December 11, 2007
If you are considering cosmetic or plastic surgery, do not overlook the importance of choosing the right physician. Consider these tips when researching your potential plastic surgeon:
1. Make sure the surgeon is board certified.
All plastic surgeons are not alike. Plastic surgeons that are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) are uniquely qualified and specially trained. They have been proven to provide the best patient care and have the lowest rates of complications.
Do not assume that all doctors who claim to be “board certified” have the same training. Be sure that your doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In Canada, look for a physician who is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Don’t be fooled by other professional-sounding boards.
If a doctor is certified by the ABPS this means that they are certified in plastic surgery and have met the following requirements:
The ABPS is recognized and overseen by the American Board of Medical Specialties and sets high education and training standards. To find out if your doctor is board certified, check with the American Board of Medical Specialties.
2. Check the surgeon’s record.
Track down your state’s medical board. You can find out more about a surgeon’s record from these organizations, which record any disciplinary actions against the cosmetic surgeon. Contact the board and ask for a report. Each state treats a doctor’s record a little differently. In some states you may be able to view a surgeon’s records online. In other states you have to request the information through the mail. Pay close attention to any settlements or records of disciplinary action. Also make sure that your surgeon is licensed to practice medicine within the state.
3. Ask if the surgeon has hospital privileges.
This is important because hospitals do background checks. If they don’t have hospital privileges, that is a red flag. Dr. Phil’s guest, Dr. Pearlman Hicks, says, “The hospital has balances and checks on your practice. They know what you’re doing. They know that you’re doing the right workups and that sort of thing. And also, if there’s a complication, you have a place to take your patient. Oftentimes when you’re doing surgery in an outpatient setting, there’s no place to take a patient if you can’t admit them to a hospital.”
4. Come armed with questions for your doctor.
According to The Arizona Medical Board, some questions you should ask your plastic surgeon include: