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Cosmetic Surgery Network

Choosing a qualified and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon is not easy, considering the fact there are many licensed medical doctors who perform plastic surgery procedures, yet are not specifically trained and certified in the field of plastic surgery. Only surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) are specifically trained to perform plastic surgery procedures. The ABPS is the only board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), to certify medical doctors in the specialty of plastic surgery of the face and body.

In order to become board-certified in plastic surgery, a medical doctor must have:

  • Graduated from an accredited medical school
  • Completed a three year residency in general surgery*
  • Completed a two year residency in plastic surgery*
  • Completed comprehensive written and oral board examinations
  • Hold a valid medical license in the state actively practicing

* Residency programs have to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The type of training a surgeon received, like that of a board-certified plastic surgeon, is a good indication of his or her ability to provide you with experienced and safe cosmetic surgery. It is important to understand however, that no credential, such as board-certification is an absolute guarantee of individual results. With this in mind it is sensible to choose a surgeon who has received extensive plastic surgery training and has experience with cosmetic surgery procedures.

Besides a surgeon's qualifications, such as board-certification, you should also evaluate:

  • The Surgeon's Experience
  • The Initial Consultation
  • Your Instincts

Cosmetic Surgery Network

The level of experience the surgeon has accounts a great deal for the safe and successful outcome of the surgical procedure. Generally speaking the more experienced a surgeon, the safer you should feel in his or her hands. It is important to feel absolutely confident about the surgeon's abilities to perform your cosmetic surgery procedure.

Typically a surgeon with extensive medical and surgical experience knows how to deal with unexpected events during a surgery, in addition is able to minimize the possible complications you may have during and after a particular procedure. This knowledge can mean a shorter and smoother recovery period after your procedure. In addition the surgeon should be up to date with newer and more advanced surgical techniques and procedures. Be sure to ask the surgeon about his or her background and surgical experience.

Cosmetic Surgery Network

This initial meeting tends to be a relaxed, yet systematic discussion about the particular procedure you are considering. Generally, the surgeon will begin by reviewing and evaluating your desired goals. He or she will then review your medical history and lifestyle, conduct a physical examination and assess whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. The aim will be to educate and inform you about the proposed procedure and to "walk" you through the whole procedure. He or she will then explain what the procedure involves, discuss the types of anesthesia, and go over the risks and benefits involved as well as the recovery time and how you will feel at each stage of the procedure. Finally the surgeon will discuss the costs involved for the total procedure and give you some reading materials. During the initial consultation the surgeon should:

Discuss your motivations and expectations of the procedure
Offer alternatives, if appropriate, without pressuring you to consider unnecessary procedures
Be open to questions about his educational background, professional qualifications, experience, and costs
Answer all your questions thoroughly and compassionately
Discuss all the risks and benefits involved

After the consultation a mutual understanding hopefully will have developed, allowing you to feel comfortable with the surgeon.

Cosmetic Surgery Network

Trust your personal feelings about the surgeon, his staff and the facility. If you do not feel completely comfortable, walk away and meet with another qualified surgeon. The decision is always yours. The best thing you can do you for yourself is to get educated about your options by learning all the details of the procedure, including all the risks, benefits, alternatives and estimated costs. The more informed you are, the more comfortable you feel making this personal choice.

Cosmetic Surgery Network

Once you have decided to consult with a plastic surgeon, be sure to make the best out of your consultation by asking the right questions to be able to make an educated decision. When meeting with your surgeon, be sure to consider asking some of the following questions:

  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • How many of these procedures have you performed?
  • Where and how will you perform my surgery?
  • Is the surgical facility accredited by a national or state-recognized accrediting organization?
  • What are some of the risks involved with my procedure?
  • How long is the expected recovery time for my procedure and what are some special precautions I need to take?
  • How much does the total procedure cost? Is financing available?
  • Do I need to take time off from work, if so how long?
  • What results can I expect?
  • Do you have before and after photos of this procedure?
  • What complications are associated with this type of procedure?
  • Do you have clinical privileges, if so where?
  • What kind of anesthesia will be used?
  • Who will administer the anesthesia?
  • What kind of products will be used during my procedure?

The decision to have cosmetic surgery can often be difficult. Finding a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon can be even harder. After all the most important aspect of a successful procedure is to choose the right surgeon to trust your face and body too.

Let us help you find an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, call Toll Free (800) 449-1884, or fill out our Online Referral Form.


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