The number of women and men having plastic surgery is on the rise and as a result, many unqualified physicians are jumping on the cosmetic bandwagon. It’s now more important than ever for patients to vet a prospective surgeon’s background to make sure they’re certified to perform the procedures they want to have. Understanding how to find a good plastic surgeon is the first step toward achieving your aesthetic goals.
Here at the Polyclinic Plastic Surgery And Aesthetic Center in Seattle, Washington, our experienced 6-surgeon team understands that plastic surgery can be life-changing. To help you select a qualified, skilled, vetted, plastic surgeon we suggest you follow the tips below:
Choose a qualified plastic surgeon for your procedure.
Once you find a few surgeons to consider be sure they are qualified to perform your desired procedure. Keep in mind that any doctor can call themselves a ‘cosmetic surgeon,’ which is not the same as a much more highly trained plastic surgeon.
You’ll want to ensure that your chosen candidates are well trained in your area of concern. The plastic surgeon you choose plastic should be certified, or eligible to be certified, by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). The ABPS’s membership prerequisites are strict and include training and board certification requirements, so all members are vetted to perform both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.
Be aware that the ABPS isn’t the only board out there, but it’s the one you should trust. There are many different types of surgeons and non-surgeons today who are doing cosmetic procedures, and many different boards that ‘certify’ training, so it’s easy for patients to be confused or misled. It’s up to you to do your homework and to make sure you understand how to properly vet your doctor.
Vet the facility.
Because many plastic surgeries can happen outside of the hospital, it’s especially important to ensure that the facility your procedure will take place in is held to the highest standards of safety, quality, and patient care. Look for a surgery center that has received national accredditation from the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, AAAASF, which is the gold standard in accreditation. AAAASF accredited facilities demonstrate a strong commitment to all aspects of patient safety, operating room sterility and quality control, emergency preparedness, and documentation of preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care for every case performed.
Talk to people you know who’ve had work done to get their recommendations.
Trusted friends or family members are often willing to give you a straightforward picture of the entire process which is really helpful in giving you an idea of what to expect.
It can also be helpful to reach out to those you know who may work in healthcare. Other healthcare professionals often know who the best surgeons are and are open to making honest recommendations.
Read reviews of surgeons in your area, but with a dose of healthy skepticism.
Google is often the first place patients go to research the surgeons and procedures they are interested in. While It can be helpful to read reviews to get a sense of previous patients’ experiences, reviews on Yelp, RealSelf.com, and the social media pages of patients can also be a source of misinformation. Keep in mind that anonymous reviews, especially negative ones, may be used by a patient to seek revenge instead of as a way of sharing knowledge and personal experience with other potential patients.
Also, be careful when viewing “before and after” photos as not all surgeons display their work honestly. Manipulating images to improve the appearance of ‘after’ pictures is an easy trick for an unscrupulous doctor.
Make sure your surgeon is affiliated with a hospital.
Whether or not the doctors you’re considering have hospital privileges is an important factor to consider. If a surgeon only does surgery at his or her office and doesn’t have hospital privileges to perform the surgery you are considering, consider that a red flag.
Come to each consultation prepared with great questions.
Knowledge is power! It’s important to prepare a thorough list of questions to ask your surgeon during your consultation. You’ll want to ensure you thoroughly understand what to expect from your surgery. Your surgeons should answer any and all questions related to the risks, recovery, and results.
Consultations are also a great time to ask to review photos of the doctor’s past work and to find out whether they’re experienced in the procedure you want to have done. This is the time to express your wishes and goals and get a feel for whether the surgeon understands and can deliver the results you want.
Get to know your surgeon’s aesthetic style and approach to surgery.
In addition to training and medical knowledge, plastic surgery requires a great degree of artistry as well. Because every person’s body is unique, the “best” plastic surgeon for you is one whose style of work is in line with your aesthetic goals. A great surgical outcome requires the provider to be able to customize his or her treatment to your situation and needs. Review the surgeon’s gallery of patient cases and before and after photos to get a sampling of his or her work and look for a variety of excellent results.
Consider the surgeon’s bedside manner and look for honesty.
While a surgeon’s skill and experience are important, finding a doctor that you connect with will make you feel more confident about your surgery. You’ll be able to have open honest and important discussions about your aesthetic goals, lifestyle, and overall health and ask any questions or concerns that you might have. You should feel a partnership between you and secure in the knowledge that if something unexpected arises, this surgeon will take care of you.
The best surgeons will give you honest, straightforward guidance on the best approach to your situation and the realistic results you can expect. Choose a surgeon who discusses realistic outcomes, including both pros and cons of the procedure, and clearly communicates what to expect in terms of your recovery.
Make sure the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.
You’ll want to feel welcomed by a knowledgeable staff that is quick to answer questions and that clearly focuses on providing compassionate, patient-centered care. To ensure you have a great surgical experience look for a team that is accommodating, helpful and friendly.
Trust your instincts.
The relationship you have with your plastic surgeon is a personal one. It takes the right kind of connection and fuse of personalities to create the right match. For this reason, taking your time is key. You are looking for someone who is not only skilled and experienced but also a doctor you can trust.
If you have a procedure in mind and you would like to consult with one of our 6 highly skilled surgical artists, we invite you to give us a call today! With more than 100 years of combined experience and a commitment to providing our patients with personalized and compassionate care, you can rest assured you will be well taken care of by our amazing team. 206.860.5582.