Locating a doctor you can trust is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Andrea Markowitz, Ph.D.
June 16, 2010
There's more to finding a reputable plastic surgeon than simply looking at advertisements or going through business listings. Whether you're looking for a plastic surgeon for reconstructive or elective surgery, do your research before making your final decision.
Completed at least five years of additional training as a resident surgeon in an accredited program with at least two years devoted entirely to plastic surgery.
Passed comprehensive exams.
Maintained certification by completing continuing education requirements.
Check these organizations' online databases to locate board-certified plastic surgeons who have practices in your geographical area. Also make sure the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in the specialty area for the procedure you're seeking.
2. Check for Society, Association and Academy Membership
There are many societies, associations and academies that require high standards from and offer continuing education to their members, including:
Learn about each organization's standards and whether a plastic surgeon you're considering is a member by visiting an organization's Web site.
3. Form Your Own Opinion
After you've located board-certified plastic surgeons who have training in the specialty you're seeking, visit their Web sites to learn their approach and philosophy. Request a free initial consultation with doctors who appeal to you, and ask the following questions (adapted from Plastic Surgery Review, which also provides patient reviews of plastic surgeons):
How many years of plastic surgery training and experience do you have?
At what hospitals do you have privileges to perform the procedure I want?
Is your office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency? Is it state-licensed? Medicare-certified?
Where will you perform my procedure?
Am I a good candidate for the procedure I want?
What surgical technique will you use?—Why do you recommend it as opposed to another type?
What kind of results can I expect?—May I see before-and-after photos of your patients who've had the same procedure?
What's expected of me to achieve the best results?
How long does recovery take?
What are the risks and complications?—How will you handle them?