What questions should I ask before choosing a plastic surgeon to make sure he/she is qualified to operate on me?

Bringing a checklist of questions can help ensure the safety and quality of your procedure. Questions to ask are:

1) Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
When the doctor claims to be board-certified, ask by which board. Only the ABPS is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify doctors in the area of plastic surgery.

2) Do you have hospital privileges to perform this surgery?
Some surgical procedures can be performed in the doctor’s office or other outpatient facility but it is important to find out if the doctor has operating privileges in an accredited hospital for the same procedure you are having. Before granting operating privileges, hospital review committees evaluate a surgeon’s training and competency for specific procedures.

3) Where will you perform my surgery?
if it’s in an office-based facility, ask if it’s accredited. Most states don’t require ambulatory or office-based facilities to be accredited, but voluntary application can be made to an accrediting body such as the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. Such accreditation means the facility has met strict requirements and denotes a high standard of care.

4) How many procedures of this type have you performed?
Also ask what training has been completed, especially in new techniques. Ask to see certificates of training.

5) What are the risks involved with the procedure?
There are risks with any surgical procedure. Find out what they are, how often they occur, and how they will be handled if they do occur.

6) What is the expected recovery time?
Be sure to discuss postoperative restrictions on activity and typical time periods for resuming work.

7) What is your policy on surgical revisions?
Some cases may require revisions to achieve the desired results. Find out about any costs for which you may be responsible.

8) How much will the surgery cost?
Cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance, and payment usually is required in advance. Costs include the surgeon’s fee and fees for the surgical facility and anesthesia. Other possible costs are the preoperative physical and blood work, medications, surgical garments and private-duty nursing.

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