With the internet at your fingertips, you may decide the most efficient way to find a doctor, including a plastic surgeon, is online. While that’s a great starting place, you have lots more to consider than who has the best website. First, realize that not every surgeon who does breast augmentation, for example, has the same training—or even training in plastic surgery.
When considering plastic surgery, I recommend you do your homework to find an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who not only makes you feel comfortable and confident, but is forthcoming, honest and transparent in their abilities.
Let’s start with the basics. What are the most important things to consider when choosing a plastic surgeon?
When you’re considering a plastic surgeon, looking for these three ingredients will help you make a good decision:
- Board Certification in Plastic Surgery (We’ll explain exactly what this means later….)
- Proven Experience
- Beautiful Results
What does board certification in plastic surgery mean, and why is it so important?
Plastic surgery training takes a minimum of about 15 years of post-high school education, including specific training in reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery under direct supervision. This rigorous training includes a strong foundation in general surgery, which helps your board-certified plastic surgeon keep you safe. To become board certified in plastic surgery, a surgeon must meet demanding requirements and pass a written and oral examination that critically evaluates their knowledge, ethics, and safe and effective approach to multiple reconstructive and cosmetic challenges. Board certification demonstrates a high level of training and education required for safely achieving optimal results and patient satisfaction.
You may be wondering, what is the difference between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons?
Not all surgeons who practice cosmetic surgery have gone through medical school and plastic surgery residency. Surgeons who have not completed a plastic surgery residency are not qualified for certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Cosmetic surgery can be performed by doctors in a variety of medical fields, some of whom are not board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and may not be trained in plastic surgery.
You may come across someone who claims to be board certified in cosmetic surgery, but the medical community doesn’t recognize that as a specialty. The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes plastic surgery, but not cosmetic surgery.
That’s why it’s important to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure you are with a surgeon who appreciates and optimizes safety and is competent and qualified in the plastic surgery field.
Is Board Certification enough? Here are other things you should look for when finding a plastic surgeon:
Once you have decided to have a procedure, it’s time to choose your plastic surgeon. You now know the importance of board certification, but how do you take your search one step further? Here are a few important factors to consider:
- Busy and productive surgeons with lots of their work online for you to see.
- High patient satisfaction
- Proven results that you think are beautiful
Please keep in mind that, this is not the time to seek the least expensive doctor.
A busy and productive plastic surgeon will have lots of before and after photos for you to see. If there aren’t a lot then be skeptical that maybe that surgeon is not doing a lot of surgery and you should ask yourself, why?
Websites that review doctors can be another place to look. While they aren’t the “end-all” to understanding a doctor’s reputation, they can be a good place to start. Another great source for reviews is the opinion of non-plastic surgeons such as your primary care physician or your OB/GYN. During their own examinations, they see our work and form their own opinions. They are also able to compare the work of different plastic surgeons. Finally, if a friend or family member has great things to say about their plastic surgeon, this referral can be incredibly helpful. However, depending on your unique situation, body type or expectations, your friend’s plastic surgeon may NOT be the right plastic surgeon for you. For instance, you may be more particular than your friend, so what pleases her, may not please you. So…. Keep reading, you’ll learn what I think should be a critical step in helping you decide which plastic surgeon is best for you.
Here it is!! Board certification and positive reviews are not enough…I can’t emphasize enough the importance of examining each surgeon’s outcomes—the results you and their patients see. Look at before and after photos to help you understand what kind of results you can expect. There shouldn’t just be one or two photos but rather dozens—even hundreds—of photos to review. The volume of photos demonstrates that the surgeon has extensive experience successfully performing a particular type of surgery. The actual visual outcomes seen in this portfolio demonstrates the surgeon’s eye for beauty. Does it align with yours? If not, keep looking.
In the end, a surgeon’s results are more important than cost. If you aren’t pleased with your results after plastic surgery, the cost of an additional surgery to fix the original surgery can be two to three times more costly than the first.
When you take your time to find the right fit with a plastic surgeon, you’re going to be more satisfied in the long run.
What sets you apart from other plastic surgeons?
While my board-certified, plastic surgery colleagues and I have all gone through similar rigorous training programs, we each offer something unique in how we see and how we execute surgical transformation.
After plastic surgery residency, we all have the option to do additional training, if we so choose. I chose to do a Fellowship at Washington University in Saint Louis to focus on neonatal, cleft lip, craniofacial, and adolescent plastic surgery. I felt this would give me the ultimate appreciation for the delicacy of human tissues. In fact, this experience further expanded my comfort level and my abilities, opening up doors that would never have opened. From the correction of a newborn’s skull, eye socket, or jaw, to the repair of a deformed lip, to the creation of a body part that never developed, I became even more empowered to think outside the box.
I look at every patient as an individual. I hyper-focus all my energy and effort into what I see and into envisioning what can be. I believe through my experiences I have been able to elevate my surgical skills up to par with my very critical and precise expectation for beauty. I guess maybe, “I see what others don’t see.” I am willing to go the extra step to get the results I get. I want nothing more than for you to feel good about your decision to have plastic surgery.
What should I expect if I come to you for plastic surgery?
My patients have told me they appreciate how I spend time with them, how I listen, and how I make them feel. My patients have my undivided attention and they know I truly want what is best for them. I’m passionate about what I do—I think it shows. Integrity and compassion are hallmarks of my entire team and we always put patients first.
At your initial consultation, I will listen to and look at you. I will ask lots of pertinent questions to better know you, your lifestyle, and your expectations. Based on our discussion, I will outline and carefully explain options that will be beautiful for you. You will understand in detail what you can expect in terms of downtime, anticipated results, and recovery. As a team, we pride ourselves on assisting our patients with all the little things surrounding surgery. You’ll understand how to prepare for surgery and what to expect after surgery so that you’ll know how and when to schedule your procedure.
I’m humbled by the gratitude so many patients feel after their procedures and how it positively impacts their lives. I want you to experience this, too, and will take every step to make sure you are pleased with your results.
Let’s start a conversation
I would be happy to meet with you to discuss your hopes and goals. Call us today at 636.812.4300 or fill out the form below to learn how you can look and feel your best. I look forward to meeting you!