Finding a cosmetic
surgeon that you have confidence in and are comfortable talking to is extremely
important when you are considering
cosmetic surgery or procedures. You and your doctor
can work together to build a treatment plan that both meets your needs and is
You may want to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon. Many cosmetic surgeons offer free or low-cost consultations. Sometimes a consultation fee is applied to the cost of the surgery.
No other single thing may influence the results of cosmetic
surgery as strongly as the doctor's level of experience. Don't be afraid to ask
about the doctor's experience with the procedure you are
considering. Request before-and-after photographs of other people who have had
the procedure done. And ask to see the worst results as well as the typical and
Doctors with special training in cosmetic surgery
should be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the
American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Take your time finding a cosmetic surgeon that you like and trust. Ask your
doctor for recommendations. And contact the American Society of
Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive
Surgery, or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for a list of
qualified surgeons in your area.
You will have a greater chance of
being happy with the results of cosmetic surgery if you find a cosmetic surgeon
who listens to you and understands what you want to achieve. People differ in
what they consider an "ideal" face, nose, breast, or body type. Your and your
doctor's vision of what is ideal may not be the same. Make sure that your
doctor understands what you want. Also remember that cosmetic surgery is done
to enhance your own appearance and not necessarily to duplicate that of someone
whose physical appearance you admire.
It is important to
understand and accept what can and cannot be achieved with cosmetic surgery,
based on your skin or body type, age, medical history, the surgeon's
experience, the limits of technology, and other things. A good cosmetic
surgeon can help you understand how these things affect your cosmetic surgery
Any licensed medical doctor can legally perform cosmetic
surgery, but the levels of training and experience in cosmetic surgery vary
widely. For your own safety, avoid doctors who are not board-certified, and
look for a cosmetic surgeon with a lot of experience. Doctors who most commonly
do cosmetic surgery and procedures include:
- Plastic and reconstructive surgeons.
These doctors are board-certified specialists in cosmetic surgery and
reconstructive surgery and have multiple years of training in these fields. All
members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are board-certified by the
American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- Otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose, and throat
(ENT) specialists. Many of these doctors have additional training in cosmetic
surgery of the head and neck and may belong to the American Academy of Facial
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
You may also check the credentials of any
outpatient surgery center that you are considering, to make
sure it is safe and reliable. Look for clinics that have a well-established
track record for good results and high-quality service, and avoid those that do
not. The facility should be licensed by the state in which it is located and
accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization. To check a
facility's accreditation status, contact the American Association for
Accreditation of Ambulatory Plastic Surgery Facilities (www.aaaasf.org), the
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (www.aaahc.org), or the
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
Other sources of helpful information include
consumer health groups, people who have had cosmetic surgery, other doctors,
books and articles, and the Internet. But do not put too much trust in
before-and-after photos you may find on the Internet. Some may have been
altered by computer or are likely to represent an extremely positive result,
not necessarily a typical result. In either case, before-and-after photos on
the Internet may give you a false impression of the results you can
Cosmetic surgery is not an emergency procedure, so there
is no reason to rush into it. Do not be pressured into making a quick decision.
Get as much information as you need to feel comfortable about your decision.
Don't be afraid to get a second and even a third opinion, especially if you are
not completely comfortable with your first doctor visit.