Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker

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Someone You Can Trust: Choosing the Right Plastic Surgeon

There were over 1.5 million plastic surgery procedures performed in the U.S. in 2018. And the latest statistics reveal there are over 7,000 active plastic surgeons.

With so many plastic surgeons from which to choose, how do you find the plastic surgeon that’s right for you?

If you’re considering plastic surgery, it’s important to find someone you trust.

Read on for your guide on finding the right plastic surgeon for you.

Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgery is like any surgery. There are wonderful benefits, but there are also some possible risks. It is always important to understand all the risks, benefits, and potential complications before undertaking any procedure.

That being said, cosmetic surgery is popular for a reason. If you’ve got something bothering you about your appearance, a plastic surgeon can often help.

There are many reasons a person might desire a plastic surgery procedure. You might have a drooping eyelid or a crooked nose. You might have some wrinkles that a few fillers could fix.

Many people are born with genetic conditions that cause low self-esteem. Do you have something about your appearance that you so desperately want to change?

A good plastic surgeon performing the right surgery can give you a whole new outlook on life. But before you commit to the process, make sure you know what you’re doing.

Do your research and find the best surgeon for your case.

Personal Recommendations

If you’re not sure where to start, ask your friends and family for recommendations. Ask your primary care doctor who he or she recommends. And don’t forget to ask local nurses.

Nurses are a great resource when it comes to finding out about local doctors and surgeons.

Take a look at online reviews of plastic surgeons in your area. Keep in mind that this is only for a preliminary search.

Be informed and aware so you don’t end up in the wrong hands.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, there are a few more things to do.

What’s Board Certification?

If you had a brain tumor, you’d want a neurologist operating on you. By law, doctors can practice outside their specialty. You’re having a cosmetic procedure, you need a true plastic surgeon.

That’s why it’s crucial you find a doctor who’s board-certified in plastic surgery.

Questions to ask:

  • Are you board-certified in plastic surgery?
  • Where did you receive your undergraduate degree?
  • Where did you get your medical degree?
  • Where was your residency and what was it in?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • How many procedures do you perform a year? (The particular procedure you desire)

But don’t settle for seeing the words “board-certified.” Make sure you know what board gave the doctor her certification. If it’s not a plastic surgery board, you might want to look for another doctor.

Being board-certified in plastic surgery means the doctor completed a residency in plastic surgery. That’s on top of the six years of surgical training after medical school.

Even if you’re only getting injectables, it’s better to use a board-certified surgeon.

Use a board-certified plastic surgeon with plenty of experience in your desired procedure.

Which leads to our next point…

Doctor Experience per Procedure

Many surgeons, including plastic surgeons, specialize in one or two types of surgery.

Do you want a nose job? Are you interested in a facelift? Look for a plastic surgeon who’s performed lots of those procedures.

Ask the surgeon how many procedures like yours he or she’s performed. If he or she’s new to your procedure, find someone with more experience in the procedure you want.

Tell the doctor your specific goals and expectations for the requested procedure. Ask the doctor if they agree with your expectations.

Don’t Skip the Before and After Photos

Most plastic surgeons have a book or website page devoted to before and after photos. Make sure you take a look at these.

Everyone has a different aesthetic when it comes to beauty. You want the doctor’s aesthetic to match yours. Before and after photos give you a good idea of the doctor’s beauty ideal.

It’s also important to look at photos of patients similar to your body type. Look for photos of people within your demographic too. If you’re over 50, your results will differ from those of a 20-year-old.

You should see consistency in surgery results in the photos. If you like the results, the surgeon is probably a good fit.

It’s okay to ask for references from prior patients. Make sure you speak to someone who had the same procedure you want.

Personal Rapport and Initial Consultation

It’s important to meet with your surgeon at least once before deciding on surgery. If the surgeon wants you to meet with an assistant only, look for another surgeon.

You don’t want to meet your surgeon for the first time when you’re on the operating room table! Unfortunately, some practices have assistants sell the surgery to the patient. The patient doesn’t meet the doctor until surgery.

Don’t ignore your own feelings when meeting the surgeon.

If something about the doctor makes you uncomfortable, then try a different doctor. It’s important you have a good rapport with your surgeon. You also need open and easy communication.

The doctor should answer all your questions. She shouldn’t make you feel pressured or rushed.

Asking Questions

Don’t hesitate when it comes to asking questions. There are no stupid questions! Feel free to ask the doctor about her biography, education, and certifications.

Ask about your options if you don’t like the results of the surgery.

The doctor has a duty to tell you about the potential risks of the surgery so you’re well informed.

Remember that the doctor can do a lot for you. But a good doctor also manages unrealistic expectations.

Avoid Leaving the States

Many folks have been lured into medical tourism in places like Mexico or elsewhere. Some countries offer super low prices for cosmetic procedures. It’s a bad idea that’s not worth the risk.

In a foreign country, you’ll have no idea what the qualifications of the doctor are. Things that are standard of care in the U.S. might not be standard in other places. Sterility is a big issue.

Staff and Environment Matter

You’ll work with the staff pre- and post-operatively. Make sure you communicate effectively with the doctor’s staff. If the staff makes you uncomfortable, find an office that’s a better fit.

Each doctor’s practice runs a bit differently. Ask about issues such as after-hours communication and pain management.

During your initial consultation, take a look around. Is the office clean? Do you feel comfortable in the office? Did the staff provide written materials regarding surgical risks and realities?

Were you treated with courtesy and respect?

If for any reason the environment seems unsafe, go with your gut and go look elsewhere.

Choosing the Best Plastic Surgeon

It’s not always easy choosing the best plastic surgeon for you. But it’s the only body you have, so take the time and do it right. Start with personal recommendations and a search for local surgeons.

Find a surgeon who makes you feel comfortable. Open and easy communication is important. If a surgeon doesn’t listen and doesn’t answer your questions, they likely are not the surgeon for you.

Verify that your surgeon is board-certified in plastic surgery. Use a surgeon experienced in the type of surgery you’re looking for. Make sure the surgeon operates out of an accredited operating facility or hospital.

Make sure you look at before and after photos to get an idea of the surgeon’s aesthetic. Beauty is a personal thing and everyone’s idea of beauty looks a little different. Make sure your idea of beauty matches your doctor’s.

Look at photos of people matching your age, skin tone, and body type. That gives you the best idea of your potential outcome.

Keep your eyes open while you’re in the doctor’s office. If the place appears dirty or makes you uncomfortable, look for a different doctor. Make sure you also get along well with the doctor’s staff.

The surgeon should give you full disclosure about potential risks and complications. He or she should also talk about the realistic outcome.

Once you’re satisfied with your choice of surgeon, get ready to enjoy the new you!

Are you thinking about having a cosmetic procedure? Schedule your consultation now!

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Sat 25

Faces of Fall Sales Event

September 1September 30

It’s all about those fabulous faces this month at Atlanta Face & Body! As we welcome cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, and, of course, pumpkin spice, we’ve decided to offer some incredible Faces of Fall Packages to help you flaunt a new look as you usher in a new season! Just take a look at these […]