Five Criteria For Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon & Surgery Facility

by Monica Keller - Date: 2007-04-12 - Word Count: 648 Share This!

There are a number of diverse factors to consider when you are choosing a plastic surgeon and surgery facility. Naturally, surgical experience and training are the most important considerations as far as the doctor is concerned, while the facility would be graded on how up to date the equipment is, the cleanliness and orderliness of the operation, and so forth.

Of course, you have a of help in making these assessments, although you should do as much personal investigating as possible, including doctor consultations and visits to the outpatient surgery centers you are considering. Although there are numerous factors to consider, the following five criteria will help make your decision a bit easier, and steer you in the right direction for other information.

1. As previously stated, when choosing a plastic surgeon there are a number of factors to be considered, but medical training and surgical experience are still the first qualifications you want to establish. The first step is to interview the surgeons. Don't be afraid to ask questions about where they went to school, where they did their internships and residencies, etc. If you want to look into a doctor's credentials a bit further, and find out about any past or pending malpractice judgments and/or disciplinary actions, just call, visit or log on to the Web site of your state's medical association.

2. Although there is no one factor that can guarantee your getting the best doctor for the procedure you want, board certification is usually an indication that surgeons are involved in ongoing education in their specialties. Not all societies or boards are the same, so you will need to research these as well. There are three major boards related to plastic surgery:

a. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certifies doctors in plastic surgery on the entire body. These surgeons have the highest levels of training, as well as the highest standards of certification for plastic surgery done anywhere on the body, including breast augmentation, reconstructive surgery and facelifts.

b. The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) restricts its certification to doctors performing facial plastic/reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. The board certifies that the doctors are expert in procedures specifically involving the head, face and neck.

c. The American Board of Otolaryngology (ABO) provides certification to surgeons specializing in otolaryngology, meaning conditions and diseases of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, head and neck.

For any questions about a doctor's board certification, you should visit the Web site of the American Board of Medical Specialties at This group has 24 different boards as members, which offer doctors certification in almost 90 different special practices.

3. Each doctor's individual practice should be looked at carefully. You should ask to speak with former patients, ask about any recent negative outcomes, talk to the medical staff and check out the doctor's business ethics record with the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau. Also keep the doctor's actual patient pool in mind. If you discover that the doctor performs primarily cosmetic procedures or laser hair removal, you may wish to extend your search if you are contemplating eye surgery or a complex reconstruction of some kind.

4. Some plastic surgeries are performed in a hospital, but more and more often they are performed in a surgeon's office, surgical center or other facility. Any facility other than a hospital at which surgery takes place has to maintain quality standards set by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF). You can confirm that a particular facility is accredited with a quick visit to the Surgery Facilities section of the AAAAS Web page.

5. Because hospital privileges require that a physician's ability be reviewed by his peers, it is essential that you ask the doctor about his standing at local and regional hospitals. You can also contact these hospitals directly, and ask about the doctor's privileges, as well as what procedures those privileges cover.

Related Tags: cosmetic surgery, laser hair removal, cosmetic procedures, cosmetic laser surgery

A doctor could have privileges for cosmetic procedures but not be certified to use the laser equipment, or the other way around. Make sure you find out what the hospital considers the doctor's strengths, as well as any weaknesses.

In the final analysis, it is up to you to determine which doctor is best suited to help you achieve you unique goals and expectations. With the growing popularity of laser hair removal, LASIK eye surgery and other outpatient surgery, it is fairly easy (and financially tempting) for doctors to look and sound like "qualified plastic surgeons." It is no less than a matter of your continued good health that you learn about a doctor's education, experience, ongoing training, patient outcomes, board certification and standing among his colleagues. A good place to start finding qualified providers for cosmetic surgery is through a search on a site like

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