Some of the factors often overlooked when choosing a plastic surgeon are, in fact, essential elements to take into consideration. The following tips are intended to help you make an educated decision:
1) Do Your Research
Review doctors online, before and after photos, patient testimonials, and credentials, to narrow down the top 3 doctors (or less). In reviewing photos, it is best when sets of photos have descriptions of what procedure was performed, when the post-op photo was taken, and any other details on the patient or the procedure. Also make sure that not only are there plenty of photos, but each set of photos are shot at the same angle, with the same lighting, and same patient positioning. In reviewing credentials, make sure to see that the surgeon is indeed a plastic surgeon (not cosmetic surgeon). Plastic surgeons have completed a fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, taking a minimum of two years to do so.
2) Procedure Consistency
When comparing your options, make sure you are evaluating for the same procedures; surgeons may recommend different surgeries for the same problem. Will the scars be the same for the breast lift? Is the liposuction covering the exact same areas? If there are differences, what will be the difference in results?
3) Consider Additional Costs
Same goes for pricing- make sure you are comparing like for like. If it sounds too good to be true when compared to other prices, it probably is, since the lowest price may not be the best deal. Does surgery include operating room and anesthesia costs? Will you have to pay for garments, labs, and medications? If so, what will you be getting? How much will they cost?
4) Consult With Previous Patients
Ask to speak with other patients. Make sure they have gone through the same procedures. Do they have any tips for you? Would they have done anything differently? Were they forgotten after surgery was done?
5) Plan Aftercare and Recovery
As plastic surgery is considered major surgery, it is important to make sure that you follow your surgeon’s strict guidelines for proper post-surgical recovery. For instance, for older patients or those with particular health history, a plastic surgeon may recommend a fully-equipped aftercare facility with 24 hour nursing care. Other common instructions include not boarding an airplane for long flights, or avoiding physical activities.
6) Consider The Surgical Experience
Compare the experience- will you be charged for post-op visits? How about a month or two after surgery? Is the doctor the one who sees you, or someone else (who you may not have even met before your surgery)? How accessible is your surgeon, especially after surgery? Will you be calling your doctor, a staff member, or an answering service after hours?
7) Feel Comfortable
Make sure you are comfortable with the doctor, the staff, and anyone else you may come in contact with throughout your experience. They will all contribute to your experience- and you want to have a good one.
8) Trust Your Gut
After you have evaluated all these things, go with your gut instincts. It has to feel right for you to move forward!