Notable celebrities like Tara Reid and Carmen Electra have publically stated that they regret undergoing plastic surgery because of the lackluster results. So how can you find the best plastic surgeon?
Like any important decision in life, choosing the right plastic surgeon should never be rushed. Finding the right plastic surgeon could mean the difference between quality results or the need for follow-up surgical procedures.
The tips in this article will fill you in on how to find the best cosmetic surgeon to perform your plastic surgery procedure.
Is Plastic Surgery Right for Me?
Before we explore how to find the right plastic surgeon, it is important to determine if cosmetic surgery is right for you. Going under the knife, even under the hands of a skilled surgeon, comes with potential risks that should be weighed carefully.
Make Sure the Decision Is Yours
Plastic surgery should never be performed to please someone else. Cosmetic procedures are personal decisions that should be made 100% by the person undergoing the procedure.
Explore Alternative Treatments
Any doctor from a reputable plastic surgery center will advise you on potential non-surgical alternatives to surgery. Nonsurgical procedures like injectables and laser skin resurfacing can deliver drastic results with minimal recovery time.
How to Find the Right Plastic Surgeon
Finding the right plastic surgeon requires diligent research before reaching out to a cosmetic surgeon. You’ll want to take more steps than simply Googling, “plastic surgeon near me.” Taking these simple steps can ensure that you find a reliable medical professional who can guide you through the cosmetic treatment process.
Rely on Trusted Referrals
If you have friends or family who has undergone a cosmetic procedure, ask them to refer you to that surgeon.
If your friend or relative did not have a good experience, cross that surgeon off your list. Even if the procedure was done correctly, a surgeon who was inattentive to the needs of a patient might not be a great fit.
Read Patient Reviews
You can learn a lot from a plastic surgeon’s website. The website for any reputable plastic surgery center should include easy access to patient reviews. Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker has just over 200 online reviews, and 193 give her five stars — the highest rating.
Even the most esteemed plastic surgeon may have a few less-than-perfect reviews. You are looking for a majority of reviews to be very high.
Reviews often include comments from patients. Take time to read through each comment because some may be related to the exact procedure that you are planning to undergo.
Read the Bio/About Page
Your prospective surgeon should have a page that describes the surgeon both personally and professionally. Professional factors to look for on this page include:
- How long the doctor has been in practice
- Where he or she went to medical school
- What types of post-medical school training the surgeon underwent
- Professional affiliations
- Awards or published articles
The doctor may describe why he or she went into medicine. Many doctors include personal information, such as personal hobbies they enjoy.
If you are a mother looking to address age-related cosmetic issues, you may relate to a doctor who has been through a similar life stage. Having a personal connection to your cosmetic surgeon is one of several factors that you should consider when looking for the best plastic surgeon.
Finally, look outside of the doctor’s website for biased past patient reviews and recommendations. One popular website for this is RealSelf.com. Healthgrades.com is another good source.
Questions to ask Your Plastic Surgeon
When it comes to choosing the best plastic surgeon, nothing beats an in-person meeting. Consultations allow your cosmetic surgeon to explain how your procedure will work.
The meetings are also a great opportunity to come with questions. Here are examples of questions you could ask.
1. Can I See Before and After Photos of Past Procedures?
An experienced plastic surgeon will have before and after photos to show you. Ask to see examples of past patients who have undergone the procedure you are looking into. If the surgeon does not have original photos to show you, consider that a red flag.
2. Where Will the Procedure Be Performed?
Some procedures are outpatient procedures, while others require an overnight stay at a hospital or surgical center. Experienced surgeons often have admitting privileges at area hospitals. If the doctor maintains a private surgical center, that is another positive sign.
Once you know where your surgery will take place, ask what kind of accreditation the center has. Examples of accreditation include:
- Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)
- American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF)
- Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO).
Accreditation means that the facility has a safe record of performing surgeries.
3. What Are the Risks Associated with This Procedure?
You are looking for two types of responses to this question. One, a trustworthy surgeon will not hide common risks and side effects of plastic surgery. Being open and frank about this topic is part of any medical professional’s job.
Two, your plastic surgeon should use this opportunity to discuss how those risks will be mitigated. Your doctor may discuss certain surgical techniques that will be used or post-surgical steps that could reduce the risk of blood clots, for example.
4. How Many Times Have Your Performed this Procedure?
This should be at the top of your list of questions. Years of experience is one way to measure the quality of a surgeon’s work, but that doesn’t mean any given doctor was actively performing surgeries throughout the year.
Surgery is a skill that requires experience and training. A reputable surgeon often performs hundreds of surgical procedures over their career.
5. What Type of Anesthesia Will Be Used During the Procedure?
If you are undergoing a surgical procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will provide you with local, regional, or IV sedation. Many surgical centers work with anesthesiologists whose sole job is to administer and monitor anesthesia levels.
Your plastic surgeon should be able to provide a recommendation for anesthesia while providing an explanation of why that type of anesthesia is the best option for your procedure.
6. Are You Board-Certified?
Board certification shows that the plastic surgeon has the right training and experience to safely perform certain procedures. One of the gold standards for board certification is the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Whitaker is certified with this prestigious board.
Certification with the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery requires several years of training in a specialized plastic surgery field.
7. What Outcomes Can I Expect from Surgery?
Open questions like this help you learn more about the benefits of plastic surgery. It also offers the opportunity to see how honest and forthcoming your potential plastic surgeon is. A trustworthy cosmetic surgeon will not oversell the potential results.
8. What Is Your Approach to Recommending Procedures?
Cosmetic procedure options vary widely these days. Advances in injectables and non-surgical techniques now allow plastic surgeons to achieve drastic cosmetic results without the need for surgery.
Even when surgery is needed, look for a plastic surgeon who urges the least invasive procedures to achieve the best results. Conservative treatments have the benefit of a shorter recovery time.
9. How Much Will the Procedure Cost Me?
Never be afraid to talk about money. Your doctor shouldn’t be hesitant to discuss medical fees either. Although you can’t put a price on quality, cost is a factor that should be weighed when looking for the best plastic surgeon for you and your budget.
If you find two comparable plastic surgeons, there is nothing wrong with working with the more affordable option. Most doctors will provide a cost range that will vary depending on your procedure and variables like the type of anesthesia you opt for. Just keep in mind that doctors with more experience and a higher reputation may charge more for their high-quality work.
What to Expect from Your Surgeon
Observe what types of questions your potential surgeon asks you. Your plastic surgeon should listen intently to your questions while asking about your medical history and reasons for pursuing cosmetic surgery.
After you leave your consultation, ask yourself these questions:
- Did the doctor make me feel safe and secure about my procedure?
- Was the rest of the staff friendly and accommodating?
- Did I feel comfortable sharing my concerns with the doctor?
- Did I feel connected with the doctor?
- Did the cosmetic surgeon have the type of experience I was looking for?
- Did it feel like the doctor was fully forthcoming about his or her professional experience?
Talking to a medical professional shouldn’t feel like you are buying a car. Your doctor shouldn’t oversell you on additional procedures. If you feel like you are being upsold on services, it may be a good time to part ways and look for medical help elsewhere.
Find the Right Plastic Surgeon Today
If you are Googling “Best plastic surgeon near me,” you will likely find several plastic surgeons who have sharp websites. Consider this your start. Following the tips in this blog will help you further narrow down your decision so that you feel confident on surgery day.
Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker loves being a plastic surgeon. She loves helping patients feel better about themselves. Beyond having world-class medical training, Dr. Whitaker has a kind and caring bedside manner.
To schedule your consultation, contact our office today. And don’t forget to bring questions!