One of the most important decisions you’ll make when considering cosmetic surgery is who will perform your procedure.
When considering cosmetic surgery, patients are almost always with mixed understanding between “cosmetic surgery” and “plastic surgery.” For this reason, they may easily believe board certification in plastic surgery evidence a physician’s competence to perform cosmetic surgery.
Many physicians use the term “cosmetic surgeon” loosely even though they are not specifically trained or certified in Cosmetic Surgery.
A patient seeking cosmetic surgery should know that a fellowship-trained cosmetic surgeon, who specializes in the procedure you are seeking, is the most qualified surgeon to perform your cosmetic surgery. A “fellowship” is an elite qualification that only a small percentage of surgeons performing cosmetic surgery can claim.
The fact is that many different specialities contribute to the field of cosmetic surgery. Other surgical specialities such as Otolaryngologists, Ophthalmologists, Maxillo-Facial Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons perform cosmetic procedures to enhance their reconstructive work and they all have contributed to the knowledge in this field.
For example, a dermatologist discovered the tumescent technique of liposuction which has made liposuction much safer and therefore one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed today. There is no one primary medical background that exclusively offers the best training for every cosmetic surgery procedure. Training and experience are the keys.
Therefore when considering cosmetic surgery, you should seek the surgeon that specializes in the procedure you are interested in.
Choosing the right cosmetic surgeon for you
Qualified cosmetic surgeons will welcome your questions about their background and be pleased that you are concerned enough to ask. Here are some guidelines to assist you in selecting a qualified cosmetic surgeon:
- First, figure out what you want to improve about yourself
- If unsure, interview a few doctors since there are different ways of performing a procedure
- Ask about the surgeon’s experience with the procedure you are considering
- Ask how many procedures of this kind has the surgeon performed and how many does he/she currently perform per year?
- Look at before and after pictures and make sure that it is theirs. This may give you some indication of the surgeon’s ability.
- Ask about previous patients that you can speak with regarding your procedure(s).
- Ask about the anaesthesia and the facility. Find out who will be administering the anaesthesia and where will the procedure be performed.
- Make sure that you are comfortable with the personal rapport between you and your surgeon. In addition, you should feel at ease with the staff. You should always feel that your concerns are being addressed.
Is your surgeon certified by the Board of Cosmetic Surgery?
While there are several certifying boards that claim that their members have special qualifications in cosmetic surgery such as The American Board of Plastic Surgery and The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, no certifying board requires demonstration of knowledge as extensive as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. This is the only board that deals exclusively with cosmetic surgery.
A Diplomate of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is a must:
- Have satisfactorily completed speciality residency training and be board certified in their original surgical speciality as recognized by the board (Plastic surgery, General Surgery, Otolaryngology, Maxillo-facial surgery, Oculoplastic surgery).
- Complete a one to two-year fellowship concentrated solely in cosmetic surgery.
- Have performed at least 100 documented cosmetic procedures after their fellowship in the year leading to certification.
- Pass a stringent two day oral and written examination.
- Be of good moral character.
Becoming a Diplomate of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is a significant professional achievement and honour. Diplomates must strive to represent the high ethical and moral standards of the ABCs and to support the Board activities for the advancement of the speciality of cosmetic surgery.
Diplomates agree to adhere to the ABCS and AMA guidelines regarding the ethical practice of cosmetic surgery, including advertising and representations to the public, and to practice the highest standard of patient care and safety at all times.