Once you decide that you want plastic surgery, you are going to wonder what you should expect from a plastic surgeon. Next, you’ll promptly be confronted by a second difficult question: How are you going to find a plastic surgeon? End up with an inexperienced surgeon, or one who overplays their experience, and your chances of a poor result increase, which can mean additional costs, time, and stress.
A website’s a good starting point. Survey the surgeons in your area and hone in on a handful that most closely aligns with your expectations. At this early point, they can be basic things like credentials, experience, proximity to your home. Then schedule consultations with those surgeons.
You’ll want to arrive armed with questions. Everything should be fair game. Ask about the facilities where the surgery is performed. Ask about the recovery and the risks of the procedure. These are a few other key points you want to be sure to discuss. Overall, we want you to be prepared for what you might expect from a plastic surgeon.
State medical boards don’t require a surgeon to be specifically trained in the procedures they offer. That’s more than a little unsettling, right? The issue is most acute in cosmetic surgery, where there are lots of other specialists performing plastic surgical procedures.
So, it’s crucial to find a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure, specifically one who’s board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It’s the only board for plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures that’s recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the gold-standard certifying body for specialty boards.
Likewise, you want to ensure that your plastic surgeon’s experienced in the procedure you want, not just in general. Operating on a nose, as you can imagine, is a lot different from operating on a breast. A good rule of thumb, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is that the surgeon’s performed your procedure once or more per week for five years or more.
This may sound a little pretentious, but there’s a certain level of artistry that’s required of a plastic surgeon. Think about it: There’s really only one way to remove a gall bladder, but there’s lots of nuances to cosmetic procedures. Five plastic surgeons may give you five different plans for a breast augmentation, or a tummy tuck, or a rhinoplasty, and so on.
Ask to see before-and-after photos for your procedure and, ideally, of patients who look like you. That will give you the clearest sense of how that surgeon’s interpreted what you’re asking for.
Don’t overlook your comfort level with the surgeon. Take note of how willing you are to trust them. This is probably a foreign experience for you, so you want to make sure that you feel confident speaking up at any point if you have a question or a concern. For the first time, it’s hard to know what you should expect from a plastic surgeon, so ask questions.
Yeah, it’s a bit of gut feeling, but your opinion’s the only one that matters here.