The decision to have plastic surgery is actually a series of choices you make over the course of a few months. Choosing which surgery to have is just one part of it. You also want to choose when to have the surgery and perhaps most importantly of all, who you want to perform it. Just as a fancy meal can be delicious when prepared by an experienced chef but terrible when prepared by a someone who’s never stepped foot in a kitchen, the results you get from a facial plastic surgery procedure can be exquisite if performed by an expert and disastrous if performed by anyone else.
Since there are a number of people out there who claim they can perform plastic surgery, without having the credentials needed, or in some cases, without actually being doctors, you want to be on your guard. There are several things to look for when picking your surgeon.
Look for Board Certification
Board certification is one of the more important things to look for when you are looking for a facial plastic surgeon. Being board certified means that a surgeon has taken the extra steps needed to receive extra training, in the form of a multi-year residency after medical school, that the surgeon is licensed, has completed a certain number of procedures, and has passed an examination. To earn board certification, a surgeon also has to agree to a code of ethics.
There are several different boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Usually, a facial plastic surgeon should be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Otolaryngology.
Choosing a surgeon who is board certified is really the only way to guarantee that you’re getting a doctor who is specifically trained to perform the procedure you are considering and who has the experience to back that up. There actually aren’t many legal restrictions when it comes to who can perform what type of surgery, which is why you might come across dermatologists who also claim to perform facial plastic surgeries or gynecologists who also offer injections.
Look for Those Experienced In Your Preferred Procedure
Board certification is just the first thing to look for in a facial plastic surgeon. You also want to make sure the surgeon you are considering has experience with the surgery you are considering, whether it’s rhinoplasty, ear surgery, or a facelift. As with anything, surgeons have preferences and varying levels of skill. One surgeon might enjoy performing facelifts and be exceptionally good at them while another might prefer breast augmentation and liposuction. Look for a surgeon who not only has ample experience with your chosen surgery, but who also performs it on a regular basis, preferably at least once a week.
How will you know if a surgeon is as good as he or she claims? Read reviews from past patients and to ask the surgeon to give you references to patients who have had the same procedure. Most patients who have had a good experience with a surgeon will be happy to share their story, while those who didn’t have a good experience will also most likely be willing to let you know what went wrong.
You don’t have to rely on the the references a surgeon you’re considering gives you, since those will most likely be patients who’ve had a good experience and might not give you the full picture. Instead, you can look at reviews online to get a fuller sense of what people think about the doctor and his or her work. Another option is to talk to people you know who have had facial plastic surgery and ask them who they worked with and what their experience was like.
Trust Your Gut
Most importantly, it’s worth it to trust your gut when picking a surgeon. If anything about the process seems off, or if you feel uncertain about the surgeon’s experience or ability, it’s best to go to a different doctor.
Along with trusting yourself, you want to weigh how the surgeon makes you feel. Building a bit of rapport with the surgeon is a good thing. If you feel rushed during the consultation or get the sense that the doctor isn’t listening to your concerns or is brushing off your questions, it might be best to keep shopping around.
In Ohio, Dr. Stephen Smith is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He is experienced in a wide range of facial surgeries, from facelift to rhinoplasty. If you are thinking about surgery and want to learn more, call 614-678-7180 to schedule a consultation in Columbus. For an appointment at Dr. Smith’s practice in Gahanna, Ohio, call (614) 702-7342.