Plastic surgeons are entrusted not just with patients’ health, but also with their long-term appearance. The work they do has lasting impact. Because of this, it is imperative that men and women who want an aesthetic change ensure that they make the right choice in a plastic surgeon. Philadelphia-area double board certified facial cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr. Timothy M. Greco has five suggestions for anyone considering a procedure—and the person who will perform it.
1) Education Matters
Every plastic surgeon should have a curriculum vitae (a CV, for short), which lists their relevant accomplishments, available for review. Many display it prominently on their website, giving patients easy access to the most vital and relevant biographical elements. Dr. Greco particularly recommends noting where they obtained their medical degree, followed by where they performed their internships, residencies, and fellowships. Look for education relevant to their plastic surgery specialty—as well as more focused training, if applicable. As a facial cosmetic plastic surgeon who performed a head and neck surgery residency, Dr. Greco emphasizes the importance of choosing someone who focused their training on what they now offer. Put simply, anyone seeking a rhinoplasty would be well served by selecting a surgeon who made the nose, face, and head an integral part of their education.
2) Experience Matters, Too
Beyond a quality education, a healthy CV should list significant experience in work at hospitals and universities. Typically, more detailed bios are also available, and these can feature more in-depth information about a plastic surgeon’s experience in the field, citing anything from pioneered techniques to practices opened to areas of particular focus. Look for an established history in the field, as well as evidence of years spent actually working directly with patients. Also important is a commitment to continuing to gain experience, as well as share the benefits of that experience with others.
3) What Do Others Think?
There are two groups of people whose opinions anyone considering a plastic surgeon should seek out: fellow professionals and past patients. First, doctors singled out for recognition by their peers are those who have gained respect and acclaim in the field, which does not typically happen unless they have built a solid reputation on a foundation of quality work. Of course, the proof is in the results. Testimonials reveal what satisfied patients think of their surgeries and the surgeon who handled them. These are generally curated by the practice, so they are uniformly positive. Still, they are genuine expressions, so take note if they are scarce. Some plastic surgeons will connect interested patients with past patients if asked, for a more personal glimpse into the practice details.
4) See For Yourself
In addition to hearing from past patients, anyone considering a plastic surgery should be able to see examples of their surgeon of choice’s previous work. Many practices make before-and-after galleries available on their websites, offer to show prospective patients case photos during or after a consultation, or both. This is one of the best ways to get a sense of a plastic surgeon’s capabilities. No one will be able to exactly replicate the results seen in any of the photos, but the images will show everything from how the doctor keeps features in proportion to whether scars are visible or not. A patient can get a good sense of what sorts of results to expect if choosing this surgeon.
5) Do You Click?
Finally, the right plastic surgeon for someone will “click.” That means patients should feel that the person they are choosing to guide their transformative journey listens, understands them, and has made sure they feel informed, safe, and confident in their decision. Surgery is an intimate process, so the partnership between patient and surgeon should be solid and natural.