Selecting a surgeon to perform body and life-altering cosmetic surgery is a critical first step on your road to a new you. Oftentimes, initial hesitancy comes from a confusion of the terms "cosmetic" and "plastic" surgeon. There is much posturing in the industry, but plastic and cosmetic surgery are two sides of the same coin. Plastic surgeons are initially trained in the art of restoring congenital or traumatic abnormalities in their patients, such as would occur after breast cancer or a car wreck. Typically a plastic surgeon performs procedures to restructure damaged skin, bone, and musculoskeletal systems to restore function and appearance. Although closely related to plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery only deals in aesthetic procedures. The title of plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon can be so blurred by cross-education and post-residency fellowship that it is necessary to review a doctor's background and credentials to establish a true sense of their competency and skill.
You will need to look for two things when vetting a surgeon: their experience and their facility. Although plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are different, the level of experience to look for is very similar. If you've decided upon a procedure and have determined you require a cosmetic surgeon, look to find a fellowship-trained surgeon in your procedure's area of focus. Fellowship training is an elective post-residency education that only a handful of cosmetic surgeons undertake. This grueling program allows a cosmetic surgeon to become highly specialized in particular areas of cosmetic surgery. Another thing to consider is your surgeon’s operating facility. Many surgeons will not perform these procedures in a hospital, but in a private practice or outpatient facility. There are medical accreditations these buildings can have that will let you know they're up to code and take extra safety precautions including the Joint Commission (JCAHO).
To aid you in making this life-changing decision we've included a list of 10 necessary steps and insightful questions to ask.
- Determine what you wish to enhance about yourself.
- Research doctors and procedure options.
- Interview potential local and out-of-state doctors. This is an investment. Have it done once, correctly!
- Does the surgeon seem open and easy to communicate with? Are they being realistic about your goals and expected results?
- Request a surgeon's medical credentials. Where did they attend school? Have they completed a fellowship in cosmetic surgery?
- Do they have any malpractice judgments against them?
- Review the surgeon's before and after pictures. If at a large center, make sure to review your doctor's pictures and not his or her colleague's.
- Evaluate their facility, its cleanliness and accreditation.
- Request testimonials or interviews from patients that have undergone the same procedure.
- Do not rush into the decision to have surgery. This is an investment and a life-changing decision; you need to feel comfortable with your surgeon and their staff.
Here at Kansas Surgical Arts, my staff and I are dedicated to providing you with a safe, relaxing environment while upholding the highest standard of medical professionalism and patient care. Our medical backgrounds, certifications and accredidations are available for your perusal at all times to assuage any fears that you might have. We wish to aid you in any way on your journey to a more positive you!