A successful surgical outcome depends on a variety of factors, including the patient’s initial health, the plastic surgery procedure itself, and the quality of aftercare. But perhaps no other factor is more important to getting optimal results than choosing the right surgeon.
As the person performing the actual surgical procedure—from a rhinoplasty to a facelift to a tummy tuck to a breast augmentation—the surgeon literally holds a patient’s aesthetic well-being in his or her hands.
There is no margin of error when it comes to a patient’s face or body. Choosing the right surgeon means patients can move forward with confidence, knowing that health and safety are a priority, that quality results matter, and that everyone involved in the surgery is working with the same goal in mind: to deliver the best possible results that will provide a lifetime of benefit.
Why Choosing the Right Surgeon Matters
A plastic surgeon represents more than just the person holding the scalpel. Choosing the right surgeon means you’re also choosing the right:
• staff. A quality surgeon will be aided by a loyal and competent team of professionals, all working to provide a top-notch experience—from the receptionist providing honest information up front to the anesthesiologist in the operating room. Before making a decision to go with a particular surgeon, get to know the staff and hear what they have to say about the person they work for.
• surgical facility. The best surgeons work in the best environment, whether that be the community’s hospital or a private surgical suite. Find out where a doctor you’re considering performs surgeries and why. What sort of equipment is available? How modern is it?
• long-term care. Your surgery doesn’t end when you step out of the office and head home. The best plastic surgeon for you will schedule follow-up visits and provide thorough, easy-to-understand aftercare instructions to ensure that your surgery heals properly to provide the best-looking results and ongoing good health.
Connecting with the Right Surgeon
Not all plastic surgeons are created equal. Choosing the right surgeon involves more than finding the practice nearest you or even seeing who has the best online reviews. Positive feedback is certainly a plus, but what works for one patient might not work for another.
It’s important to find a surgeon with whom you feel a connection—someone you can be honest and open with about why you want to make a surgical change to your appearance. You should find someone who will listen. The best surgeons treat each patient as an individual, working with the stated goals to create an overall plan of treatment as opposed to moving forward with whatever request comes in the door.
In other words, the best surgeon for you might recommend a different procedure than the one you came in seeking. That’s because choosing the right surgeon means finding someone with the experience, overall knowledge, communication skills, and compassion to hear what your ultimate aesthetic goal is and to get you there via the safest, most effective surgical route.
What to Consider in Choosing the Right Surgeon
As noted above, it’s important to get to know a plastic surgeon’s staff. In choosing the right surgeon for you, you should also seek out patient feedback and references related to the surgeon you’re considering. Positive testimonials indicate a surgeon with good people skills as well as technical know-how.
Also, you should ask to see before-and-after pictures illustrating whatever procedure it is you’re looking to have done. While your results will obviously differ from anyone else’s, photos of what prior patients looked like when they arrived at the practice versus what they look like once they healed post-surgery can give you a good idea of a surgeon’s technique, methods, and eye for aesthetics.
Finally, choosing the right surgeon should definitely include scheduling an in person, face-to-face consultation. Spending some time with a prospective surgeon— even just half an hour—can tell you a lot: Does this surgeon listen or talk more? Take your goals into account or seem to push a particular procedure? Care about informing you of possible risks, side effects, and complications or brush aside worries and concerns?
Remember: This is your body, and you’re making the final call when it comes to approving the person who’ll bring about the changes you want to happen. Choosing the right surgeon means choosing the best possible future for yourself.