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Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

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Choosing a Plastic Surgeon:

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

For those considering plastic surgery this is the most important step you will take.

Think about it.

Your plastic surgeon will see you without clothes; will alter your physique or facial structure in some significant way - AND will have your very life and well-being in his or her hands.

Considering that – choosing a plastic surgeon correctly is well worth the expenditure of time and effort to do it right.

So let's talk candidly about some of the kinds of information you will need to gather to make the best possible choice in plastic surgeon.

Step #1 – Choose a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon.

A. What does Board Certification Mean?

To obtain a recommendation by the American Board of Plastic Surgery candidates must first meet the following criteria:

  1. A physician has completed four years of medical school and one year of non-specific residency.
  2. The physician must have completed 4 – 5 years of general surgery residency.
  3. An additional two years of plastic surgery training is required.
  4. The doctor must pass extensive oral and written exams.
  5. Once all four criteria above are met – then the American Board of Plastic Surgery will consider a candidate for its recommendation. After receiving the Board's recommendation – a surgeon is officially considered "board certified" in plastic surgery.

Choosing a plastic surgeon...

These surgeons have spent a significant amount of time gaining surgical experience and demonstrating professional competency in a variety of ways.

For this reason – "board certification" is a good place to start when choosing a plastic surgeon.

Step #2 – Choose a Surgeon Who Doesn't Have Negative Actions Against Her.

Be sure to visit the State Meical Board's website(s) for every state in which your surgeon is licensed to practice medicine.

You should be able to quickly find the current status of:

1. A doctor's medical license,

2. Actions the Medical Board has taken against the individual,

3. AND any malpractice complaints that may have been initiated by former patients.

A. What are "Negative Actions"?

The disciplinary powers that a particular State Medical Board has will vary from state to state. However most Medical Boards have the power to take one of more of the following "Negative Actions" against a doctor:

  1. Reprimand
  2. Suspend their medical license
  3. Put a doctor on probation
  4. Permanently revoke a doctor's medical license
  5. Limit the doctor's scope of practice to certain procedures

B. What are some behaviors that will prompt a Board to take action against a doctor?

Actions taken by a particular Medical Board can arise for a variety of reasons – some of which include the following behaviors:

  1. Inappropriate prescribing
  2. Unlicensed activity
  3. Sexual misconduct
  4. Mental illness
  5. Patient endangerment
  6. Alcoholism and drug addiction
  7. Fraud
  8. Failure to meet continuing education requirements
  9. Conviction or a crime
  10. Unprofessional conduct

Step #3 – Do an internet search for your doctor plus the term "malpractice suit".

Many state Medical Boards will not give you details concerning a doctor's medical malpractice suits. One way to handle this is ask a potential surgeon point-blank about any previous medical malpractice suits.

However, many of us women are hesitant to take actions that make other people uncomfortable. So for us it's important to be able to independently verify the nature of any malpractice suits and how they were resolved.

Since the internet is a well-spring of malpractice information - start there.

Step #4 – List Three Surgeons Who Pass All Criteria.

Once you find a board-certified plastic surgeon with a clean record – try to find at least two more equally-qualified surgeons.

A. Interview to determine which surgeon is best.

Some important questions for you to ask your 3 surgeons include:

  1. Does you have local hospital privileges? - Be sure to double check this information with the actual hospital. Many doctors who practice cosmetic procedures won't have local hospital privileges because they don't meet certain minimum requirements for practice at that facility.
  2. How prepared are you for emergencies? – Be sure that the facility has a crash cart for cardiac emergencies, a properly trained anesthesiologist, and protocol for transferring patients to the emergency room.
  3. Is the surgical facility properly accredited? – If your procedure is going to be performed in an office setting be sure to check with the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities website to determine whether that facility meets basic requirements.

Step #5 - Choosing a Plastic Surgeon.

Once you have thoroughly researched three plastic surgeons and their facilities, AND have interviewed each one – you are ready to make a decision.

Ultimately the best surgeon is the fully-qualified individual who makes you feel the most comfortable and inspires your trust and confidence. Hire that person for the job.

You HAVE to Watch This:

Dr. Angelchik discusses - Choosing a Plastic Surgeon...

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon References:

  • Campbell, Denise. "Dying for Perfection." Black Enterprise 39.ll (2009). 64. Health and Wellness Resource Center. Web 19 Dec. 2009.

  • Papadakis, Maxine A., Carol S. Hodgson, Arianne Teherani and Neal D. Kohatsu. "Unprofessional Behavior in Medical School is Associated with Subsequent Disciplinary Action by a State Medical Board." Academic Medicine 79.3 (2004) 244+. Web 12 Apr. 2010.

  • Tammelleo, A. David. "Caveat when you represent you are 'board certified'. (Medical Law Case of the Month)." Medical Law's Regan Report 40.7 (July 2007): 2(2). Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale. Web 20 Jul. 2009.

  • Cohen, Gary, Doublas Paternak, and Betsy Streisand. "When liposuction goes wrong, the result can be deadly." U.S. News & World Report 128.7 (2000): 56. Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale. Web 20 July 2009.

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