First, let’s state the obvious: there is nothing wrong with wanting to love the way you look. Some people are fortunate that they love what biology has given to them. Other people find that steady maintenance gets the job done. For others, though, the best answer is surgical intervention.
Plastic surgery isn’t just about major procedures. For many people, less invasive treatment is all they need. Perhaps you’re interested in smoothing out some lines with Botox. Maybe you’re tired of dealing with unwanted body hair. Plastic surgery helps people take care of any number of issues safely and efficiently…as long as you choose the right doctor.
Just like every other type of profession, there are good plastic surgeons and there are terrible plastic surgeons. It is imperative for your health as well as your appearance that you choose the former. Here are some tips that will help you do exactly that.
Ask for Referrals
Ask your primary care physician for a plastic surgeon referral. Your PCP will be able to help you find a qualified specialist for what you hope to have done. It’s a good rule of thumb to consult with your primary doctor before going in for a plastic surgery consultation. Your doctor might be able to help you figure out if there might be a medical cause for the problem you’re hoping to fix (for example, unwanted facial hair might be the result of a hormone imbalance). If the problem isn’t medical, he or she will know which doctors in your area are most qualified to help you with your specific issue.
You can also ask your friends who have undergone plastic surgery procedures for recommendations based on their experiences.
Read the Reviews
Once you have the names of a few referrals, it’s time to start doing some digging. The best place to start is the doctor’s own testimonials page. Look for actual procedural details as well as the names of other professionals in the surgeon’s practice. For example, on the testimonials page for Dr. Jason Hess, you’ll see many testimonials that mention people within the practice by name. They talk about exactly what they had done and how it went for them. These are the marks of genuine testimonials from real patients.
It’s also a good idea to look for independent reviews of each potential surgeon. Do a thorough background check to find out about malpractice suits or formal complaints filed (if any). Learn as much as you can before you go in for your initial consultation.
Meet the Surgeon
Always meet a surgeon before you agree to spend any money at his or her practice. It is important that you feel comfortable with your doctor. You’re going to have a bunch of questions. You’re going to feel scared and insecure. It is important that you find someone who makes you feel comfortable, answers your questions and with whom you can feel a rapport.
Proper Training and Licensing
It is important that you choose a surgeon who has received his or her board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery and/or the American Medical Association. There are other membership organizations, of course, but these are the nationally recognized (and often seen as most prestigious and “worthy”) boards whose endorsements you want to find.
Remember: anybody can print out a certificate! Always double check with the certifying board that your potential surgeon has actually passed his or her exams and certification processes and that his or her certification is up to date (some specialties require regular “maintenance”). Do not do this via the internet! Actually call the American Society of Plastic Surgery (1-888-4-PLASTIC) and verify the certification with a live person.