Deciding to get plastic or cosmetic surgery is an exciting step toward achieving the body you’ve always wanted. So, what’s better than having a plan and doctor you trust?

Sometimes it’s tricky knowing how to choose a doctor. Here are six tips for deciding on a plastic surgeon.

Out-of-Pocket or Insurance?

Unless your procedure is fixing defects or health issues, insurance doesn’t usually cover plastic or cosmetic surgery. When you’re looking for a plastic surgeon, make sure you can afford the services you want. To be sure, you’re investing in yourself, but it’s important to be mindful of your finances. Some states, such as California, allow women to undergo a mastectomy for implants under their insurance. Check with your state to see whether you qualify for procedures such as these.

Board-Certified

We all want our primary care doctors to be educated and certified, right? Plastic surgeons are no different. It’s important to find one who’s certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. In the latter case, however, they must have an American Board of Plastic Surgery certification beforehand. Board certification ensures your doctor is well educated in safety and ethics. If they don’t hold any of these credentials, it’s probably best to keep searching.

Experience and Expertise

Not only is education and board certification key; the experience they have will speak volumes. When finding a surgeon, make sure the procedure you want is something in which they’re highly trained. They should have experience performing this particular procedure weekly for three to five years. This ensures your surgeon is specialized and knows what he or she is doing. When searching for a plastic surgeon, ask questions about their experience and the major surgeries they perform weekly. If the surgeon conducts the same procedure you want frequently, this is a good sign that they’ve got the expertise to perform that surgery on you.

Hospital Privileges

One of the key elements to choosing a surgeon is their hospital privileges. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “No surgeon should perform a cosmetic procedure on you if they don’t have privileges to perform that same procedure at a reputable hospital.” This lets you know whether they’re properly trained and trusted to work in a hospital setting. Consider it a red flag if they don’t have the privilege to work in a hospital. In addition, it’s important to be close to a hospital in the rare case of an emergency.

Patient Comfort

No matter the doctor, you should feel comfortable expressing health concerns, medical history, or asking questions about several topics. This applies to plastic surgeons as well. Once you’ve narrowed down your specific needs, talk to a surgeon for their guidance and expertise. Ask yourself questions about your post-consultation comfort level. A few questions to consider:

● Did the surgeon answer all my questions?
● Do I agree with their communication style?
● Is the practice welcoming?
● Was the surgeon willing to listen to my questions and concerns?

If you answer no to any of these questions, this may not be the surgeon for you. Spend time researching and talking to multiple doctors before you make your decision to ensure you’ve found the one you’re comfortable with. Pay attention to the surgeon’s communication, credentials, and knowledge, as well as the behavior of the facility’s staff.

Getting to Know Each Other

Another component of finding the right surgeon is the desire to know you as the patient. Are they asking you questions about your health history, concerns you have, or procedure options? If not, this should also be a red flag. Getting to know each other is vital to reach the trust and comfort level needed to communicate appropriately. You want to know about their history as a surgeon, so they should equally want to know about your history as a patient.

They should be attentive, taking notes, and reciprocating your interest. If they seem uninterested in your concerns, questions, or comments regarding treatments and procedures, they may not be the doctor for you. Just like any other physician you’ll encounter, you want your voice to be heard.

Ready to Start Your Journey to Plastic Surgery?

If you’re struggling to find a plastic surgeon, you’ve come to the right place. Jim Branter, M.D. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, serving Johnson City, TN, and the surrounding areas, is here to help you with every step

Give us a call at (423) 328-9000 to discuss your plastic and reconstructive surgery options!