How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon

Story by Larue Gillespie

Has breastfeeding and childbirth ransacked your body, leaving behind crepe paper skin, sagging and deflated breasts, and a permanent pooch that no amount of diet and exercise can fix? Do you have a flat derriere and long for a curvy one — but find squats aren’t doing the trick? Does the way your nose hook a little to the side make you feel super self-conscious? A qualified plastic surgeon can fix these things and more. Finding the right one may take some time, but it’s the first and most important step toward achieving the look you’ve always wanted.

Regardless of the procedure you’re looking at — you need to look for a qualified surgeon first.

Plastic surgeons can perform various procedures, including mommy makeovers, nose jobs, liposuction, body contouring, butt lifts, tummy tucks, facelifts, or any number of other cosmetic procedures. Still, you have to find a qualified surgeon.

One big question to ask: Is the physician board certified? Let’s clarify. There’s one organization that stands out for plastic surgeons, the American Board of Plastic Surgery. A second place to check is with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Board certification means several things. It means the physician must graduate from an accredited medical school, complete at least six years of additional training as a resident surgeon in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The residency training must cover all areas of surgery, including at least three years devoted entirely to plastic surgery. Plus, board certified plastic surgeons must pass comprehensive oral and written exams, undergo continuing education, and recertify every ten years.

Next, check the surgeon’s body of work. Is it exemplary? Examine patient before and after photos. Make sure the after photos are several months post-surgery, as most results aren’t fully realized for 6 to 12 months. Make sure you like the physician’s style and results. Also, look for photos of patients with similar features as you so you can get a real feel for what your results might be.

Experience is a must. If you want a facelift, you need to find a doctor who does them at least once or twice a week instead of a couple a year — the more experienced, the better.

It is essential to understand that every person is different, and every doctor’s sense of style and artistry is different. So, results won’t be exactly the same for everyone. This is where communication and realistic expectations come into play.

You could find the most qualified physician out there, but when you meet them, it’s possible that you won’t click at all. Don’t stop looking until you find a physician you feel comfortable with, one who will take the time to explain everything and offer their insight. They should answer every question no matter how silly you think it is. Plastic surgery is not a light decision, so taking the time to find the right doctor is imperative.

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