Finally taking the next step after all your internet research, you schedule your appointment with a Plastic Surgeon and nervously await the day of your office visit to arrive. How about a few tips and some “do’s and don’ts” advice before you even walk through door? Here are five things to consider, designed to help you to get the most out of that consultation.
Do ask to see typical before and after photos. Some will be available online, but there should be a lot more available at the office. A plastic surgeon with a good amount of experience (which is what you want!) should have lots of photos for you to look at or something is wrong. Look for a “before” photo that seems fairly close to your situation. Would you be happy to have the same “after” result that the patient depicted did? What are their scars like?
Don’t make a decision solely on the basis of price – even for seemingly minor office procedures. Qualified surgeons in a given geographic area will usually have prices in a very similar range and will generally be very fair in making sure that their charges reasonably reflect the amount of work and after-care involved for your particular circumstances. Bargain prices are not usually a good sign – you might want to check out those credentials one more time. Minor office procedures still require using medications, wrinkle fillers, Botox®, and sterile supplies that must be ordered from reliable sources, maintained and stored properly, etc. You want an office that sets its standards high across the board for all these sorts of issues, whether it involves the operating room or the office.
Do get a second or even third opinion consultation. Always. Different doctors have different styles, different personalities and sometimes different approaches to the same problems. A doctor with a great reputation but with whom you don’t “mesh” is not a good choice for you. The office staff, surroundings, and the office “vibe” are also all important factors and feelings you should definitely take into account. Do you feel comfortable, welcome, and confident that this is “the place”? Medically speaking, are you hearing inconsistencies in what direction to go? Is it all making sense or are you even more confused? Take your time. Don’t rush. Often a second or third consult with the doctor/office you are leaning towards is a great way to ease anxiety and feel good about your decision.
Do make sure that the plastic surgeon you’ve chosen is board certified in plastic surgery by the “American Board of Plastic Surgery” (ABPS). Many physicians will advertise and promote themselves as a board certified specialist but won’t go out of their way to mention that their specialty is actually Obstetrics-Gynecology or Emergency Medicine. Is this the expert you want? The ABS is the most respected, definitive and legitimate certifying body for the specialty of plastic surgery in the world. “Sound-alike” designations such as “certified cosmetic surgeon” are not the same. Having confidence in the credentials of the doctor you’ve chosen is a very basic starting point. To learn more about board certification and to check on the certification status of any doctor, the American Board of Medical Specialties provides a great resource site: http://www.certificationmatters.org
Don’t enlist the services of any physician who does not have operating room or admitting privileges at a local accredited hospital as a board certified plastic surgeon. A hospital or surgi-center won’t grant privileges in plastic surgery to a physician who does not meet their credentialing standards. If such a physician is not deemed qualified to be on their staff, is this who you want taking care of you? Ask the office where the doctor has admitting privileges and check on the hospital website yourself. Also check to see that the privileges are as a plastic surgeon.
In part two of this article, you’ll find five more tips to help you get the most out of your cosmetic procedure experience.
Dr. Lyle Back is originally from New York City, receiving his medical and surgical training at Rutgers Medical School, Cooper Hospital – University Medical Center, and Ohio State. He is Board Certified in General Surgery (ABS) and Plastic Surgery (ABPS). He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), and a longstanding member of the premier American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). He served as a Professor of Plastic Surgery at Temple University and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and performed reconstructive surgery with “Operation Smile” in Vietnam. He specializes in the full range of the most modern and state of the art cosmetic surgery procedures for the body and non-surgical cosmetic enhancement techniques available today.