Deciding on a Cosmetic Surgeon - dummies

Deciding on a Cosmetic Surgeon

By R. Merrel Olesen, Marie B.V. Olesen

Part of Cosmetic Surgery For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Choosing a surgeon is the single most important decision you will make when it comes to cosmetic surgery. Take enormous care going through the selection process, and ask these questions, that a good, dependable surgeon should willingly and openly answer:

  • Are you a board-certified plastic surgeon? (If not, are you board eligible or does your training and certification include the procedure I’m considering?) Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensures the highest level of training. Call 866-ASK-ABMS (275-2267) or visit to verify.

  • Do you have privileges to perform my surgical procedure(s) at an accredited hospital? Hospital privileges ensure that other physicians have checked out your doctor for you and determined that he is suitably trained and has demonstrated skill to perform your procedure in their hospital.

  • Are you a member of one or both of the two prestigious societies for plastic surgeons: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and American Society of Plastic Surgeons? These self-governing societies have high standards and do your homework for you regarding your surgeon’s continuing education compliance and facility accreditation.

  • Do you devote a significant portion of your practice to cosmetic surgery? You’re more likely to get the positive surgical result and patient experience you seek when your surgeon focuses on cosmetic surgery.

  • How many times have you performed the procedure I want? How often do you perform it? Do you have before-and-after photos? Generally, the more experience a surgeon has, the more consistent his results. But, you still have to like the results. Before-and-after photos are a great way to find out if you share the surgeon’s aesthetic.

  • What is your patient-education philosophy? You should be a partner in your care. That means you need to find a doctor who is committed to proactive communication and quality educational materials.

  • Will you perform all of my surgery? If anyone else helps you, what will they do? You’re paying for the surgeon to do your surgery — the entire surgery. You should be told who will assist and how. Some procedures, such as breast reduction, require two surgeons, but you’ll be told in advance.