Plastic surgery has come a long way in the decades since it first became popular. Not only have plastic surgery techniques advanced in sophistication and safety, but both men and women have also become much more comfortable with the idea of enhancing their appearance via plastic surgery.
In fact, plastic surgery procedures like breast augmentation and liposuction are consistently rated as the most popular surgeries worldwide. In 2018 alone, plastic surgeons in the United States saw over 250,000 patients for each procedure.
If you’ve decided to take the plunge, you’ve probably spent a lot of time wondering how to find a good plastic surgeon. Even if you perform an internet search for phrases like “find the best plastic surgeon in Seattle” or “the best plastic surgeons near me,” there are likely dozens of options for you.
Finding the right plastic surgeon for you
The truth of the matter is that there is no “one size fits all” practice or surgeon. Even if you’re getting the exact same breast implants as your neighbor, you may find that her surgeon may not feel like the right fit for you, and that’s okay. Plastic surgery can be a fantastic and positive experience, and potentially life-changing, so remember not to rush the process. It’s also a very individualized experience, so what makes sense for your neighbor may not make sense for you. Experienced surgeons understand this and will not pressure you into making a decision or rush you into a procedure before you’re ready.
There are several criteria that you can use to judge whether or not a particular surgeon is right for you and your procedure. Finding a qualified plastic surgeon can be easier when you look for these minimum criteria:
Look for board certification in plastic surgery
Any plastic surgeon who ends up on your short list should be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). In fact, before you go through the process of scheduling a consultation, you’ll want to check to see if the surgeon in question has the proper credentials.
Medical credentials can often be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the jargon, so it’s helpful to know what to look for. In your search, look for board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This means he or she has undergone a rigorous board certification process by the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Additionally, while you’re at it, check to see if the provider you’re considering is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. While not a certifying organization, ASPS is well-respected, and its members must also maintain a rigorous set of training and patient safety standards to qualify for membership.
These credentials are important markers that signal you can trust the surgeon in question to be highly trained and qualified to perform your procedure. This is especially crucial in light of the fact that many untrained doctors are calling themselves “cosmetic surgeons” these days.
Study the surgeon’s style and approach
In addition to training and medical knowledge, cosmetic plastic surgery requires some artistry as well. Because every woman’s body is unique, the “best” plastic surgeon for a breast augmentation for example is much more likely to be one whose style of work is in line with your aesthetic goals and who can tailor a treatment to your unique situation to meet those goals. This is one reason why you can’t just search a phrase like “the best plastic surgeons near me” on the internet and choose the top result.
Good plastic surgery 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 work and look for a variety of excellent results.
During consultations, don’t hesitate to ask for additional pictures, case studies or patient testimonials. Patient reviews on patient forums can also provide honest feedback from patients regarding their experiences with potential surgeon candidates.
Vet the facility
An accredited and accommodating facility is another important thing to look for when choosing a plastic surgeon.
Because cosmetic plastic surgeries can generally 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.
In order to find out if a facility is accredited by a credible organization, you should look for at least one of the following certifications:
- State licensure
- Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
- American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAASF)
- Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
- Title XVIII Medicare participation
Find someone you trust
Much like finding the right family doctor or personal trainer, it may take a few tries before you meet a surgeon you feel comfortable enough with to trust. Having a personal rapport and ease of communication with your surgeon and surgical staff can mean the difference between a good plastic surgery experience and a great one.
When you find a surgeon that you connect with, you’ll be able to feel more confident about your surgery and you’ll be able to have open honest and important discussions about aesthetic goals, lifestyle, overall health and any questions or concerns that you might have.
The right provider will also outline a realistic timeline for recovery based on your medical history and help you through the recovery process.
Look for honesty
Finally, it’s not a plastic surgeon’s job to tell you what you want to hear. 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 qualified plastic surgeon for your procedure
Understanding how to find a good plastic surgeon is the first step towards achieving your aesthetic goals. Choosing a safe, experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon that you connect with can help you on your journey towards a happier, more confident you.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.