Experience, Communication, and Certifications
O nce you consider getting plastic surgery, it is time to think about how to find the best plastic surgery. Most people just worry about the surgical procedure, the potential results, and the risks. But, it is also important to think about how to find the right plastic surgeon for you. In fact, it is more important than thinking about the risks and results.
Some people think that choosing a plastic surgeon is easy. They think that searching for “The best plastic surgeon near me” or “The top plastic surgeons in my area” is enough. However, what to look for when choosing a plastic surgeon is much deeper than a simple online search.
Other people think that they can depend on referrals. Referrals are highly recommended. However, every procedure is unique. Not every plastic surgeon is experienced in all cosmetic and plastic procedures. Therefore, it is not recommended to depend on referrals only.
You have a lot at stake here. Think about your safety and appearance after the procedure. Besides, most plastic and cosmetic surgeries are expensive. So, it is your right to check several surgeons before choosing the best plastic surgeon for you. (1)
In this article, we will discuss how to find the right plastic surgeon for you.
Figure 1 – Examples of ‘red light’ noses. Source: Fanous, N., Brousseau, V. J., Karsan, N., & Fanous, A. (2008).
Your primary healthcare provider, other physicians, family members, and friends can help you to find the best plastic surgeon for you.
After creating a referral list of the best plastic surgeons, take your time and do extensive research about each one of them. Many websites can help you with this process. Just type “Plastic surgeon near me” on your search engine and a list of all the plastic surgeons near you will appear.
Now, you can narrow down your referral list by finding out whether a plastic surgery consultation is available or not. Cosmetic surgery consultation will show you many points that we will discuss later.
This is the first step of how to choose a good plastic surgeon for you.
Look for Board Certification in Plastic Surgery
All the plastic surgeons on your list must be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) since many unqualified doctors call themselves “cosmetic surgeons” nowadays. The medical beauty industry includes many unqualified doctors.
To be board-certified, the surgeon has to complete a three-year cosmetic surgery residency and pass a written exam and an oral exam to make sure that he/she has the right knowledge and experience to perform cosmetic surgeries.
The ABPS aims to produce ethical, experienced, and knowledgeable plastic surgeons.
Before going to your plastic surgery consultation, it is crucial to make sure of the surgeon’s credentials.
In addition to the ABPS, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is another well-respected organization. It is not a certifying organization, yet, it ensures that its members have the proper training and follow the safety standards that qualify them to be members of this fine organization.
If the surgeon is a member of the ABPS and ASPS, it means that he/she is qualified to perform your plastic surgery procedure.
Also, being a board-certified doctor means that the surgeon does not have a history of disciplinary actions or malpractice claims.
This is one of the most important steps towards how to pick a good plastic surgeon. (2)
Experience Is Crucial
Experience is essential when you are looking for the best cosmetic surgeon for you. The surgeon must be experienced in the condition or procedure you are considering. The more experienced your surgeon is, the better the results will be. Experience also means fewer surgical complications since the surgeon can identify them easily and prevent them before occurring.
During your cosmetic surgery consultation, ask the surgeon if he/she performed the same procedure you are considering before or not and how many patients he/she has treated with the same condition. Also, ask about the succession and complication rates and how he/she managed them. (3)
Notice that there are differences between plastic and cosmetic surgeries. Every cosmetic surgery is plastic but the opposite is not true.
Experience is vital in choosing the right cosmetic surgeon for you.
Figure 2 – Views of patient (A, B) preoperatively and (C, D) 1 year after short incision rhytidectomy, blepharoplasty, and midface fat augmentation.
One of the points that most people ignore while searching for the best cosmetic surgeon is the surgeon’s gender. It is crucial to be as comfortable as possible with your surgeon since you will discuss personal information. Besides, it is important to put into your consideration your own gender. Females undergo cosmetic surgeries more than males. Also, the requirements of plastic surgery may differ from one gender to another.
Therefore, you should ask the plastic surgeon about his/her experience, not only associated with your condition but also with your gender.
Gender really matters and can affect your choice of the best cosmetic surgeon for you!
Figure 3 – Pre- and post-operative facelift using the buccal cerclage. Top: Pre-operative photographs of a patient who underwent facelift using the Buccal cerclage technique. Bottom: 4 year post-operative photographs of the same patient.
