How To Select A Plastic Surgeon

The decision to partake in plastic surgery of any kind is a big one. Add that to the fact that there are thousands of different procedures and surgeons, and it can become quite the decision. This guide can help you make the right decision in finding a plastic surgeon and deciding what is best for you.


1. Research your procedure

The first step in selecting a plastic surgeon is to do research on the procedure you plan on having. Is it a minor operation, or one that will keep you in the hospital for days or weeks? You will want to know whether the plastic surgery you plan on having is a common one. If it is, the list of plastic surgeons will most likely be abundant. A less common procedure or a newer procedure will mean that the number of surgeons who perform it will be less. This will give you a narrower field of specialists to work with in determining who will do the operation for you.

When you research your procedure on the Internet, you will undoubtedly come across message boards and chat rooms dedicated to the surgery you desire. These can be excellent places with a wealth of knowledge within. People who have had this particular plastic surgery done can offer advice, give help, offer support, and even help you find a great surgeon in your area. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible as to what your surgery entails. That way you will know the most important questions to ask when you start the process of choosing a plastic surgeon.

2. Get Recommendations for a Plastic Surgeon

It is easy to find a plastic surgeon by looking in the phone book or on the Internet. But finding the right one for your procedure, and the one who will do the best job, is another story. But how do you choose? Start by asking around. Word of mouth is a plastic surgeon's best friend, as the better job they do, the more people will recommend them. Talk to any family or friend that has had the same surgery as you, and ask them to recommend their plastic surgeon to you. Check message boards on the Internet and find out if someone near you has any recommendations for a plastic surgeon.

Hospitals and doctors' offices are also great places to start looking for a recommendation for a well-known and reliable plastic surgeon. Most doctors recommend a complete physical before any plastic surgery, so make that the first appointment on your way to plastic surgery. Ask your doctor and nurses if they can recommend the best plastic surgeon, or the best clinics to have your procedure done in. Get as many opinions as possible so you have a variety of people to choose from. Get names so you can then do the proper background check on that plastic surgeon. Many factors need to be considered for a surgeon, the first of course being skill. But bedside manner, convenience, and location are also major factors to consider when finding a great plastic surgeon.

3. Interview Many Plastic Surgeons

Almost any reputable plastic surgeon and plastic surgery clinic will offer their potential customers a free consultation to talk about the procedure they plan on having. After you have compiled a list of plastic surgeons that you believe can do your surgery, narrow it down even farther by doing your research on the Internet on them. Make appointments for a free consultation with the ones you believe are the best for you and your situation.

Don't jump for the first plastic surgeon who makes promises. Plastic surgeons are all out for your business, but a reliable one will not make false claims or push you into a decision. You are under no obligation to choose any kind of procedure the day you have the interview. Take a notebook with you and take notes on what the plastic surgeon says, so you can compare them later with the others. Do not let one rush you into a procedure. One very important thing when looking for a plastic surgeon is to not sign anything right away. Give yourself time to think about whether you want that particular plastic surgeon working on you and your body. Take the time to interview as many as surgeons as possible; that way you can pick the best one for you.

4. Verify the Plastic Surgeon is Licensed

We all like to think that a practicing plastic surgeon is licensed. But it is always important to make sure that they are licensed in the state where you are having the procedure. Just because a plastic surgeon does a surgery or procedure, does not mean that he or she is legally allowed to.

Having a state license is very important, and a board certified plastic surgeon must hold a valid one to practice medicine in the state they work in. A plastic surgeon may be a Medical Doctor, which is an M.D., or a Doctor of Osteopathy, a D.O. Most plastic surgeons are medical doctors, although some are osteopathic doctors as well.

Having a medical license to practice the plastic surgery you want is a matter of public record. You can check online through many facilities, such as the American Board of Medical Specialties, The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, and The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Although not every reputable plastic surgeon may be listed there, many of them are. There are many phone numbers available that allow you to check with reputable companies about your plastic surgeon's licensing. Make sure they are licensed for the particular state they will be doing the surgery in.

