You’ve decided to have cosmetic surgery. Great! Now, how do you go about choosing the right cosmetic surgeon?
Just as you check to see whether the electrician you hire to rewire your kitchen is certified, you want to make sure the surgeon you choose for cosmetic surgery is board certified. Beyond checking for a license by a state medical board, you’ll want to make sure that the surgeon you go to is specifically trained in the procedure you want, according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Cosmetic surgeons have different subspecialties, so you’ll want to check to see whether they are trained in your procedure. Questions you may ask include:
- What is your training in this procedure?
- How many years have you been performing this procedure?
- How many times have you performed this procedure?
You may also want to assess the cosmetic surgeon’s aesthetic sense by examining before and after photos, paying particular attention to patients who have similar qualities to you (don’t feel shy about taking a selfie to your cosmetic surgery consultation to refer to). Check the consistency of the surgeon’s work in patients who have had similar procedures to the one you want.
How well do you like the cosmetic surgeon and the support team? You’ll want people who have your complete trust, because surgery is a serious matter! Do you like going into the cosmetic surgeon’s office? Likewise, you’ll want to meet the anesthetist and make sure the operating facility is accredited and equipped with key life support systems, in case something goes wrong.
To help those considering cosmetic surgery, the ABCS has created a handy, downloadable Compare-a-Surgeon Checklist.
Ask friends for cosmetic surgeon referrals
You trust your friends with your deepest, darkest secrets and they trust you with theirs. So go ahead and ask Ashley where she went for her face-lift or Jennifer how well she thought her eyelid surgery went. Your primary care physician also might be able to make a referral, or if you know any surgical technicians or operating room nurses, ask them, too. Here are some questions to consider while you’re asking around:
- Is the surgeon friendly while being confident and professional?
- How much did the surgery cost, including surgeon’s fee, operating room, anesthesia, etc.
- Can you see before and after pictures of other patients?
- How well does the surgeon take questions and are the answers understandable and realistic?
- What is the financial responsibility if another surgery is needed?
You should also discuss in depth whether the surgeon considers you a good candidate for the cosmetic procedure or cosmetic surgery you want. What will be expected of you before and after the procedure? You should be fully informed of any issues that might affect the results of cosmetic surgery.
Don’t be shy – ask questions!
Each time you consult with your cosmetic surgeon, think of it as a job interview and come fully prepared with a list of questions to ask, face to face. Write the questions down, so you don’t forget to ask something. Your cosmetic surgeon should be comfortable answering any question you have.
Many patients feel uncomfortable asking about costs of cosmetic surgery, but this isn’t the time to hold back. Some health plans don’t allow for certain cosmetic surgeries, so you’ll want to know what you will pay for. Sometimes, there’s financing for certain procedures or products. And you may be able to combine a couple of cosmetic surgery procedures and get a break.
Dr. Mikel Lo of About Faces Cosmetic Surgery has trained at the country’s most prestigious institutions, from Stanford University for his bachelor’s degree to the University of Nebraska’s College of Medicine, where he was awarded the Regent’s Scholarship for academic excellence. He completed his internship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and his residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. To master the art of cosmetic surgery, Dr. Lo completed two fellowships, in ophthalmic and facial plastic surgery at the Arizona Centre Plastic Surgery and general cosmetic surgery at the Anderson Plastic Surgery Center.
Dr. Lo, who is an expert in ophthalmic plastic and facial cosmetic surgery, is a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and the American Board of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Lo and his staff at About Faces Cosmetic Surgery are happy to answer any questions you might have about the cosmetic procedure that interests you. Call for a consultation today!