Evaluate the Interview and Communication
At your cosmetic surgery consultation, be prepared with all the questions you have. For example, you must ask about:
- The hospital where the procedure will be performed.
- The follow-up care process.
- Insurance coverage and types of accepted insurances.
- Background and education history of the surgeon.
- The expected results.
- The possible side effects and complications.
You must be comfortable while asking the questions. Also, you should evaluate the way your surgeon responds and answers your questions. To evaluate the surgeon properly, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does he/she welcome the questions?
- Are the answers clear and explained simply for you?
- Does he/she understand your personal needs completely?
- Will the options be personalized for your own needs and expected results?
- Are the before and after pictures are for actual patients?
- Can you verify that the doctor’s patients are real?
The right cosmetic surgeon for you will show you that he/she is interested in knowing you better and meeting your personal needs and treatment preferences.
Of course, during the interview process, your surgeon will ask you many questions as well. Be prepared to answer questions about:
- Your entire medical history such as any medications, chronic conditions, or previous operations.
- Expected results.
The top plastic surgeon will answer all your questions! (4)
Research the Quality of the Hospital
The hospital where your surgeon works will be your hospital soon. Therefore, it is crucial to put the quality of the hospital where your potential surgeon treats patients into your consideration.
The higher the quality of the hospital is, the fewer the complications and possible side effects will be.
It is also crucial to consider the location of the hospital. You will need to go to the hospital several times within a short period for tests, consultations, and of course, the procedure.
The hospital’s location and quality should affect how to pick the right plastic surgeon for you!
Check Patient Reviews
Before undergoing plastic surgery, you must have 100% confidence in your decision.
Checking other patients’ reviews and what they say about the potential surgeon will give you insight into:
- How the surgeon practices medicine
- The surgeon’s medical experience, especially in your condition
- How appointments work
- Wait times
- Office environment
- Hospital quality
- Office and hospital staff level of friendliness
- The level of trust patients put into the surgeon
- The surgeon’s communication style
By checking the previous patients’ reviews, you will collect a lot of information, which you can use to determine whether this is the best cosmetic surgeon for you or not.
The Bottom Line
The best plastic surgeon in the world may not be suitable for you. Nowadays, we live in a world filled with opinions from numerous sources such as the internet and the media in addition to your family, friends, other physicians, and colleagues. It can be overwhelming to determine where you should begin your search on something crucial as how to pick the best plastic surgeon.
All these sources can be used in your search for the best cosmetic surgeon. It is not a simple process. Therefore, you cannot just type “Plastic surgeon near me” and contact the first surgeon who appears. Even if the first surgeon seems decent and trustful enough, take your time and do more research.
Qoves can help you to determine if you need plastic surgery or not. Our virtual plastic surgery consultation via our assessment tools and facial analysis reports is a reliable method to figure out your cosmetic needs. (5)
This is a decent beginning. After all, this surgeon will change your appearance for the rest of your life.
Krauss, E. M., Bezuhly, M., & Williams, J. G. (2015). Selecting the best and brightest: A comparison of residency match processes in the United States and Canada. Plastic surgery (Oakville, Ont.), 23(4), 225–230. https://doi.org/10.4172/plastic-surgery.1000943
Waltzman, J. T., Scholz, T., & Evans, G. R. (2011). What patients look for when choosing a plastic surgeon: an assessment of patient preference by conjoint analysis. Annals of plastic surgery, 66(6), 643–647. https://doi.org/10.1097/SAP.0b013e3181e19eeb
Parmeshwar N, Reid CM, Park AJ, Brandel MG, Dobke MK, Gosman AA. Evaluation of Information Sources in Plastic Surgery Decision-making. Cureus. 2018;10(6):e2773. Published 2018 Jun 9. doi:10.7759/cureus.2773
Kidd T, Palaniappan S, Kidd D, Waterston S. Attitudes, Influences and Perceptions towards Plastic Surgery amongst Medical Students. JPRAS Open. 2021;29:167-177. Published 2021 May 23. doi:10.1016/j.jpra.2021.04.009
McInnes CW, Courtemanche DJ, Verchere CG, Bush KL, Arneja JS. Reconstructive or cosmetic plastic surgery? Factors influencing the type of practice established by Canadian plastic surgeons. Can J Plast Surg. 2012;20(3):163-168. doi:10.1177/229255031202000312