How to Choose the Best Doctor for Breast Augmentation
Choosing the right plastic surgeon for breast augmentation can be challenging. When patients do not know what to look for, they can end up making a poor choice based on incorrect assumptions. As a result, they may not achieve the desired look may have to turn to more surgery to correct the issues. When choosing the right surgeon for breast augmentation it is important to look at all of the following:
- Board Certification: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) strongly advocates seeking a breast augmentation choose a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Many times surgeons will boast other certifications; however, it is important to understand that not all certifications carry the same meaning. In an interview with MSN, Dr. Peter B. Fodor, former president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), states that often, “…physicians will state on the Internet that they are board certified when they are not.” Dr. Fodor strongly urges patients to verify their physicians credentials by calling 1-888-272-7711 or visiting www.surgery.org.
- Experience: Board certification is an indication of proven experience. According the American Board of Plastic Surgery, “[certification] includes a minimum of five years residency training in all areas of surgery, including at least two years devoted entirely to plastic surgery.” Surgeons will often highlight their accomplishments in the field of plastic surgery. As with anything, it’s always important to double check and verify that what the surgeon is saying is true.
- Peer Recognition: This is a very powerful way of determining excellence in a surgeons skill over and above such things as patient reviews which can be either fake or solicited. There are several types of peer recognition that indicates a surgeon has legitimate peer recognition. First of all if a surgeon has been asked to teach other surgeons at national and regional meetings. Secondly if the surgeon has been voted into a leadership position in a national society. Thirdly,and most importantly, if the surgeon has been voted in by his peers into the American Association of Plastic Surgery(AAPS). In contrast to the professional societies the American Society of Plastic Surgery(ASPS) , or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery( ASAPS), the “Association” is the true and ultimate honor society for plastic surgeons. Membership in AAPS is only available to those who have “made a significant contribution to the field of plastic
surgery” and then is voted in by other plastic surgeons. Other awards that may be listed on various web sites may actually be fake awards such as “The Patients Choice Award’, “ The Most Caring Physician Award” , and so on . These awards are sold to doctors for false advertising on their website but look legitimate like a doctor was actually given an award by a legitimate consumer’s group. However, legitimate awards are better indicators than even patient reviews.
- Consultation Thoroughness: The consultation is arguably the most important step before breast augmentation. This is the time to form a relationship with the surgeon set pre-surgery expectations. According to The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, “The consultation is an important opportunity for questions to be asked and answered. It should include a candid discussion of risks as well as benefits of the surgery. A thorough consultation also involves a review of medical history including any existing medical conditions. All these factors help the surgeon to custom-tailor the operation to best meet the needs of each patient.” a pitfall that many patients fall into during this part of the selection process is allowing a surgeon with a great personality disguise a poor track record of problems.
- Before & After Pictures: Most surgeons will display before and after pictures on their website, as well as show them to patients during their consultation. Before and after pictures are a great indication of a surgeon’s experience and proven results. Many times, comparing before and after pictures of several different plastic surgeons can be beneficial to patients when determining which surgeon to go with. However, keep in mind that usually you are only seeing the best results.
- Track Record (malpractice suits): One way to check a surgeon’s record is to see if there have been any malpractice suits filled against the surgeon.. ImplantInfo states, “Malpractice suits don’t necessarily mean a doctor has problems, but according to the Sun Sentinel, state officials in Florida consider three medical malpractice judgments against a doctor within five years to be a warning sign.” Keep in mind anyone can sue anyone for anything so just the action itself means nothing. However, a conviction may be important.
- Reviews: There are several patient review websites which highlight actual testimonials from patients who have received breast augmentation from specific surgeons. Unfortunately there are now services that sell fake positive reviews to surgeons and it is impossible to tell them apart. Also some surgeons actually post positive reviews about their own practice. A company called Lifestyle Lift had to pay a large fine a few years ago due to employees posting positive reviews on their own site. One tip off that this may be occurring is If a surgeon has nothing but an extensive list perfect reviews, then that is unlikely that everyone is always happy with everything about a certain practice. So, be careful not to fall for that. Also be sure that the reason for any negative review, if present, is something that is directly related to an important issue. Sometimes patients post negative reviews just for something trite such as having to wait in the waiting room
too long. Really? Wouldn’t you rather go to a guy who has a wait for his services? Reviews therefore are a very superficial guide to selection of a surgeon.
- Word of Mouth: This the most reliable way of choosing a surgeon because the experience is valid and not potentially created artificially online. In addition the result of the patient can be verified in 3D if they are amenable to that. Photos online, while helpful, are still a poor substitute for reality. In addition you have the opportunity to ask all the questions you like in most cases. Prior to the internet this was the best way to get information and from a reliability standpoint it still is. Some surgeons offices have a list of patients who have volunteered to serve as as a resource for other patients seeking surgery at that practice. Be sure to ask if there are patients you can speak to personally if you have no other word of mouth resource.
- Hospital Privileges: On rare occasions patients must be admitted into the hospital for severe complications following their breast augmentation. Therefore, it is very important that a plastic surgeon has hospital admitting privileges. ImplantInfo recommends verifying the surgeon’s in-office operating suite in accredited by the American Association for Accreditation for Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. In addition the surgeon should have hospital privileges for the same procedures they provide in the office since the hospital vets credentials thoroughly.
- Facility Accreditation: When undergoing a breast augmentation, surgeons will chose to perform the procedure in either a hospital setting or a day surgery center. The ASPS strongly urges patients to undergo breast augmentation in an accredited facility. ASPS states, “An accredited facility is one that must meet strict national standards for equipment, operating room safety, personnel and surgeon credentials.” By choosing a surgeon who uses an accredited facility, the patient is more likely to experience a much lower rate of serious complications and may be able to take advantage of lower costs.
- Cost of Procedure: As with most things in life, cost can be a huge factor in the choice of breast augmentation surgeon, but it should never be the determining factor. If a surgeon is offering breast augmentation for a lower than average price for the market, be cautious. Plastic surgey is like everything else in that you usually tend to get what you pay for. Don’t bargain with your body. But also don’t assume just because one surgeon is is charging higher fees that he/she is a better surgeon. Always do the homework.
- Office staff: While the office staff have little to do with your final result, they do make your life easier. So, if all things are equal otherwise, choose the office where you feel more comfortable and they have been personal, informative, and friendly. If you are just a number in a big cattle call it might not be a great experience.