Doctor ConsultationBy Michael Dobryansky, MD, FACS

Plastic surgery involves many choices. The first and most important is selecting a surgeon you can trust. Asking questions and providing information to your doctor will improve your care and outcome. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, safety, and satisfaction. If you find a doctor you truly connect with and can communicate well with, these other factors should be secondary concerns.

Safety is paramount
Safety is always the #1 concern for any kind of surgery. Surgery shouldn’t take too long or be too aggressive. Medical clearances are needed so that your physicians can decide if you are healthy enough to proceed with the desired surgery. Prolonged time in the OR can put you at risk for complications, therefore multiple surgeries may be needed to reach your goal. Ensure the plastic surgeon operates in a certified surgical facility, such as AAAASF (also known as “Quad A”). Certified operating facilities are equipped with medications and devices in the event of an complication or emergency.

Confirm that the plastic surgeon is board certified or board eligible
In order to maintain membership with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), it is required that surgeons are constantly being recertified via continuing medical education credits and patient safety courses.

In addition, choosing an ASPS Member Surgeon ensures that you have selected a physician who:

    • Has completed at least five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years in plastic surgery
    • Is trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures, including breast, body, face and reconstruction.
    • Operates only in accredited medical facilities.
    • Adheres to a strict code of ethics.
    • Is board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Inexpensive plastic surgery can be costly
When it comes to elective cosmetic surgery, cost should not be the deciding factor in which doctor you go with. We discussed the importance of making sure your surgery takes place in an accredited medical facility. This highly important safety factor may come with increased costs. The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF) ensures the highest quality of standards in the Operating Room. Accredited facilities have been inspected and have met 100% of the standards set by AAAASF for accreditation. This certification means dedicated staff members are maintaining safety standards, and a significant investment is made to ensure that all safety items in the “crash cart” are current and viable in the event that they are needed. In addition, all staff on site are highly trained and competent to act in the event of an emergency.

The doctor’s education, training, and skill, along with safety maintenance, come with a cost. These are all factors to take into consideration when considering your surgical investment.

Quality health care is a team effort and you play an important role. One of the best ways to communicate with your doctor is by asking questions. Because time is limited during medical appointments, you will feel less rushed if you prepare your questions before your appointment. You can always ask to speak with the plastic surgeon’s other patients. Take your time, do your homework, and only proceed if you feel absolutely comfortable.