Finding Dr. Right is just as important as avoiding Dr. Wrong says Fort Lauderdale plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Wigoda. When researching a plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon, there are several key factors that should be taken into account in your decision-making process. You need to choose a surgeon that is right for you, your personal needs and expectations. You want to ensure that you have an unparalleled outcome both aesthetically and personally, as your doctor becomes your “beauty partner,” enhancing your appearance physically and emotionally.
One of the first places to begin is with family and friends: who can they recommend? What were their outcomes? Take a moment to speak with your current medical professionals. Who can they suggest and why?
Eight Tips to Finding Dr. Right for Plastic Surgery
1. Know the lingo
Doctors can now become weekend “certified” in many different types of procedures and have created their own terms which are NOT recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Many doctors understand that cosmetic surgery is big business, big dollars and want market share. “Cosmetic Surgeon” and “Anti-Aging Specialist” are two terms that have been coined by the industry, yet are unrecognized by the ABMS. You might even notice your OB-GYN is now doing Botox.
2. Advertising does not buy credentials
In most cases, a good doctor does not need to have major advertise campaigns on billboards or radio stations– it is word of mouth that drives their business. That is not to say a doctor should not let his potential patients know about his awesome track record through testimonials and sharing his expertise with the media as a means to educate the public. Paid print media does not make a doctor qualified.
3. Get different opinions
Meet with several doctors to discuss your plan and your options. It can be overwhelming but knowledge is power.
4. Stay away from the online forums
Often times the patient reviews are not actual or authentic. Many times doctors write the testimonials under assumed screen names. Be wary. Legitimate testimonials can typically be found on Google reviews, YouTube, Yelp, etc.
5. Be realistic about the recovery
Some doctors will downplay the recovery time. Know what to expect in real terms. You may be able to go back to work in just a few days, but will you want to? Today’s recovery time in many cases can be much easier and quicker when in the right care, but keep in mind surgery is surgery so have realistic expectations.
6. Review online and offline images
Keep in mind that some doctors have a fine-tuned finesse with Photoshop. If all of the after pictures look more like Joan Rivers, then run. Look at the details, carefully and with a critical eye. Does the surgeon over-operate or under-operate. Be careful and don’t just assume that the photos have not been retouched. None of Dr. Paul Wigoda’s pictures are enhanced or use Photoshop.
7. Your weight
When thinking about a facelift for example, many doctors will not want to perform the procedure on an obese person as there is only so much that can be lifted or tightened. These results will impact the surgeon’s reputation and if it does not look perfect, it is not a positive reflection on their skills. In addition, they are also concerned about the heart health and wouldn’t want to lose a patient on the table. Take care of your weight before you begin seeking surgical opinions.
Make your appointment and get started with your journey towards plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery or non-surgical cosmetic services such as Botox or fillers.
Dr. Paul Wigoda is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Broward General Hospital and has a private practice offering plastic and reconstructive surgery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Note: Parts of this article originated in Departures Magazine January 2012 issue.