- The most important: Make sure the American Board of Plastic Surgery certifies your plastic surgeon.
You can easily go to the board’s website at www.abplsurg.org. Most plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, so going to their website is another good option: www.plasticsurgery.org. Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery must undergo at least 3 years of general surgery training, 2 years of plastic surgery training, pass comprehensive written and oral examinations, and adhere to a strict code of medical ethics. No other certifying board requires their surgeons to meet standards as stringent as these. That’s why everyone says it is important to choose a “board-certified plastic surgeon.”
- A “cosmetic surgeon” is different from a “plastic surgeon.”
Board certified cosmetic surgeons could be dermatologists, ENT’s, or even Ob-Gyn’s. You wouldn’t want a plastic surgeon to remove your tonsils, so would you want your ENT to perform your breast augmentation?
- What about other physicians?
Unfortunately, any physician can call himself or herself a plastic surgeon or even “board-certified,” but the question should always be “board-certified” by whom? Being board-certified by the Board of Internal Medicine does not make someone qualified to perform cosmetic procedures. Be wary of those who are certified by any board except the American Board of Plastic Surgery, as designation by other boards can be meaningless when considering plastic surgery.
- Avoid bargain-basement cosmetic surgery centers.
It’s similar to going to a cosmetology school for a haircut, however in this case the results don’t grow out after a few weeks, but last you the rest of your life. In plastic surgery, as in life, you usually get what you pay for.
- Closely examine the surgeon’s before and after photos. Be wary if your surgeon does not have his or her own photos to show you.
- Ask around.
Above all, make sure you get a good feeling from your plastic surgeon. If you don’t feel comfortable with the first surgeon you meet, find another. Plastic surgery is a big deal, so take your time in finding whomever is the best surgeon for you.