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How to choose the right Plastic Surgeon

Time Required: 1-3 months
Here’s How:

Don’t just start calling numbers in the Yellow Pages. This is a person who will be cutting into your body (or face!) If you’re ordering a pizza, random selection is okay…but there’s a reason plastic surgeons don’t deliver!

Do ask around. If you have friends who have had plastic surgery, or even friends who know someone who has had plastic surgery, this is the perfect place to start. If you don’t want to ask loved ones because you’re trying to keep your query on the DL, then online forums are another good bet. Our plastic surgery forum here at is a good place to start.

Do set up AT LEAST three consultations and DON’T sign anything until you’ve kept all three appointments. This is not only a decision-making process, but also an educational one. As you go along, you’ll think of things to ask the second and third surgeon that you may not have thought of with the first. Personally, I recommend setting up 5-7 consultations, but three is the absolute minimum.

Do ask lots of questions and take lots of notes. Create a folder or binder in which to place all of the info you gather. This will be invaluable when comparing your choices later.

Do bring pictures with you. In these days of internet accessibility, you have no excuse for inadequate research. Visit Plastic Surgeon’s websites, and print out before and after photos of results that you like and of results that you don’t like. If you can print some from your own surgeon’s website, do so, and place them in your binder together will all of that surgeon’s information.

Do take everything into account when comparing your choices. These factors can include: the surgeon’s qualifications and experience, his or her talent (as judged by viewing many, many pictures of the surgeon’s work), the surgical facilities and staff, references, fees and financing options, guarantees (will the surgeon offer a free “touch-up” if you are not completely satisfied?).

Do check your surgeon’s credentials and call references. Verify whatever certifications are claimed by your surgeon, and be sure to actually contact any references he or she supplies. The importance of this step cannot be stressed enough. To ignore this would be like buying a home without a home inspection—CRAZY!

Don’t ignore the psychological aspects of your decision. Did you feel truly comfortable and safe with the surgeon? Did you like his or her bedside manner? Did you feel like a “number”, or like the surgeon truly cared about your unique needs and concerns?

Don’t base your decision solely on price. It’s true that there are many wonderful surgeons offering reasonable fees, and there are some so-so surgeons charging an arm and a leg. However, if there was ever a time to keep in mind the old adage, “You get what you pay for”, that time is now. I’ve always followed a simple rule: I immediately eliminate both the most expensive AND the least expensive from my search, along with any others that are absolutely out of the question in terms of affordability. Then I weigh in all my other factors with whatever options are left.

Do include your loved ones in your decision, but make the decision that you can live with. If you have a partner, there are many reasons why it’s important to talk over this decision. There will be issues having to do with finances, comfort level, safety, after care, and possible emotional repercussions. These matters warrant thoughtful discussion. Also, if you’re a minor, you will need to discuss everything with your parents, especially since the procedure will require that you have their express written consent.

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