Choosing a plastic surgeon
WHAT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN WHEN SELECTING A PLASTIC SURGEON?
Be sure you select a surgeon with formal surgical training which was focused on plastic and reconstructive training. Now more than ever, it is critical for anyone considering plastic surgery to evaluate the surgical training and background of the surgeon in order to ensure safety and optimal outcomes. The popularity of plastic surgery is soaring – and more and more doctors are trying to meet the demand for this specialty that has become an integral part of mainstream medicine. Choosing a doctor that is board certified in a specialty approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is the first step to ensuring quality care.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization, assists 24 approved medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians. ABMS, recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification, believes higher standards for physicians means better care for patients.
Medical specialty certification in the United States is a voluntary process. While medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Board certification—and the Gold Star—demonstrate a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.
The Gold Star signals a board certified physician’s commitment and expertise in consistently achieving superior clinical outcomes in a responsive, patient-focused setting. Patients, physicians, healthcare providers, insurers and quality organizations look for the Gold Star as the best measure of a physician’s knowledge, experience and skills to provide quality healthcare within a given specialty.
About the Certification Process
Certification by an ABMS Member Board involves a rigorous process of testing and peer evaluation that is designed and administered by specialists in the specific area of medicine. ABMS’ 24 Member Boards require board certified physicians to have periodic recertification (every 6-10 years) with a continuous ABMS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program for all specialties. MOC uses evidence-based guidelines, national standards and best practices in combination with customized continuing education so their physicians are up to date and provide quality care to their patients. MOC also requires proof of continuing education and experience in between testing for re-certification.
WHEN SELECTING A PLASTIC SURGEON, BE SURE TO LOOK FOR THE FOLLOWING QUALIFICATIONS IN YOUR SURGEON:
At least 3 years of training and experience in surgery, specifically in plastic surgery
Trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures, including breast, body, face, and reconstruction
Only operates in accredited facilities (AAAASF American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. or AAAHC Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.)
Before you have plastic surgery, meet with your American Board Certified surgeon for a consultation. During the consultation, you should discuss your goals. Your surgeon will examine you and advise the best procedure to achieve your desired results
A PLASTIC SURGEON SHOULD:
Answer all of your questions thoroughly and clearly
Ask about your thoughts to recommended treatment
Offer alternatives, where appropriate, without pressuring you to consider unneeded or unwanted procedures
Welcome questions about your procedure and his or her professional qualifications, experience, costs and payment policies.
Make clear the risks of surgery and possible outcomes
Give you information about the procedure you want
Leave the final decision to you
QUESTIONS TO ASK A PLASTIC SURGEON:
Are you an American Board Certified plastic surgeon?
Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at what hospital?
Is the surgery facility accredited?
How many procedures of this type have you performed?
Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
What will be expected of me for optimal results?
How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
Will I need to take time off from work? If so, how long?