What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon
Once you’ve decided you’d like to consider plastic surgery, the next step is to find the right plastic surgeon. The entire process, from choosing a surgeon to seeing your end results, can be exciting and even a bit overwhelming. But if you take a little time in the beginning of the process to carefully choose the right plastic surgeon, you can be sure that your experience will be as comfortable and stress-free as possible. When looking for a plastic surgeon, try to keep the following 5 qualities in mind to ensure great results.
As with any professional field, education is the first step toward becoming a plastic surgeon. So when researching your options, pay attention to things like the quality of their medical school and whether or not they had to meet residency requirements in order to graduate. According to the American College of Surgeons, “residency training in plastic surgery is designed to educate and train physicians broadly in the art and science of plastic and reconstructive surgery and to develop a competent and responsible plastic surgeon with high moral and ethical character capable of functioning as an independent surgeon.” (American College of Surgeons)
Because residencies can offer this added value and experience to medical school requirements, it’s a good idea to check your prospective plastic surgeon’s biography for mentions of residencies in his or her areas of interest. At Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, for example, Dr. Brian Heil received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as well as completed a five-year integrated residency training program in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as a fellowship in Micro Surgery and Thrombosis Research from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
2. Board Certification
Equally as important as finding a plastic surgeon with high-quality education and residency experience is making sure that he or she is board-certified. When a physician is board-certified, that means that he or she has gone a step above simply obtaining his or her medical license. According to the American Board of Medical Specialties, medical licensure “sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, [but] it is not specialty specific.” A board-certified plastic surgeon, on the other hand, “demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.” (The American Board of Medical Specialities)
If the plastic surgeon you’re considering is board-certified, you will most likely see mention of it on his or her website. Dr. Brian Heil of Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology lists his two-year board certification through the American Board of Plastic Surgery right in his “about” section.
Looking for things like the right education, residency, and certification can help you gauge the type of experience your plastic surgeon has, but you also want to make sure that he or she has ample experience performing the type of procedure that you’re looking for. If you’re interested in a thigh lift, for example, you should choose a plastic surgeon who has performed that same procedure before and feels comfortable doing it. Even though a plastic surgeon may be well-known for his or her ability to perform facelifts, but has never done a thigh lift, that person may not be the right surgeon for your needs. (The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery)
4. Before-and-After Photos
This is related to experience in that seeing before-and-after photos of the previous work a particular plastic surgeon has done can help you to get a better idea of how experienced they are performing that procedure. It will also give you an idea of what your results might look like should you choose that surgeon. Keep in mind, though, that because everyone’s body responds slightly differently to surgery, you can’t expect your own results to look exactly like those in the pictures, but before-and-afters can help you to get a better idea of the quality of the work the surgeon does.
5. Communication Style
Finally, even the most qualified plastic surgeon may not be the best fit for you if you don’t feel comfortable working and talking with him or her. It’s crucial that you feel able to clearly discuss your goals and address any questions or concerns you have during your consultation. Your plastic surgeon should make you feel comfortable and relaxed, and should also be able to offer you advice on how to best achieve your specific goals. So when you’re looking for the right plastic surgeon, don’t be afraid to make a few phone calls or even schedule a consultation before you make your final decision.
The Bottom Line
With so many options available, the process of choosing a plastic surgeon may at first seem a bit daunting. But as long as you do a little research keeping these 5 qualities in mind, you can be well on your way to choosing the perfect fit.
If you’d like more information about a particular procedure or are considering plastic surgery in Pittsburgh, please feel free to contact Dr. Brian Heil at Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology at 724-264-3608 to set up a consultation. Dr. Heil would be happy to discuss your goals and the details of each procedure you’re considering. He is committed to providing an educational, comfortable experience for each of his patients.