Top Ten Qualities to look for in a Plastic Surgeon*
Have confidence when choosing your plastic surgeon. Here are the top ten qualities your aesthetic plastic surgeon should have:
- Board Certification
- ASPS Membership
- Facility Accreditation
- Hospital Privileges
- Reliable References
- Follow-up Care
- Reasonable Cost
A doctor’s board-certification is the best indicator of his or her training in a particular medical or surgical specialty. In the USA, look for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only Board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify doctors in the specialty of plastic surgery.
ASPS membership ensures that in addition to certification by the ABPS, a doctor also has significant experience in plastic surgery. ASPS membership is by invitation only. To ensure that your doctor is a member of ASAPS, search for them at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.
Experienced aesthetic plastic surgeons generally perform a wide range of cosmetic surgeries on a regular basis. Patients should ask about the surgeon’s experience with the particular procedure being considered. If considering a “new” technique or technology, patients should inquire whether results that substantiate safety and effectiveness have been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Breast experts have a lot of experience performing all types of breast surgery and understand the subtle intricacies of breast enhancement. For more information on determining if someone is a breast expert, see Dr. Zannis blog article on the topic.
Cosmetic surgery can safely be performed in a hospital, a surgicenter or an office-based surgical facility. Current published data show that accredited office-based facilities have a safety record comparable to that of hospital ambulatory surgery settings. However, the majority of office-based surgical facilities are not accredited. Another advantage of selecting an ASPS member is that all ASPS surgeons operate in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified facilities. The Zannis Center is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities.
Before granting operating privileges, hospital review committees evaluate a surgeon’s training and competency for specific procedures. Wherever the surgery will be performed, be sure that the surgeon has operating privileges in an accredited hospital for the same procedure being considered. Dr. Zannis has operating privileges at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, NC.
Asking your primary care doctor for recommendations is a good place to start. Friends and previous patients may offer suggestions and give valuable insights, but the surgeon’s board-certification should always be verified independently by contacting the American Board of Plastic Surgery (www.abplsurg.org).
The consultation is an important opportunity for questions to be asked and answered. It should include a candid discussion of risks as well as benefits of the surgery. A thorough consultation also involves a review of medical history including any existing medical conditions. All these factors help the surgeon to custom-tailor the operation to best meet the needs of each patient.
Even the most experienced surgeon is not the “right” surgeon for every patient. Any successful relationship depends on good communication. Patient satisfaction is enhanced when surgeon and patient candidly discuss goals, agree on realistic expectations, and plan the course of the surgical journey together.
Good surgical care does not end with the surgery. For most surgeries, plastic surgeons want to see the results and monitor your progress. You should inquire about follow-up visits and about the doctor’s policies should surgical revisions be necessary.
National averages for surgeons’ fees can be found here. Keep in mind that costs may vary considerably depending on geographic region, surgeon experience and individual patient factors. Not all patients can be treated with the same technique, and the complexity and length of surgery affect cost. Patients should note that cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance.
*Most of these recommendations come from ASAPS Smart Beauty Guide