Caveat Emptor

One important task to making sure you’re choosing the right cosmetic surgeon is to check credentials. Are they certified with their respective governing board? Does she specialize in a certain procedure and meet all the qualifications for that specialty? A doctor who performs rhinoplasty may not be the best breast augmentation specialist. You’ll never know unless you take the time to do the research yourself. Don’t leave this to chance and your friend’s recommendation from three years ago. The medical profession changes constantly and doctors must always clamor to keep up with the changing standards.

To expedite your research, both before and during your initial consultation, follow these general guidelines:

  • What’s the doctor’s primary expertise? Don’t let them tell you they are a “jack-of-all trades”. Every surgeon specializes in something. Find out exactly what.
  • Ensure that the surgeon has performed a substantial number of cosmetic surgery procedures.
  • Once you’ve found out their area of expertise, find out how many procedures they’ve completed. You’re looking for total number of procedures-both successful and unsuccessful. How do you find out if a surgery was unsuccessful? Ask! As a potential client, you have every right to ask about not so successful procedures. While the doctor probably won’t go into details-patient confidentiality of course-he should give you an answer that at least makes you feel comfortable. You’re not asking for a confession here. Just an honest answer.
  • What kind of equipment is in the office? Ask to look around. What’s the vibe you get when you walk into a room (if the procedure is performed in the office)? Does the equipment look like it walked of a bad 1990s movie? Or does it look state of the art? I think we all know when something is outdated and old technological wise.
  • How much will it cost? Don’t wait until the last-minute with deposits paid to ask how much the procedure will cost-the grand total cost with everything added in. If it’s performed in a hospital, fees can add up very quickly. Just ask. Most doctors expect you to ask!
  • Looks at pictures of previous patients from a pre and post operation perspective. Most offices will allow you to look through before and after pictures. Again, don’t put this off. Know what you’re getting into.
  • Any type of surgery, including cosmetic, has its assumed risks and complications. Don’t let the doctor dismiss you off-hand. Don’t assume you won’t be the 1% that ends up with a botched job.
  • And last, but not least, make sure the doctor will be part of your post-op care.