Anytime you’re planning to undergo surgery, it’s important to research your options carefully. A botched plastic surgery can leave you with serious mental, physical and emotional repercussions. Before you go under the knife, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you are under the best care possible to have your surgery go smoothly.
The key to finding the perfect surgeon is research. For this step, it’s a good idea to Google local surgeons in your area and read their reviews. As with most investments, personal referrals are sometimes the best form of research. Although plastic surgery is oftentimes a delicate subject, hearing from actual people can give you the insight you need to create a list of potential surgeons. In addition, many surgeons also offer reference lists for potential clients to look at.
Once you have narrowed down your search, it’s important to make sure each of your prospective surgeons are board certified. To verify that a surgeon is board certified, you can visit the American Board of Medical Specialties’ website. This site will tell you whether or not the doctor is certified in the field of plastic surgery. Now, you may be asking yourself: why is it so important to verify board certification? Simply put, this ensures that your plastic surgeon has been highly trained. (Legally speaking, anyone with a medical degree can practice plastic surgery.) A board certification means that they underwent rigorous training in their field, which includes five years of surgical training and at least two in specialized plastic surgery.
After ensuring your plastic surgeon is certified, you can check their professional record online. In fact, every state has a database that documents medical board records. Needless to say, it’s important to know if your doctor has any pending or previous malpractice suits. This information can help you determine which doctors are the most reliable and experienced. Even if your procedure isn’t invasive, checking a doctor’s record is crucial.
When you go in for your initial consultation, compile a list of questions. These will vary depending on the procedure you are hoping to receive. For instance, some good questions to ask are how many times the doctor has performed the surgery you’re receiving, who else will be assisting during the procedure and how long the procedure will last. You can also ask for a breakdown of fee’s and references. Your consultation is your time to make sure your doctor is up to par.
Additionally, make sure you fully understand how your doctor is going to perform the surgery, what the estimated costs will be, and whether your doctor has hospital privileges. Depending on the risk level of your procedure, understanding the doctors plan if something goes wrong is critical as well. Your surgeon should have an emergency plan clearly laid out if there is a complication during your procedure. In short, don’t be afraid to ask questions; you should leave any appointment with a prospective plastic surgeon feeling confident. Trust your instincts, and if you feel as if your doctor is rushing you out the door or isn’t being honest, don’t pursue your procedure any further.
One major red flag is if a plastic surgeon doesn’t have before-and-after photos for any of their clients. Additionally, it’s critical that any photos you are shown are properly demonstrating your plastic surgeon’s work. Like any doctor, a quality plastic surgeon should be open and transparent about any risks or complications associated with your procedure. No less, you should always ask for realistic results. Although it is nice to have a doctor tell you everything will be perfect, it’s important that you ask for honest answers about scarring and results.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t compromise your health and wellbeing for a cheaper cosmetic procedure. You can collect procedural quotes from different doctors in order to understand where your doctor ranks. Make sure that you are receiving the best care for your money. You should choose a doctor who is experienced and offers a competitive rate. However, keep in mind: you get what you pay for. Choosing the cheapest surgeon may cost you more in the long run with corrective surgeries and emotional distress.
Some surgeons may try to talk you into bundling your services. Though this can sometimes be a good deal, make sure your surgeon doesn’t try to perform all the operations at once. This can end up putting a great deal of stress on your body, which can be detrimental to your health. Perhaps needless to say, your safety should always be put first.
Meet with your surgeon as many times as you need to before the procedure. Don’t feel the need to get rushed into booking your surgery and ask for second opinions. This is a lasting and oftentimes permanent procedure, so you should go into your operation with complete confidence.
Dr. Gregory H. Croll is the owner of his own practice, and the leading doctor for plastic surgery Columbia MO has to offer.