Important Information If You Are Considering Surgery
I have been in the private practice of plastic surgery for 25 years. Experience alone doesn’t guarantee excellence, but it generally helps. I pride myself in the fact that unlike many of my colleagues, I don’t get stuck in a rut, doing things the same way that I have been doing them for years. Quite the opposite – I am always challenging myself to find different and better ways to achieve optimal outcomes. This approach goes beyond the actual surgical result.
I strive for excellent clinical results while at the same time minimizing complications and costly reoperations. In addition, I keep pushing the curve to keep post-op recovery or “down time” to a minimum. I don’t jump on the bandwagon of every new technique or gimmick that comes along. After carefully reviewing the available data, I make a decision of whether or not this new technique or device will positively impact my patients’ outcomes, and whether or not the additional cost can be justified over standard options. Again, this comes down to keeping the patient’s best interests at the forefront. It’s hard to make a bad choice with this approach.
Not all plastic surgeons are the same in terms of training, keeping up with new techniques, experience or outright surgical ability. Our specialty is complicated and no one surgeon can master all the areas including childhood deformities such as cleft lip and palate, burn surgery, reconstructive surgery and all areas of cosmetic surgery. We do have a certifying board, The American Board of Plastic Surgery, and at the very least you should make sure that any surgeon you are considering is board certified by this organization. There are other “boards” out there, such as the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, which is not one of the 23 Boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, or ABMS.
Buyer beware – the bogus boards are populated by “plastic surgery wannabes” with dermatologists, general surgeons, OB-GYNs, and others performing complex plastic surgical procedures without adequate training. It takes anywhere from 6-8 years to obtain legitimate training in plastic surgery. You don’t want to trust your surgery to someone who at a minimum hasn’t had lengthy and rigorous training and passed difficult, legitimate oral and written examinations by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a start, but even legitimate board certified plastic surgeons can vary widely in terms of their individual ability and expertise in the specific procedure you are interested in. You should ask about the number of cases of that procedure done per year by the surgeon you are considering, and ask about their complication rates as well. Insist on seeing before and after pictures and seek out patient testimonials.
Above all, make sure you feel comfortable with the surgeon you are considering. This is a huge decision to have someone change some aspect of your appearance for the rest of your life. If you feel like you are a being rushed through and don’t have time to have all your questions answered then maybe it’s not a good fit. We strive to treat our patients with kindness and respect and we constantly remind ourselves that this is all new to our patients and not what they do every day. In the process we enjoy the interaction and try to have a little fun along the way.
Cosmetic plastic surgery is not cheap. It is completely an out-of-pocket expense. We feel that our prices are generally competitive with the marketplace. In some instances however, we may be a little higher priced than many of our legitimate competitors. We feel that our experience, consistently excellent results and low complication rate justify our fees. Plastic surgery is not a place to go discount shopping. Don’t forget – you do generally get what you pay for. You are changing your body for the rest of your life – so this is probably not a good place to skimp.
Not a week goes by that we don’t have someone come to our office who had surgery done elsewhere “because they were cheaper” or offered a “good deal”, only to experience significant complications or poor results. They want us to fix it, and of course they now have to pay for the procedure all over again. Not such a good deal, not to mention that it is difficult to get an optimal outcome when things weren’t done right the first time. The best plastic surgeons don’t need to lure patients in with advertised discounts or “special offers”.
We can usually give an approximate range of potential costs for a given procedure over the phone. At the time of your consultation we will give you an exact quote including surgeon’s fee, anesthesia and surgical facility costs. We can also discuss some financing options that may be available.