5. Check for Criminal Activity

It is unfortunate, but many plastic surgeons may be currently involved in criminal activities or have malpractice lawsuits filed against them. You can search for any available information online to verify that the board certified plastic surgeon you have chosen has not had problems with the law or lawsuits filed against him or her. A reputable doctor will be upfront and honest about any problems or lawsuits they may have had, but never take their word for it. Too many people believe that a doctor would never lie, when the truth is, some do. Don't be embarrassed asking a doctor or plastic surgeon about their experiences, as they are there to make a life altering surgery in you.

Doing your research and background checks are an important step to finding the best plastic surgeon for the job. Many resources are available online to find out if a plastic surgeon has had a criminal past. It can be wise to hire a private investigator if you can afford it, who usually has better resources to access information on someone that has been well hidden. Always put a lot of effort into finding out if a plastic surgeon is right for yourself and the procedure you are having.

6. Compare Rates

For many of us, money is a huge factor in everyday life. When you use it for plastic surgery, you want to get a good rate while getting the best possible care. The first step to choosing a plastic surgeon is to find out if your procedure is covered by insurance of any type. Some procedures, when medically necessary, can be covered in part or in whole by your insurance company. If so, find out if your surgeon will take your insurance. It is then important to talk about how much the procedure is, and how you will go about paying for it.

While you do not want a rate that is outrageous, neither do you want one that is too low. A reputable doctor will have comparable rates for their plastic surgery procedures. Rates that are too low may sound good, but may mean a doctor who is out to make a quick buck. Again, do the proper research on your procedure and plastic surgeon to make sure their quotes are normal and reasonable.

Many plastic surgeons offer a medical insurance card, where you can pay the procedure off monthly. Some offer pay-by-the-month plans. Still others want all their money, up front. Check with each plastic surgeon you interview to find out his or her rates.

7. Factor in other areas

The biggest areas that people look for in a board certified plastic surgeon are the skills that they have, how many times that they have performed the procedure, and the price they charge. These are extremely important. There are other factors, however, that can make your plastic surgery experience great.

Decide if you like your plastic surgeon. Are they easy to talk to? Do they answer your questions? Are they patient, kind, and understanding? Do they have a pleasant "bedside manner"? All these are important areas to look at when choosing a plastic surgeon. Being comfortable with the person performing an appearance-changing and life-altering procedure is extremely important.

Other things to consider when choosing a plastic surgeon are the area they are in, the ease of appointments, and other amenities they offer. It is important to be as close as possible to the plastic surgeon you want, as there may be many appointments to get to. Make sure you can get an appointment easily, and if there are ways to get in contact with the plastic surgeon in case of an emergency. All these factors and more make up whether a particular plastic surgeon is right for you.

8. Ask Questions

Part of researching your plastic surgery and the surgeon who performs it is knowing the correct questions to ask. Go into a consultation with a list. Make sure to write down everything you want to know. Don't be embarrassed to ask as many questions as you need to; after all, that is why you have a consultation. Ask your plastic surgeon how many times they have performed this procedure. See if they have any before and after photos from previous operations. Find out how long it takes for recovery, and if there are complications. The list of questions should be long, but it is important to ask them when looking for a plastic surgeon.

A great plastic surgeon will take the time to answer any and all questions fully and to your satisfaction. Do not let the doctor hurry you or belittle you for the questions you have. After all, it is your body and your procedure, and also your money. Research your plastic surgery properly to make sure you know all the right questions to ask.

9. Read Patient Consent Forms Carefully

When you finally find the best plastic surgeon that you believe fits your needs, be sure to read the patient consent forms carefully. They may be long, but it is extremely important to know what you are signing before you do it. Do not just breeze over the forms and sign on the dotted lines! Take the time to carefully read exactly what you are signing. You may also be signing anesthesia forms, if you will be having any during your operation, and it is just as important to understand the risks involved in that.

A reputable doctor will allow you to take your consent form home to read it at your leisure. It is also a good idea to allow a trusted loved one, family friend, or even an attorney read over your consent form to make sure there is nothing illegal or unsafe in it. Someone else may spot a problem quicker, as by now you have probably read so much information that you are exhausted by it! The procedures and risks explained to you by your plastic surgeon should match what you are signing. Read everything in the form, including any and all fine print. If there are any questions or concerns on your patient consent form, make sure to address them with your plastic surgeon. Only when you are fully comfortable with what is spelled out on paper, can you sign your consent with peace of mind and get started on your plastic surgery.
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