How to Avoid Choosing the Wrong Plastic Surgeon

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Whether it involves who you choose to date or who you opt to hire, trusting your gut is a big part of any decision. You should never ignore that little voice in your head that tells you something is amiss.

The process of finding a plastic surgeon is no exception. Sometimes the interaction with a prospective surgeon just feels “off” — you might not be able to put your finger on what’s wrong. On the other hand, sometimes there is a giant red flag that suggests there could be trouble in the future.

The stakes are much higher with plastic surgery than they are with dating or job interviews. Ignoring your gut instinct or a red flag when consulting with a plastic surgeon could jeopardize not only your results but also your overall safety and well-being.

Below, Dr. Ronald Schuster reveals red flags that could indicate you should avoid a plastic surgeon at all costs.  

The surgeon lacks the proper credentials.

The number one red flag to look out for is lack of credentials — most importantly, certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify plastic surgeons. The surgeon should also be a member in good standing of professional organizations like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If a surgeon cannot provide proof they are certified by the ABPS or belong to ASPS, do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. It’s back to the drawing board!

The surgeon calls him or herself a “cosmetic surgeon” but is not ABPS-certified

Beware of someone who calls him or herself a “cosmetic surgeon”  without being board certified by the ABPS, or who says that he/she is certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Any surgeon can call him or herself a cosmetic surgeon, and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

The surgeon does not operate in an accredited facility.

Where the surgeon operates on you is incredibly important. Whether your surgeon operates in an ambulatory care center or an office-based facility, the facility should be properly accredited. This ensures the facility meets strict standards for safety, equipment, staffing and surgeon credentialing. If you are having a large or long operation, the surgeon should operate in a facility with overnight nursing care.

Having hospital privileges is a good indicator that a plastic surgeon has excellent qualifications to practice, since hospitals are quite strict about who they allow to operate in their facilities.

You’re not on the same wavelength.

Clear communication is key. Make sure you and the surgeon are on the same page, and that they are not rushing you into anything. They should want to know about your medical history, desired outcomes, personal preferences and lifestyle to get an understanding of who you are and what you want to achieve, and to make sure your requested procedure is the right fit for you. Their recommendations and explanations should make sense to you, and alternatives should be discussed. They should be available to answer your questions in person or over the phone or email. Great surgeons are never too busy not to return a phone call or email!

Your personalities don’t mesh.

You don’t need to become friends with your plastic surgeon, but you should feel comfortable enough to be candid about your concerns. You should get the sense that your surgeon is listening and not rushing you through the process.

The surgeon doesn’t have any great photos or reviews.

You can get a good idea of a plastic surgeon’s work and personality through his photo gallery and patient testimonials. A lack of good photos of patients with issues similar to yours should set off alarm bells in your head. So should a lack of reviews from happy patients.

The prices are dirt cheap.

When it comes to plastic surgery, you get what you pay for. Steer clear of plastic surgeons that offer bargain basement prices or Groupons for surgery. Experienced plastic surgeons may run specials, but they won’t discount their services by much. It’s smarter to spend a little more up front to get the best result the first time rather than cut corners and ultimately spend more money correcting bad results.

Things seem too good to be true.

Unfortunately, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is always going to be some degree of risk in plastic surgery. And, an experienced surgeon knows that perfection is not the ultimate goal; instead, they strive for improvement. If a plastic surgeon overpromises you perfect results with no risk, you should avoid them at all costs.

The surgeon or staff tries to “upsell” you.

Your plastic surgeon may recommend you consider adjunct or complementary procedures to enhance the results of the procedure you are interested in. But an ethical plastic surgeon will not push you into anything you don’t want to do, nor will they recommend procedures that have no relation to what you want.

Contact Dr. Ronald Schuster

To schedule a consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Ronald Schuster, please call (410) 902-9800 or email our office today.