The search for a qualified plastic surgeon can be time-consuming and involved. After you have developed a short list of names from personal recommendations or Internet searches, you probably spend some time exploring the surgeons’ websites, getting a feel for who they are and what they offer. As you check out these sites, there are certain things to look for that can give you clues into a surgeon’s expertise.
Your first stop on a plastic surgeon’s website should be the biography area to check out what kind of experience and credentials they have. Try to answer the following questions:
- Did the plastic surgeon attend an accredited medical school?
- Did they complete a residency in plastic surgery?
- Have they completed a Fellowship that has been approved by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery? (ASAPS)
- Are they licensed to practice in your state?
- How long have they been practicing?
- How many plastic surgery procedures have they performed?
- Do they belong to any professional organizations, like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery?
Answering these questions will tell you whether the plastic surgeon is qualified to perform your requested procedure.
After you have familiarized yourself with the plastic surgeon’s background and experience, you should head to the before-and-after gallery for the procedure you are considering. These images are extremely compelling and great evidence as to the type of results typical of the plastic surgeon. Spending some time in the before-and-after gallery allows you a look into the surgeon’s vision and talents.
Look for a person that has visual characteristics similar to you in the “before” image, and ask yourself if you like the way their results turn out. Although every patient and surgery is different, and no result is ever guaranteed, this can give you a general idea of whether you would be happy with your results.
The next area of the website that should command your attention is patient reviews. Most experienced plastic surgeons have a website page dedicated to publishing testimonials from current and former patients.
After you have read through those patient reviews, go to third-party review sites like Yelp, HealthGrades, Vitals and RealSelf, where you can likely find more reviews. Doctors cannot pay these websites to edit or remove bad reviews, so they tend to be unfiltered. Note the date of the reviews and whether the doctor has responded to any negative reviews.
If you are satisfied with what you have found on the surgeon’s website, go ahead and schedule a personal consultation to meet. At that point, you can discuss your specific needs and how the surgeon can meet them.