How to Select a Qualified Plastic Surgeon

Cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is a very popular subject these days. Make a search on the internet for cosmetic or plastic surgery and you will get millions of results - web sites of plastic surgeons of different nationalities, various procedures available, advice for cheap plastic surgery, before and after photos, celebrity patients, clinics and surgery travel packages for various countries, news from around the world, and more.

There is an increasing number of individuals from all walks of life who undergo cosmetic surgery each year. How should someone considering plastic surgery select a plastic surgeon and make an informed decision? Patients considering cosmetic surgery should know that choosing the right surgeon is the single most important decision they will make. Today, many doctors perform cosmetic plastic surgery but not all of them have trained as plastic surgeons. Once doctors get their medical degrees, they may practice any specialty, even if they have not completed advanced training in that field. And so, a doctor who performs cosmetic plastic surgery is not necessarily trained as a plastic surgeon. He may have merely observed the procedure or taken a short course or workshop. To ensure the best results for the surgery you are considering, choose an authentic plastic surgeon with the specialized training and experience that is necessary for the success of your surgery.

As you visit the websites of plastic surgeons, they should provide you with basic information about plastic surgery and the various procedures available. You should be able to find information about the surgeon's formal training and experience. From the website, you should also be able to get an idea about the surgeon's basic approach and philosophy on cosmetic surgery and patient care.

Training

Select a surgeon who has completed at least five to six years of formal training in plastic and reconstructive surgery in accredited training hospitals. This includes three to five years of general surgery residency and two to three years of plastic surgery residency. In the Philippines, these doctors are either board-eligible or board-certified by the Philippine Board of Plastic Surgery. Doctors who have completed residency training in plastic and reconstructive surgery are the only doctors who can rightfully claim to be plastic surgeons. Many doctors who perform cosmetic surgery procedures are board-certified in specialties other than plastic surgery or may even lack such credentials.

Experience

Good credentials provide a reasonable indication of a doctor's qualification to perform cosmetic surgery, and should serve as the basic starting point. Patients should then ask the surgeon about his experience. How long has he been in practice and how many times has he done the procedure you are considering? The broader your surgeon's experience, the greater your chances for a successful surgery.

Hospital Privileges

Another factor to consider is whether the surgeon has hospital privileges. Before a hospital grants privileges to physicians, they usually require certain standards of training and competence to be met. Although many cosmetic surgery procedures may be safely done in outpatient clinics, others should only be done in a hospital setting. It is best to choose a surgeon who has hospital privileges.

Consultation

Find a plastic surgeon whom you feel comfortable with. You should be able to communicate easily with him, ask him all your questions and discuss your needs and expectations. Make sure you have all the facts you need in order to make an informed judgement.

A good plastic surgeon should be able to evaluate whether you are a good candidate for the surgery you are considering. He should be able to educate you about your options and give you advice about the best technique for your needs. If there are less invasive or non-surgical procedures that could fulfill your needs, the surgeon should be able to tell you about them.

Realize that pre- and post-operative photos of the surgeon's patients can be useful in helping you understand the surgery but are no guarantee that your results will be similar. Every individual is different.

Beware of any doctor who tells you there are no possible risks involved in surgery. There are always risks, and these should be discussed frankly.

Never allow a doctor to talk you into any procedure you don't want. A reputable plastic surgeon will let the patient suggest what he or she wants done and then advise them on what is or is not possible.

Be skeptical of any doctor who seems to avoid talking about his or her training and professional qualifications.

Price

Although price is definitely a factor when considering elective surgery, don't "bargain shop" for plastic surgery. Any surgery is still surgery and has some uncertainty and risk involved. When price is the primary factor for choosing a plastic surgeon, risks increase. The success of your surgery is largely dependent on your choice of surgeon and professional qualifications and experience should be your main consideration in selecting your plastic surgeon. Even when you go to popular clinics where a number of surgeons practice as a group, take a look at the qualifications of the particular surgeon who will be handling your case.

Good plastic surgeons may charge relatively affordable fees, especially if they practice in Asian countries like the Philippines, where cost of living expenses are low and if they can keep overhead costs low by having modest outpatient surgery clinics. But think twice if the surgeon you're considering charges much lower than other plastic surgeons in the same country. Especially if the procedure to be done is in the face, like a rhinoplasty (nose surgery), blepharoplasty (eye surgery) or rhytidectomy (face lift), you could end up having to stare at your "cheap" doctor's mistakes in the mirror every day. No wonder there are also so many searches made for "awful plastic surgery".

Dr. Carlos Lasa Jr. is a Filipino plastic & reconstructive surgeon who trained at the University of the Philippines, Institute of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Georgia, USA, & Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Ohio,USA. He is currently based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, rhinoplasty (noselift), breast augmentation, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), rhytidectomy (facelift), and more. For more information about having affordable cosmetic plastic surgery in the Philippines, visit his site at http://www.cosmeticsurgeryphil.com or email [email protected]

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