Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures
Choosing a Surgeon and Facility
Finding a cosmetic surgeon that you have confidence in and are comfortable talking to is extremely important when you are considering cosmetic surgery or procedures. You and your doctor can work together to build a treatment plan that both meets your needs and is realistic.
You may want to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon. Many cosmetic surgeons offer free or low-cost consultations. Sometimes a consultation fee is applied to the cost of the surgery.
No other single thing may influence the results of cosmetic surgery as strongly as the doctor's level of experience. Don't be afraid to ask about the doctor's experience with the procedure you are considering. Request before-and-after photographs of other people who have had the procedure done. And ask to see the worst results as well as the typical and best results.
Doctors with special training in cosmetic surgery should be Reference board-certified Opens New Window by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Take your time finding a cosmetic surgeon that you like and trust. Ask your doctor for recommendations. And contact the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for a list of qualified surgeons in your area.
You will have a greater chance of being happy with the results of cosmetic surgery if you find a cosmetic surgeon who listens to you and understands what you want to achieve. People differ in what they consider an "ideal" face, nose, breast, or body type. Your and your doctor's vision of what is ideal may not be the same. Make sure that your doctor understands what you want. Also remember that cosmetic surgery is done to enhance your own appearance and not necessarily to duplicate that of someone whose physical appearance you admire.
It is important to understand and accept what can and cannot be achieved with cosmetic surgery, based on your skin or body type, age, medical history, the surgeon's experience, the limits of technology, and other things. A good cosmetic surgeon can help you understand how these things affect your cosmetic surgery options.
Any licensed medical doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgery, but the levels of training and experience in cosmetic surgery vary widely. For your own safety, avoid doctors who are not board-certified, and look for a cosmetic surgeon with a lot of experience. Doctors who most commonly do cosmetic surgery and procedures include:
- Reference Plastic and reconstructive surgeons Opens New Window. These doctors are board-certified specialists in cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery and have multiple years of training in these fields. All members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- Reference Otolaryngologists Opens New Window, also called ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists. Many of these doctors have additional training in cosmetic surgery of the head and neck and may belong to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
You may also check the credentials of any Reference outpatient surgery center Opens New Window that you are considering, to make sure it is safe and reliable. Look for clinics that have a well-established track record for good results and high-quality service, and avoid those that do not. The facility should be licensed by the state in which it is located and accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization. To check a facility's accreditation status, contact the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Plastic Surgery Facilities (www.aaaasf.org), the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (www.aaahc.org), or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (www.jointcommission.org).
Other sources of helpful information include consumer health groups, people who have had cosmetic surgery, other doctors, books and articles, and the Internet. But do not put too much trust in before-and-after photos you may find on the Internet. Some may have been altered by computer or are likely to represent an extremely positive result, not necessarily a typical result. In either case, before-and-after photos on the Internet may give you a false impression of the results you can expect.
Cosmetic surgery is not an emergency procedure, so there is no reason to rush into it. Do not be pressured into making a quick decision. Get as much information as you need to feel comfortable about your decision. Don't be afraid to get a second and even a third opinion, especially if you are not completely comfortable with your first doctor visit.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Keith A. Denkler, MD - Plastic Surgery