You should be extremely cautious and careful when choosing plastic surgeons for your desired procedures. Selecting the wrong plastic surgeon might lead to undesirable cosmetic results or complications necessitating a revision, i.e., you may need another surgery to revise/ fix the outcomes of the primary surgery.
Even if you don’t undergo revision surgery, you may end up with cosmetic results that don’t align with your expectations.
When looking for plastic surgeons, you’ll naturally visit their websites for information.
However, navigating a website can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what to look for. In this article, we provide three valuable tips to help you decipher a plastic surgeon’s website.
1. Hit the Gallery First. It’s ½ of What Matters.
You must look for plastic surgeons who have performed hundreds, if not thousands, of the procedure you want. Like all skills, plastic surgeons gradually hone their skills through experience.
Plastic surgeons who have performed hundreds of procedures are more likely to have come across unique clinical situations, making them more capable of addressing unique situations that fall outside the norm.
The best way to assess a plastic surgeon’s experience is to explore their gallery. All plastic surgeons should have exhaustive galleries with up-to-date before-and-after images of their patients.
The gallery should ideally be arranged by procedures, so you can explore images from your desired procedure.
Since all procedures involve unique skills and specialties, there’s no point in looking at breast augmentation images if you want a rhinoplasty.
While exploring the gallery, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the images recent?
- Are there lots of images?
- Do they have images of your procedure?
2. Study the Surgeon’s Credentials.
You should look for board-certified plastic surgeons.
All plastic surgeons can practice if they’ve graduated from a medical school, completed mandatory internships and residencies, and passed their state-licensed examinations. However, board-certified plastic surgeons undergo further sub-specialty training and examinations to distinguish themselves in specific sub-specialties within plastic surgery.
This allows board-certified plastic surgeons to distinguish themselves as leaders in their fields.
Board-certified plastic surgeons are held to higher standards of excellence than other surgeons. When exploring a surgeon’s website, look for information on their board certifications. You can usually find the term “board-certified” highlighted prominently on the homepage. If you can’t find it loud and clear on the website, they’re probably not certified.
You can also read about the plastic surgeon’s certifications. Most plastic surgeons are board-certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). But some surgeons may be certified by other organizations, such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
Please Note: Board-eligible isn’t the same as board-certified. The term “board-eligible” merely indicates the surgeon is eligible to undergo the certification process. It doesn’t indicate that they’ve been certified.
3. Read Reviews, Both On- and Off-Site
Your surgeon’s site may already have a collection of past patient’s reviews being pulled into their website automatically. Read enough of these to get a feel for what patients appreciated about the surgeon and his work, as well as what caused patients to rate the surgeon poorly.
If recent reviews aren’t automatically being pulled into his or her website, visit as many of the following as you need to to feel confident and comfortable in your choice of surgeon.
It’s also important to understand that no surgeon (and particularly a plastic surgeon, since they offer elective cosmetic procedures paid for out-of-pocket) who has been in practice for any length of time will NOT have at least one or even several very negative reviews.
Yes, you should read these. No, you probably shouldn’t let them significantly alter your opinion of the surgeon. This is something that will likely become quite real to you as you continue to search for a plastic surgeon: No surgeon is exempt from poor reviews (or lawsuits), and to look for one who has neither poor reviews nor a lawsuit is, in most cases, going to wind you up with a surgeon who just established their practice.
This is the nature of elective cosmetic work. Not everybody is pleased with their results, and those who aren’t are understandably quite vocal about it. It’s usually in your best interest to weight these reviews in relation to the number of higher-star (better) reviews the surgeon has.
4. Consider Your Need for Concierge Services
If you’re flying in for surgery, you should look for a surgical facility with a dedicated concierge service.
The plastic surgeon’s website should have a page dedicated to concierge services. The page should highlight the unique features of their concierge service and highlight the best hotels and attractions in the area. Ideally, the website should also have discounts for local attractions, hotels, and restaurants. This indicates that the plastic surgeon receives enough out-of-town patients that local businesses have made arrangements with them.
When exploring the website, look for the following details:
- A page dedicated to concierge services.
- Information on nearby hotels and dining spots.
- Discounts for local attractions.
5. Find Out About Financing
Finally, and practically, you’ll want to review what plastic surgery financing options the surgeon accepts. There are a variety of well-established financing options available and each is worth considering. What is not worth considering are plastic surgeons who want to be paid up front and in full prior to the procedure, since this is almost a sure sign that rather than a well-established, certified, and ethical practice, they are likely a chop shop of sorts.
If you follow the tips mentioned above, you’ll soon find the right plastic surgeon for your specific procedure. However, instead of working with the first plastic surgeon that meets these requirements, you should consult multiple surgeons. During your appointment, ask the surgeon for specific details about your procedure, and work with a surgeon who truly makes you feel seen and heard.