BENEFITS & RISKS | COSMETIC SURGERY PROCEDURES | AM I A CANDIDATE FOR COSMETIC SURGERY? | FINANCING COSMETIC SURGERY
Deciding to get cosmetic surgery can be an enormous, life-changing decision. However, selecting the right plastic surgeon for your needs is an equally stressful choice to make. Below are some tips and items to consider when choosing a cosmetic surgeon.
Cast a Wide Net
Gather all of the contact information you can about each of the cosmetic surgeons in your area, and don’t be afraid to look beyond the city in which you live. It might take an extra tank of gas, or even a plane ticket to get the best cosmetic surgeon available in your price range. At the very least, cast your net within a two hundred mile radius of your home. Be sure to use more than one source for gathering contact information on prospective plastic surgeons. By combining the phone book, Internet search engines and online plastic surgery directories, your chances are much greater of finding the best plastic surgeon for your needs.
Research, Research, Research, and Network
In addition to asking friends and family who have had experience with a plastic surgeon, ask if they know of anyone else who has been to one. It may have been for a non-cosmetic procedure, such as reconstructive surgery after a car accident. Generally, if the plastic surgeon provided fantastic results in this sort of operation, they can be expected to bring those same skills to a cosmetic surgery procedure. Call the hospitals and get recommendations from the staff, as well as from referral lines, plastic surgery directories, etcetera.
Narrow Down Your List
Now you can probably cut out any of the plastic surgeons who were not suggested, or that you were warned about in your researching phase.
Now that you have all of the best options in your area, it is time to check credentials. Are they certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? What school/s did they attend? Where did they perform their residency training? Most of this information can be obtained from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Form Your Own Opinion
After narrowing your list to certified and well-trained surgeons, visit their websites to get a general feel of their practice, and to see before and after pictures if available. Once you have a good idea of how the practice chooses to represent itself on the Internet, call the plastic surgery office and speak to the Patient Coordinator. Ask any questions you may have about the cosmetic surgery procedure, and request before and after photos if you have not already found them on the website. Do you get a good feeling from talking to this person? Do you feel comfortable? Were all of your questions resolved, or did they try to avoid answering them? If everything went well, ask about coming in for a FREE initial consultation. Not all cosmetic surgery offices will offer these complimentary initial consultations, but if you ask they may make an exception.
The Free Initial Consultation
You should treat this meeting like further research. Do not make a commitment with any one doctor until you have consulted with each on your final list of possibilities. Bring a list of questions to ask, and rate their answers on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being least knowledgeable and helpful, and 5 being most knowledgeable and helpful. Ask if they have any before and after photos that you have not seen yet. Are they any better or worse than the ones you have already looked at? Is the office clean? Is the staff polite and helpful? Can you smell booze on the doctor’s breath? Well, we hope not! But the point is to keep your senses open to your surroundings and form an overall opinion of the practice before leaving. If you are visiting more than a few plastic surgeons for your initial consultation, write down your thoughts immediately after leaving each practice so as not to forget or confuse them with your other options.
Rest, Reflect and Decide
Take a few days off and try not to think about your plastic surgery. Let the information sink in. After the third or fourth day, look over your notes and reflect on your experiences with each plastic surgeon. By then you should be happy and confident with your decision, and able to select the absolute best plastic surgeon available to you.