Thinking About Plastic Surgery? The Top Consideration

Whether you are interested in a face lift, breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck, or a less invasive cosmetic treatment, the goal of plastic surgery is to enhance your appearance and quality of life. There are many considerations to factor in when thinking about plastic surgery and the process can get confusing. 

However, one thing should be self-evident- The most important factor in optimizing your safety and results is the quality of your plastic surgeon.

Plastic Surgeon Experience

The level of training and experience among doctors providing plastic surgery varies greatly. Indeed, some doctors perform plastic surgery procedures without completing any formal residency training in plastic surgery. Real plastic surgeons complete medical school and residency programs that focus on plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons also become certified by a specialty medical board. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board certifying plastic surgeons that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Board certified plastic surgeons also have hospital privileges to perform plastic surgery procedures, ensuring that the plastic surgeon’s training and credentials have been reviewed by his peers.

Why Are Non-Plastic Surgeon Allowed To Do Plastic Surgery?

The regulation of doctors is essentially left up to the individual states. The governmental regulation of physicians is rooted in a century of tradition, back to the days (before most of us were born) when medical knowledge and procedures were limited and doctors were “jacks of all trades.”  Medical knowledge and technology have exploded in the last fifty years, leading to the logical specialization of doctors into well-defined areas of practice. Patients understand this very well- When their child is sick they go to a pediatrician and when they have a broken bone they go to an orthopedic surgeon. 

However, the State of Oregon does not recognize the highly specialized nature of medicine and surgery and does not limit the scope of practice of individual doctors. Doctors in Oregon can advertize and perform essentially any procedure on any willing patient- regardless if the doctor has training and expertise in the procedure

Patients Beware

Many prospective patients are not aware of the freedom that physicians have in treating patients. Many patients assume that if a doctor offers a procedure then the doctor must have formal training and board certification in that procedure. This is simply not the case. There are doctors that advertise and perform plastic surgery even though they have no residency training in plastic surgery. The only way for patients to protect themselves is to understand the certification process and ask critical questions of their prospective surgeon.

Here Are the Key Questions to Ask

  1. Has the doctor performed residency and/or fellowship training in the procedure?
  2. Is the doctor board certified in plastic surgery or another related specialty in which the procedure is taught during residency training?
  3. Does the doctor perform the procedure on a regular basis?
  4. Does the doctor perform the procedure in an accredited surgery center or hospital?

Go Beyond Minimum Standards

The above key questions are the minimum screening criteria to use and serve as a good start for finding a plastic surgeon. But, this is only the beginning. The next step is in everything else that occurs in meeting the surgeon, staff, seeing the facilities, and undergoing the consultation. Everything must be first rate. If not, go to other surgeons until you are satisfied that you have found someone that will provide the highest quality of care. 

Cosmetic Surgery is Life Changing 

This is your body. Take your time and do your homework. Beware of slick advertisements, billboards, and outrageous claims of amazing results. Make an informed choice before letting anyone operate on you.

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