Plastic surgery is booming. A combination of an aging baby boomer demographic, greater disposable income, affordable surgery and greater awareness, have all contributed to an increase in both surgical and non-surgical enhancements.
Patients are able to enjoy improvements to their face and body appearance like never before. However, along with the highly publicized successes of plastic surgery, there exist pitfalls and drawbacks that patients need to avoid. We call these the dirty little secrets of plastic surgery.
Part 1: Choosing the “Best” Plastic Surgeon
The relationship between patient and plastic surgeon is unique. It is different from any other doctor-patient relationship. Plastic surgery patients choose to have elective, medically unnecessary surgery. However, even elective surgery can carry risks and potential complications. Therefore, selecting the right surgeon is the first step towards self improvement. I like to define the “right” plastic surgeon in terms of 3 components; training, experience and personal compatibility.
Training at a top medical school and university residency program is a valuable foundation for any physician in practice. Plastic surgery training is broad and diverse and includes birth deformities, burn care, hand surgery, trauma and cancer reconstruction, as well as, of course, cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgeons may focus their practices on any of these areas. However, only a small percentage of doctors are able to sustain a successful word of mouth, cosmetic surgery practice. Many must rely on heavy advertising, “free consultations” (more about that later) and cheesy car dealer-type “discounts” in order to keep their waiting rooms and surgical schedules full.
Another accolade some offices rely upon to lure patients is a “Voted the Best” designation. However, these doctors are usually “Voted the Best” by the very magazine they are advertising in. Cute, but plastic surgeons are not like pizzerias. Patients don’t usually have a facelift with every surgeon in town just to see who’s “the Best”.
Castle Connolly/U.S. News & World Report conducts a nationally recognized survey each year to identify Americas Top Doctors. This survey seeks the opinions of physicians and healthcare leaders to choose the top 1% of physicians in each specialty. It is an independent, blinded survey, so doctors do not, and cannot, buy their way onto the list.
Finally, it is important for a patient to choose a plastic surgeon who takes the time to listen and perform a thorough and honest consultation. It is often difficult to get that kind of personalized attention in factory style plastic surgery centers. However, unlike bad pizza, bad plastic surgery can’t be cured the next morning. So take your time, have multiple consultations, and choose wisely. Remember, it’s your face and your body, don’t compromise.
About the Author:
Dr. Perez is a graduate of The Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has been selected among Castle Connolly/U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Top Doctorsevery year since 2000 (again for 2012-2013). He has lectured internationally and been featured as a plastic surgery expert for major media outlets. A limited number of personalized consultations are offered by appointment only.