How to choose the right plastic surgeon

Plastic surgeries are becoming more and more common in the U.S. People adopt this solution to correct different problems or aspects of their body, to reconstruct elements or details affected by accidents or diseases or simply to renew their general look and to fight the signs of aging. No matter what the reasons would be all these patients wish to have their surgeries performed safely, without further damages and they expect optimum outcomes.

Unfortunately like in case of any other surgical procedures, plastic surgeries can also involve complications, risks and the results might not be perfect. That happens because the doctors cannot predict with one hundred percent certainty how each patient will react to surgery and anesthesia.

When complications occur it is vital to have a qualified, well trained and experienced surgeon who can take the right decisions and minimize the risks and damages. Now imagine facing complications during a surgery performed in an inadequate location by a person with no equivalent training and no certification.

The risks of uncertified plastic surgeons

As hilarious as it might sound, this is a reality many patients face. Around 50% of all my patients contact me as they are unsatisfied with the results of previous surgeries, most of them performed by unqualified doctors. So why are so many doctors who call themselves plastic surgeons without having appropriate board certification? The answers are various:

  •  plastic surgery is well paid.
  •  information about plastic surgery is widely available.
  •  the law in many states allows almost any licensed medical doctor to perform plastic surgeries.

If anything goes wrong it is likely that these doctors won’t know how to handle the situation without proper training, in inadequate, unaccredited facilities, without necessary equipment and personnel. It’s easy to imagine that the consequences for patients can be devastating.

How to choose the right surgeon

When it comes to selecting a plastic surgeon, patients have almost endless options. The internet is filled with different advertisements, family members, friends or even other doctors can recommend a plastic surgeon if needed. The problem that these doctors might not be certified plastic surgeons or maybe not surgeons at all. They could be certified in different medical specialties and only assume the title of “cosmetic surgeon”.

Before even making an appointment patients are advised to search details regarding:

  • the doctor’s experience,
  • training,
  • certification.
Although this process might take some time it is worth the effort considering the implications.

Patients should be aware of the fact that the American Board of Medical Specialties has only 24 certified boards. Besides that private persons or organizations have founded other boards which doctors can join. However being treated by a doctor, member of a private board represents no guaranties for patients.
The only official board that plastic surgeons should be certified by is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Its members:

  • have graduated an accredited medical school
  • have at least five years of surgical training
  • completed a plastic surgery residence program
  • passed written and oral examination by a committee of specialists
Only surgeons certified by the ABPS have the necessary training, skills and experience to perform plastic surgeries of the face or entire body. Although board certification is not a guaranty, at least is a strong indicator of competence.

Another important aspect patients should have in mind is that when they look for a plastic surgeon, choosing the cheapest option is often not a wise decision. Safety, quality and optimum results come with a price.

As plastic surgery is often elective, the safety of every patient should be a prior concern. All future patients are advised to well inform themselves about the surgeon they intent to contact, to ask about his training, board certification, experience, hospital privileges, to check membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.