Choosing A Cosmetic Surgeon

One of the most important decisions one can make when deciding to have cosmetic surgery is choosing the right doctor to perform the procedure. When considering cosmetic surgery, patients are almost universally unaware of the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. For this reason, they can easily be misled to believe that board certification in plastic surgery is essential as evidence of a physician’s competence to perform cosmetic surgery. This is not always the case, as many plastic surgery training programs do not offer extensive training in cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery involves the restoration of deformities that may be congenital or have occurred after a traumatic accident, a burn or cancer surgery. Cosmetic surgery is purely elective and involves enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the patient.

A patient seeking cosmetic surgery should know that 80% of cosmetic surgical procedures are not performed by plastic surgeons. There are many specialties involved in performing cosmetic surgery. They include oculoplastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, ear, nose and throat surgery, facial plastic surgery, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dermatology and even gynecology. Most surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery realize there is a distinction between plastic and cosmetic surgery.

A fellowship trained cosmetic surgeon specifically specializes in cosmetic surgery and may be the most qualified surgeon to perform your surgery. Fellowship training in cosmetic surgery is a unique qualification that only a small percentage of surgeons performing cosmetic surgery can claim. A surgeon who has chosen post-residency fellowship training has completed a focused and intense program in an area of particular interest. This underscores the surgeon’s commitment and dedication to becoming highly skilled in that area.

A qualified surgeon should welcome questions about their background and be pleased that you are concerned enough to ask. Here are some guidelines to assist you in selecting a qualified cosmetic surgeon.

  1. Decide what it is you want to improve about yourself.
  2. Consider interviewing several doctors prior to a procedure. There are many different ways to perform different procedures.
  3. Ask about the surgeon’s experience with the procedure you are considering.
  4. Ask the surgeon how many of these procedures he actually performed during his training. For example, there is a large difference in the skill set one gains after performing 40 facelifts as opposed to 5 or 6.
  5. Look at the surgeon’s previous patients before and after pictures. This may give you some indication as to the surgeon’s ability.
  6. Ask to speak to previous patients that have undergone the procedure you are interested in having performed.
  7. Make sure you are comfortable with the personal rapport between you and your surgeon. In addition, you should feel at ease with the staff. You should always feel that your concerns are being addressed.
  8. Finally, it might be helpful to consider the surgeon’s “word of mouth” reputation for performing quality work.

My staff and I are dedicated to providing our patients with the highest standard of care combined with personal attention, and privacy in a safe and comfortable environment. We welcome your questions and look forward to helping you in your decision making process.

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Dr. Bailey has been invited to speak at the 35th Annual American Society of Cosmetic Breast Surgery Workshop. This meeting will be May 3-6 in Newport Beach, California. ...Read More »

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