Opting for plastic surgery is a highly personal decision. You may have already guessed that not all plastic surgeons are the same. And if you live in a suburban locale or a city, there are probably quite a few choices of doctors. Which one should you choose?
When it comes to choosing a plastic surgeon, you have more control than you may think. It all starts with getting information about the doctor and the practice.
If that sounds daunting, don’t worry: it all comes down to a few simple questions. (Big hint: if the plastic surgeon is unwilling to answer any of them, move on.)
Here are eleven of the most important questions to ask when you’re choosing a plastic surgeon.
Table of Contents
1. Are You Board-Certified?
Not every plastic surgeon is board-certified. But a reputable doctor will be. Usually, this will mean certification with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
Board-certified surgeons will usually mention their certification status on their websites. Check your plastic surgeon’s About Me page to find this information. Or check the Board itself to see whether your plastic surgeon is listed there.
2. What Is Your Education Background?
As with the question above, your plastic surgeon should be willing to share his or her background with you, including schools and residency.
Check the doctor’s website or ask personally for this information.
3. Do You Perform a Variety of Plastic Surgery Techniques?
Some plastic surgeons are specialists. If you would like a specialist, look for a doctor who states that they specialize in your area.
However, most patients want a doctor who is familiar with more than one procedure or bodily area. A plastic surgeon who corrects various parts of the body to a more desired shape or size has experience with the entire anatomy.
Whichever type of doctor you prefer, this is an excellent question to ask. A reputable plastic surgeon will be open about all of the procedures they offer.
4. How Long Have You Been in Practice?
Just as you would with any doctor, you are probably seeking a plastic surgeon with experience.
Ask the plastic surgeon how many years they have been in practice. Most plastic surgery patients prefer a minimum of 10 years, but this is up to you and your preferences.
5. How Many Times Have You Done This Procedure?
In addition to their total years in practice, your chosen plastic surgery office should be very familiar with the procedure you’re having done.
You can ask how many times they have performed your desired type of plastic surgery, or how many years they have used the technique you’re seeking. Both questions will give you an idea of how familiar the plastic surgeon is with your desired technique.
6. May I See Before and After Pictures?
Different plastic surgeons have different techniques and styles. Ask to see before and after pictures of the procedure you’re seeking. You’ll get a better idea of your outcome should you choose that particular doctor.
7. What Do Your Former Patients Have to Say About You?
Ask for references or testimonials. What patients say about a doctor tells you much about what you can expect.
Look for a compassionate, talented plastic surgeon who really listens to his or her patients, and does work that the patients love.
8. Are You Up to Date on Current Procedures?
This is an important question to ask. Reputable plastic surgeons stay knowledgeable on the latest techniques.
Ask the doctor what procedures they offer, and what’s great about the method. They should be knowledgeable on the best, safest way to perform a variety of plastic surgery operations.
9. What Are the Risks Associated With My Procedure?
Any surgery carries certain risks. If your plastic surgeon is unwilling to mention the risks or seems to wave them off with the assurance that you’ll be “just fine,” you may want to keep looking. Responsible doctors advise their patients on the pros and cons of their procedures.
10. May I Meet With the Staff?
Doctors are typically assisted during plastic surgery. And you will be dealing with the staff for your appointments.
Ask to meet the staff and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
11. Am I Free to Ask More Questions?
It’s a good idea to make sure your doctor will take enough time with you to make you feel comfortable. If you know you’re free to ask questions as they come up, you’ll have a better rapport with the doctor.
Plastic surgeons who tell you to look things up, or who seem as if they’re hesitant or unwilling to answer specific questions, may not be your most trustworthy choice.
Bring Your Questions to Your Consultation
Since all plastic surgeries are different – and since you’re unique – you probably have several specific questions. Write them all down and take them along to your consultation.
The most important thing to know is that your plastic surgeon will be willing to take the time to answer your concerns. So be sure to select a doctor who is compassionate and willing to listen. You’ll feel more comfortable once you know you and your plastic surgeon are a good match.