Choosing A Surgeon
I Want a Good Plastic Surgeon — What Credentials Should I Look For?
Recently patients have been asking online what constitutes elite credentials for cosmetic plastic surgeons. To sort this out, you need to look at education, residency training, the portfolio of work as shown by before and after images, and the environment of care. First, education. Look for a surgeon who has attended a top tier medical school and graduated at or near the top of their class. Also, look for membership in Alpha Omega Alpha, or AOA, the medical honor society. This society recognizes both academic achievement and leadership amongst the graduating senior class. AOA is to medical universities what Phi Beta Kappa is to undergraduate colleges. Next, look at training. Look for formal surgical training at a prestigious university medical center. The minimum number of years of training to achieve board certification in plastic surgery is five. However, some surgeons have as many as ten years of formal surgical training. I think the most important thing for the consumer to understand about surgical training is this: training in surgery truly is an apprenticeship. The kind of surgeons that one trains under really influences profoundly the kind of surgeon that one becomes during residency training. There truly is no substitute for stellar academic and practical training in surgery. Next, the portfolio of work that the surgeon shows in before and after photographs should really speak for itself. Before and after photographs should be shown from similar perspectives with identical lighting, and the before and after images truly should be comparable.Lastly, the environment of care. The elite plastic surgery experience extends beyond the surgeon to include both the surgical facility and the surgical team. The facility should be accredited by one of the recognized accrediting bodies in the United States. The Joint Commission, or JCAHO, is a national organization that accredits hospitals and hospital OR’s, and it is widely regarded to have the strictest requirements for accreditation. Other organizations include the AAAASF and AAAHC. Make sure at least one of these organizations has accredited your surgeon’s center. Some surgeons elect to have more than one body accredit their center to show patients their devotion and dedication to providing the safest possible patient experience. Look who will be assisting the surgeon during your procedure. In my practice, we choose to have an MD board certified anesthesiologist with the patient from the start to the completion of every cosmetic surgical procedure. Look at the team who will be assisting the surgeon, which should include: certified surgical technicians, experienced RN’s serving as circulating nurses, and the center should also have a certified sterile processing technician. If you research carefully, and look at education, residency training, the portfolio of work and the environment of care you can find a surgeon who will provide you with the elite cosmetic surgical experience.