In almost any geographic area with a significantly sized metropolitan city, there are dozens and maybe hundreds of plastic surgeons. But which one is right for your surgery? Like any specialized form of health care, you want someone who is both well qualified and has a fair amount of experience in body contouring surgery.
Sometimes it is easy…you know someone who has had the plastic surgery that you want and has had a good experience…so you go to their plastic surgeon for an initial evaluation. Word of mouth is almost always a good referral method. More often, however, you are not as fortunate and you have to start a search on your own. Here is how to do it.
First, only go to a board-certified plastic surgeon. This may sound territorial to some, but when it comes to major body contouring surgery it is not. For something like Botox or laser treatments or other minor cosmetic procedures, a host of so-called ‘cosmetic surgeons’ may suffice and the outcomes may be only marginally different. But body contouring surgery is not trivial and requires a lot of training and experience from doing reconstructive procedures of the body. There is a huge difference between managing not enough Botox and dealing with a postoperative wound separation of a thigh lift. Only someone trained in the full scope of plastic and reconstructive surgery has the knowledge to deal with major surgery….and their potential complications. Search for plastic surgeons in your area online at http://www.plasticsurgery.org, the official site of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Plastic surgeons listed there have to have the right training and board-certification to be a member.
Once you have found a handful of potential surgeons to see, visit their websites and view what they have to say and show about bariatric plastic surgery procedures. Although not having any info or results to show does not mean they don’t have adequate experience, those cosmetic surgeons that do certainly have an interest in performing these types of plastic surgery. Cross check their names at the website of the American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgery, an interest group of plastic surgeons who have or are sharing expertise in body contouring surgery. Today there are also a handful of young plastic surgeons that have received special training by completing a fellowship in bariatric plastic surgery beyond their basic plastic surgery residency.
Do as many consultations with different cosmetic surgeons as you feel necessary. Yes it will cost to have consultations but this is peanuts compared to the actual cost of surgery and the risks to which you will be exposed. The right plastic surgeon is often the one that makes you feel the most comfortable and takes the time and energy to spend time with you. Many patients are told to ask their prospective surgeon what their experience is and how many they do per month, year, etc. While there is nothing wrong with these questions, I don’t know how helpful these answers often are. How many operations do you have to do to be good at it? For some plastic surgeons it may be just a few every now and then, for others it many take many more. A more pertinent question is ask to see photos of results or talk to patients of the plastic surgeon who have had the procedure in the past several months. This is a more tangible question that can be very informative. Lack of photos or an unwillingness to share them or put you into contact with former patients is more revealing than a numbers question.