Aesthetic surgery is completely elective. If you’ve decided to undergo a cosmetic procedure, you’ve done so because you want to, and not because you need to. Moreover, when you select your aesthetic surgeon, you are investing your discretionary income in a free market in which advertising and the media can be very influential. Nevertheless, aesthetic surgery is still surgery. The prospect of undergoing any type of surgery can be daunting, and your confidence in your surgeon is of utmost importance. In order to make the best decisions regarding your health, well-being, and appearance, it is vital to educate yourself and look beyond the media hype.
Unfortunately, there are some marketing-happy surgeons out there who will say whatever it takes to sell their services. Cosmetic industry moguls, in particular, are masters at making the results of a procedure or product seem attractive, striking, and desirable, because those are the attributes that sell. Of course, this would be fine if the selling points were based on science, medicine, or fact. All too often, though, they are not.
What’s more, it’s become very popular to market the “latest and greatest” thing – whatever that might be. But, it is important for a prospective patient to keep in mind that the newest procedures or technologies are always the least proven. In order to understand the true value of something, it is necessary to observe its performance over time. Therefore, by default, a brand new product or procedure is unproven, and thus experimental. While slick, flashy advertising about the “latest and greatest” thing might be suitable for food or fashion, it is completely inappropriate for cosmetic procedures that affect people’s health and lives.
Finally, some “surgeons” offer certain cosmetic procedures without having the proper background to perform them. These practitioners are not plastic or reconstructive surgeons; rather, they might come from completely different fields. For example, they could be pediatricians, family practitioners, gynecologists, or even dentists who attended a few seminars on a new product or technology. Oftentimes, these seminars are sponsored by the very same parties who manufacture or sell the subject products or technologies, and thus can hardly be considered to be unbiased.
Guidelines for Choosing a Qualified Aesthetic Surgeon
As you do your research, it might be difficult to differentiate the good medicine from the marketing hype. Here are some guidelines to help you choose a qualified cosmetic surgeon:
• Inquire about the surgeon’s qualifications and experience. Keep in mind that any licensed physician can call him- or herself a “cosmetic surgeon,” so it is essential to confirm that you are being treated by a properly trained and certified surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
• Find out if the surgeon specializes in the type of surgery you are seeking and, if so, the number of procedures he or she has performed, and over what period of time.
• Ask about the surgeon’s complication rate, the most common complication he or she encounters, and his or her reoperation rate.
• Finally, follow your instincts. If you feel uneasy around a particular surgeon for any reason — or no reason — you should probably continue your search.
Consult with an Experienced Surgeon
When you choose an aesthetic surgeon, you entrust him or her with your health and well-being. A qualified surgeon will know the field and have the training and experience necessary to understand new techniques and products and evaluate their expected effectiveness and outcomes. Together, you can make decisions based on objective, impartial, and well-proven data to achieve your desired aesthetic result.
Katie Perry is an online content editor in the Tampa Bay area. She posts articles about plastic surgery topics, including tips on how to select a plastic surgeon