training and certification process required by the ABPS. ABPS certification requires graduating from an accredited plastic surgery program, passing written examinations, and demonstrating proven results and safety after starting in practice. Ongoing certification is required, so this assures that your surgeon is staying up-to-date with new trends in plastic surgery.
When you start thinking about a cosmetic procedure, start asking people that you trust. You may consider recommendations from your friends, family, a primary care doctor or dermatologist. If you visit a med spa, ask your provider who they recommend. They commonly get to see the work of multiple surgeons. Also, go online and read reviews and patient stories. Realself.com is a great place to start.
3. Examine a Surgeon's Website
There is lots of helpful information on a surgeon's website. Check out their biography and see where they trained and what specific training they have received. Look for a residency, or fellowship, in plastic surgery.
Look at the photo gallery for the procedure that you are considering. This can give you a sense of the type of results that your surgeon might be able to achieve. However, remember that this is typically a representation of your surgeon's best work. It's important to remember that no results are guaranteed and that treatment results may vary.
4. Verify that your surgeon has hospital privileges.
"Hospital privileges" refers to a doctor having the right to use the operating room facilities and equipment at a specific hospital. Privileges are obtained through thorough vetting by the staff at the institution. It ensures that a agroup of your doctor's peers believe that he/she is qualified to perform the procedures within their specialty. Verifying privileges is simple and only requires that you ask at your doctor's office. You should also be able to find a listing of the physician on the hospital's website.
The frequency that your doctor performs the operation can give you a sense of the level of experience that they have with each procedure that they offer. During your consultation, don't hesitate to ask your doctor about their experience and comfort with the procedure that you are considering.
6. Ask your surgeon to discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure.
This is commonly overlooked. Frequently I see patients who have had several consultations with other plastic surgeons. When I discuss the possible complications of the procedure, many times they have not heard these details discussed during their previous consultations. As you move forward with the procedure, it's important that you understand the small, but real risk that complications could occur. It's important to understand what can happen, and how your surgeon would address any issues if they were to arise.
7. Accreditation of the facility
Anytime you are having a major operation, it should be performed in an accredited facility. Surgery centers can be accredited by several agencies. Accreditation assures that they have met standards for training and how to respond if a possible emergency occurs. Board-certified plastic surgeons are required to operate in accredited facilities.
If your procedure involves sedation or general anesthesia, then this should be performed by a board-certified anesthesiologist or certified nurse anesthetist. Ask your surgeon specifically who will be handling the anesthesia during your procedure.
Make sure your surgeon discusses the expected recovery. It's important that you understand your specific restrictions to make sure that you can follow the recommendations and so you can plan to have enough help at home during the recovery process.
10. Multiple Consultations
It never hurts to get more information. Consider several consultations with board-certified plastic surgeons. This gives you the opportunity to hear multiple opinions on how best to achieve your results.
Enjoy the process! Congratulations on taking the next step on your journey!
Dr. Austin Hayes is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with offices in Portland, Seattle, and Hood River.