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Considering Having Plastic Surgery?
Researching Your Surgeon Key to Safety
The popularity of plastic surgery is soaring—and more and more doctors are trying to meet the demand. Any licensed physician can claim to be a plastic surgeon, so the importance of making sure your doctor is properly trained and certified is paramount.
“With ever increasing numbers of providers offering plastic surgery, it can be easy for the public to become confused about a doctor’s qualifications, and the impact it can have on their safety” said David J. Nowicky, MD, an ASPS Member Surgeon based here in Cornelius, NC. “Plastic surgery is serious and, like any operation, it carries risks.”
Dr. Nowicky is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery and the specialty’s leader in patient safety initiatives.
To help consumers have the safest plastic surgery possible, Dr.Nowicky has put together a checklist to guide patients through the process of planning for plastic surgery:
Evaluate Yourself: Prior to researching a doctor, you need to be comfortable and confident with your decision to have plastic surgery. Ask yourself questions like “Why—and for whom—am I looking to have this surgery performed?” Patients should be internally motivated to have a procedure. “What kind of results am I expecting?” Having realistic expectations is an important facet of the process. “Is this a good time for me to have surgery?” All surgery requires recovery time, both physical and mental. Patients should allow for adequate time for adjustment.
Check Your Doctor’s Board Certification: Determine if your physician is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery for plastic surgery of the face and all areas of the body. This certification ensures that the surgeon has graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of surgical residency—usually three years of general surgery and two years of plastic surgery. ASPS Member Surgeons meet these and other strict standards of education and experience.
Ensure that Medical Facilities are Safe: Everyone who chooses plastic surgery has the right to a safe procedure. Procedures should be administered in a setting with the necessary equipment and qualified medical personnel to observe patients and manage potential complications, and should be accredited by a national or state recognized accrediting agency/organization such as the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), or Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
Obtain a Medical Evaluation: Your general health can affect the results—and safety—of the plastic surgery procedure you choose. When considering plastic surgery, consult with your surgeon for an evaluation and a full medical history to determine what is most appropriate and advisable for you.
Be Informed: Talk about the procedure with trusted friends and family as well as your physician. When a treatment decision is made cooperatively between the physician and patient, the physician should explain the risks, benefits, alternatives, and reasoning for the proposed treatment, after which an informed consent document should be signed by the patient.
After you have thoroughly researched your doctor and consulted with your physician regarding your health, Dr. Nowicky encourages you to ask your plastic surgeon tough questions during your consultation:
1. Are you certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery?
2. Am I a good candidate for the procedure I am interested in?
3. Where and how will you perform my procedure?
4. What are the risks involved with my procedure?
5. Will my procedure need to be repeated?
6. How much downtime should I expect?
7. Do you have hospital privileges to perform cosmetic surgery?
8. How much will my procedure cost?
9. Are financing options available?
10. How are complications handled?
For patients actively considering plastic surgery, Dr. Nowicky recommends downloading the informational brochure, How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon, at his website, www.DoctorsWebsiteAddress.com, or at the ASPS website, www.plasticsurgery.org—which offers more detailed information on the surgical process.
Dr. Nowicky is an ASPS Member Surgeon. ASPS is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 6,700 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 90 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. www.plasticsurgery.org
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