Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker

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What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon

In 2018, nearly 18 million Americans had surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures performed. While plastic surgery is more popular than ever, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some research before you settle on a plastic surgeon.

It’s not enough to hop on your internet browser and search for “a plastic surgeon near me.” You need to dig deeper.

Knowing what to look for in a plastic surgeon will help you find the right doctor who’s an expert in the type of procedure you want.

We want to help you know exactly what to look for in a cosmetic surgeon. And we want to help you look and feel your best. Keep reading to learn how.

What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon

It’s helpful to understand the definition of plastic surgeon before you begin looking for “a plastic surgeon near me.” Plastic surgery is a specialty that involves altering, restoring or reconstructing the human body.

There are two main categories for plastic surgery: cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive surgery involves the treatment of burns, microsurgery, craniofacial surgery, and hand surgery.

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery involves surgical procedures such as facelifts, breast lifts, and liposuction.

Cosmetic surgeons also perform non-invasive procedures such as Botox injections, laser treatments, and chemical peels.

Make Sure Your Plastic Surgeon Has the Right Qualifications

It’s important to know that all surgeons have to be board-certified to perform any type of surgery. While that’s great, what you really need to find out is which of them are board-certified.

Being board-certified doesn’t mean they’re necessarily certified in the type of surgery you’re looking to have performed on you.

You should also be aware that neither aesthetic surgeons, aesthetic medicine specialists, or cosmetic surgeons are necessarily plastic surgeons. Instead, make sure to find out if your plastic surgeon has earned their ABPS (American Board of Plastic Surgery) certification.

Look for a Plastic Surgeon With Positive Reviews Online

While you can check out the plastic surgeon reviews and testimonials on their own website, keep in mind that they’re likely only going to publish the positive ones. While it’s fine to check them out, you should also check out other online review sources.

This will provide you with a more realistic idea of what former and existing patients think of the work their plastic surgeon provides. Keep in mind even the best surgeons can get the occasional negative review that may not be entirely their fault.

However, if the majority of the plastic surgeon reviews for a particular plastic surgeon are glowing, it’s a good indication they’re trustworthy, reliable, and perform good work.

Find One With Lots of Experience Performing the Procedure You Want

Look for a plastic surgeon who has lots of experience performing your type of procedure. Find one who has performed it at least once a week or more for at least five years.

You want a surgeon who has the right skills and keeps practicing to hone and perfect their skills. This is especially important since many non-invasive procedures can be legally performed by non-MDs such as nurse practitioners and even aestheticians under the supervision of a doctor.

The Operating Facility Should Also Be Properly Equipped

Go one step further and ask where the surgeon will perform the surgery. There should be key life support systems in the operating room where your surgery will be performed.

The facility’s level of accreditation must be one of the following:

  • AAAASF (American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities)
  • AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care)
  • JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations)

Also, make sure the anesthetist is properly qualified. They should be either a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) or a Board Certified Anesthesiologist.

Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations

While plastic surgeon reviews are handy, the best way to get a recommendation is through friends and family. You can even ask an acquaintance if they’re comfortable sharing their plastic surgery experiences with you.

Always ask the person providing the recommendation to you what they liked best and least about their plastic surgeon.

You should also ask them about the entire experience, including the staff where the procedure was done. And you can trust that the before and after photos are real.

Get a Recommendation From Another Healthcare Provider

If you don’t know anyone personally but would feel more comfortable speaking to someone directly, you can start by asking anyone you know who works in healthcare.

Healthcare professionals usually know who the best professionals are and they’re happy to make a recommendation. Ask your nurse or even your primary doctor to refer you to someone they like and trust.

Meet Directly With the Plastic Surgeon and Come Prepared With Questions to Ask

You should always book a consultation with the surgeon who is performing your plastic surgery. It’s important you get a good sense of who the surgeon is and whether or not you feel comfortable with him or her.

Consider it a red flag if they’re unwilling to meet and speak with you. The right doctor wants to ensure you’re well aware of what to expect and that you feel comfortable before going ahead with the surgery.

Their Staff Should Treat You With Respect

You also want to make sure that you like and trust their staff as well. They should provide you with information or answers you need, such as:

  • Materials describing the risks and realities of surgery, both during and after
  • A list of all fees

You should also pay attention to how quickly the staff responds to your questions. If you don’t feel they care about you before you head into surgery, it’s not going to get better afterward, especially if something goes wrong.

Find a Plastic Surgeon Whose Work Appeals to You

One very important aspect of what to look for in a cosmetic surgeon is to find out whose work appeals to you. Plastic surgeons are like artists. No two will perform their work in exactly the same way.

You can do this by looking at their before and after photos. Find photos of patients who have similar features to you.

Reasons to Exclude a Cosmetic Surgeon

Knowing what you don’t want in a plastic surgeon is often just as important as knowing what you do want. Here are a few reasons to walk away from a plastic surgeon:

  • They’re not involved in your postoperative care
  • They guarantee their results
  • They won’t let you ask questions freely
  • They don’t routinely perform your specific type of procedure
  • They dismiss or minimize the risks of surgery
  • They refuse to discuss possible complications
  • They don’t treat you or their staff well
  • They won’t or can’t show you before and after photos of their work
  • Their fees are too cheap or they offer gimmicks

While it may seem like a great idea to save money on your plastic surgery, that’s usually a red flag. Always remember you get what you pay for and this is your body. Whatever they do to you may end up being permanent, so you deserve to be happy with the results.

Make Sure the Office Is Clean and Well Organized

A disorganized office is a huge red flag. You don’t want the staff to make an error and performing the wrong surgery on you.

And if the office is dirty, you have to wonder if the operating room will be as sterile as it should be. Remember that if it doesn’t smell clean, it probably isn’t.

Compare and Contrast More Than One Plastic Surgeon

Don’t just find one plastic surgeon near you. Instead, find two or three and do some comparing.

You may find that one of them is more skilled, has more experience, or you prefer their work more than the others. It’s worth it to walk into your surgery knowing you’ve found the perfect plastic surgeon.

And don’t be afraid to find a doctor who isn’t necessarily in the same town. You may find the best surgeon for you is a little further away.

Trust Your Gut Instincts

In the end, you should always trust your gut instincts. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If a doctor doesn’t seem trustworthy, he or she may not be. And you don’t want to find out the hard way that your instincts were right.

Take Your Time

If, after properly vetting a plastic surgeon, you feel comfortable letting them perform your surgery, then go ahead. But do not let yourself be rushed into making a decision.

Plastic surgery isn’t cheap and it’s often not covered by insurance. You want to make sure your money is well spent and you’re happy with the results.

Schedule Your Consultation

Now that you know what to look for in a plastic surgeon, it’s time to start making appointments for a consultation. Our team of professionals is committed to your well-being.

We want you to be happy with your results. Schedule your free consultation to learn more about our services today.

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Please fill out form below to submit a consultation request. Let us know your preferred day/time and an Atlanta Face & Body consultant will confirm the next best available appointment for you! Now offering Virtual Consultations.
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Upcoming Events

Tue 26

Customer Appreciation Sale

October 4 @ 8:00 AMOctober 31 @ 11:59 PM

We are thrilled to celebrate you – our clients, our friends, our family. What better way to show our love than a month full of giveaways and special packages! This month’s featured packages include the following:    About Face $2999 (Value $4435) Ultherapy® for Lower Face and Neck 20 Units of Xeomin NEOCUTIS Neo Firm   […]