Choosing the right surgeon to perform your cosmetic procedure is a very personal decision. It is important to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable based on their personality and your determination of their experience.
Although a referral to a surgeon from a friend is a good place to start, explore a little further. Make sure your contemplated surgeon is actually a surgeon. Many physicians call themselves “cosmetic surgeons” but they have no real surgical training. For example, many dermatologists and internal medicine physicians have taken a “weekend course” and are promoting themselves as cosmetic surgery specialists. In my opinion, going to this type of individual is not in your best interest. No only do they lack the full spectrum of treatment options to offer you in order to obtain the best result, but they lack true experience and certainly are not able to appropriately handle complications.
Second, determine if your contemplated surgeon is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Many other similar sounding “boards” and societies exist, such as the “Cosmetic Surgery Board”, so be careful. Only ASPS members have completed extensive surgical training, passed both written boards and oral boards, and have had an independent review of their surgical outcomes.
Third, find out if your contemplated surgeon has a full spectrum of treatment options available. Then, you can be assured that you are being offered the appropriate procedure to meet your desires. For example, your cosmetic surgeon should have the following options available: skin care with microdermabrasion or equivalent, non-ablative lasers for skin tightening, intense pulsed light devices for toning, Thermage and/or Titan devices for tightening and lifting, fat transfers and “off the shelf” fillers, minimally invasive procedures, endoscopic procedures, and the full spectrum of maximally invasive procedure.
Fourth, determine if your surgeon has the experience necessary to provide you with a good result and to treat you appropriately if there is a complication or if you don’t achieve the results you expected.
The bottom line — although it may be more expensive to go to a surgeon who has the full spectrum of treatment options available, you can be assured that you are being offered the treatment option(s) which best suit your needs.
If someone (ASPS board certified or otherwise) is advertising that they are “certified” to perform a procedure, they probably have recently completed a weekend course and they do not actually have much experience in performing the procedure. Think about it…you never see a reputable board certified surgeon advertising that they are “certified” to perform a breast augmentation! Certification in a procedure does not mean that they are an expert in the procedure…it’s their experience that counts.