How to Find a Good Plastic Surgeon: 6 Useful Tips
December 30, 2020
So you’ve made the decision to have plastic surgery. Now all you have to do is go on the computer and do a quick Google search for the best plastic surgeons in your area, and wah-lah! You can expect that pretty much any doctor on the first page of search results will be a good fit for you, right? Wrong! Selecting a plastic surgeon probably isn’t going to be that easy.
Undergoing cosmetic surgery is a huge life decision. Not only will the procedure have a significant effect on your appearance, it can also mean a considerable financial investment. Depending on the type of procedure you have done, you could end up spending $5,000 to $10,000 or even more. Given the magnitude of the decision, it’s imperative that you take the time to carefully select a surgeon who will provide you with exactly the results you’re looking for.
So how exactly do you go about finding a trustworthy, reputable plastic surgeon who meets your expectations? Here are some tips to make your search easier:
1. Solicit input from friends and relatives who have had plastic surgery.
If you have close friends or relatives who have had plastic surgery in the past, talk to them to find out if they recommend their surgeons and why. Chances are, they won’t mince words. They’ll give you the full story. Even if they weren’t particularly pleased with their surgeons, they’ve been through the process you’re about to go through, and surely, they’ll be able to steer you in the right direction.
2. Ask your primary physician for a referral.
If you have a primary health care provider or general practitioner who you regularly visit for general health checkups, he or she might be able to connect you with a reputable plastic surgeon. Your regular doctor will probably be aware of the reputations of the different plastic surgeons who practice in your area and may be able to advise you about who might be good to go to for treatment and who you shouldn’t go to.
3. Do thorough online research.
Take some time to do research on the computer—and that means more than just a quick Google search. Type in the names of the surgeons you may have been referred to by your friends, relatives, and family doctor. Also, see what other plastic surgeons are in your area. Visit their websites and try to get a good feel of what their practices are about, their treatment philosophies, and what they have to offer. Check out their backgrounds—including their education, work history, and credentials.
Be sure to look at online reviews of their services. RealSelf.com is one of the most popular resources for finding medical and cosmetic doctors; it provides real patient reviews, before and after photos, doctor credentials, and more. RealSelf also allows you to communicate with actual patients and surgeons, who may have some good suggestions re: what qualities to look for when choosing a cosmetic surgeon. They may even be able to refer you to specific practitioners in your area.
4. Only consider board-certified surgeons.
As you’re doing your preliminary research, an important criterion to use for screening is the surgeon’s credentials. Choose a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This tells you the doctor is a professional and someone you can trust. To get this certification, a surgeon must undergo at least three years of general surgery training, two years of plastic surgery training, pass comprehensive written and oral examinations, and adhere to a strict code of medical ethics. Normally if a surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, this will be stated in his bio on his practice’s website. You can also go on the board’s website at www.abplsurg.org and type in the surgeon’s name to see if he or she is a member.
5. Interview at least two or three plastic surgeons.
Many cosmetic surgeons offer low-cost consultations. Take advantage of this. After you’ve done your preliminary research, call your favorites and schedule a consultation with each of them. This is the surgeons’ opportunity to introduce you to their practices and also a chance for you to ask questions and, in effect, “interview” the surgeons. You will be able to compare the different doctors’ personalities, fees, treatment philosophies, and communication skills—all of which are important when selecting a doctor.
Some questions you might want to ask are:
- Am I a good candidate for the procedure that I want?
- How often do you perform this procedure?
- How many years of training or experience have you had?
- What specific technique will be used? Why use that technique over others?
- Realistically, what kind of results should I expect?
- How long of a recovery period will there be?
- Are there risks involved, and if so, what are they?
- Have your patients experienced many complications with this procedure? If so, what were they?
- What are my options if I am unhappy with the outcome of the procedure?
- Do you do revisions, and if so, at what cost?
The surgeon’s answers to your question will obviously help you make your decision. But it’s not just the literal answers that tell you something; how the information is communicated is equally important. Ideally, the surgeon you choose should answer questions thoroughly and be willing to give you the time you need. If the doctor or his staff seem unresponsive, rude, hurried or indifferent, those are all red flags indicating that this is probably not the practice for you. A great plastic surgeon will also help you determine which procedure will best fit your needs rather than try to sell you on anything.
6. Avoid bargain-basement cosmetic surgery centers.
There’s the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Just as is true with other industries, not every healthcare provider does quality work. If a doctor’s pricing seems too good to be true, chances are it probably is. What may seem like a “bargain price” could turn into a very costly mistake, especially if expensive revisions become necessary or complications arise.
This is not to say that a surgeon with “high fees” is always the best way to go. But don’t automatically choose a surgeon just because he offers “unbeatable rates”—especially if these fees are way below the average. Unusually low pricing may mean the surgeon lacks experience or is still in training and is trying to attract clients, or his business may be suffering for other reasons (and if others aren’t going there, that should tell you something). In some cases, you might find out after the fact that the “good deal” was only a base price and did not include additional fees or after-procedure costs.
Want to learn more about Perimeter Plastic Surgery? Give us a call!
Now that you have done your research, you know that Dr. Deutsch is a Top Doctor and a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Dr. Deutsch has been named a Top Doctor in Atlanta Magazine 5 years in a row! Really, the best way to find out if Dr. Deutsch is the right surgeon for your plastic surgery is to come in for a consultation or schedule a virtual consultation. You can schedule your appointment by calling our office at 404-255-0886. Dr. Deutsch will be happy to talk with you about your aesthetic goals and discuss your treatment options with you.