Choosing a plastic surgeon for a breast augmentation is a very important and serious decision. Having a breast augmentation is a life event, and should not be taken lightly. You should never feel pressured to make a hasty decision.
It’s very important you learn about the doctor’s education, training, certification and experience, to make the best choice.
Always remember: You are in charge.
Breast Augmentation surgery is a very personal procedure, and should be made based on your wants and needs, not someone else’s, such as a boyfriend or husband. It’s your body.
Your lifestyle should be seriously considered and discussed with your surgeon before committing to a breast augmentation procedure. If you’re an athlete or considering starting a family, for example, augmenting your breasts would not be recommended.
There are several places to begin your search for the right plastic surgeon. Referrals from friends and family who have undergone a similar procedure are good starts.
Even with a referral, it’s a good idea to go online and conduct more research. There are several websites where you can learn about a doctor’s credentials and certifications.
ANY LICENSED PHYSICIAN CAN BE CALLED A COSMETIC SURGEON
As the popularity of plastic surgery grows, more doctors are trying to meet the demands. Any licensed physician can be called a cosmetic surgeon, even without special training. A cosmetic surgeon might belong to any medical specialty, such as a general surgeon, family physician, internist, gynecologist or dermatologist. They can be self-taught, take weekend courses on placing breast implants, or have no formal training at all.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BOARD CERTIFICATION
Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons are certified by the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) and are trained specifically in plastic surgery. These surgeons have attended four years of college, then four additional years of medical school, followed by a Surgical/Plastic Surgical Residency for a minimum of six years.
FACS: FELLOW, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS
In addition to board-certification, it is very important that the surgeon has been designated FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons), a title given to practicing and established surgeons.
A FACS designation indicates the surgeon’s education, training, professional qualifications, professional competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the American College of Surgeons.
It’s also important to keep in mind that even if a doctor is a board-certified plastic surgeon, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is the right doctor for your procedure. A board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in hand surgery might not be the right choice for a breast augmentation, for example.
General anesthesia is required for your breast augmentation. This is oftentimes the aspect of plastic surgery that scares patients the most. However, the risk of serious complications from anesthesia is remarkably low when administered by an experienced, board-certified MD anesthesiologist. Always ask your surgeon who will perform your anesthesia.
COST VS. EXPERIENCE
Always remember that the price of the procedure should not be your first consideration. Finding a surgeon is not the same as shopping for a new car and getting the best deal.
MEETING THE SURGEON FOR A CONSULTATION
Once your research is complete, the next step is to make several consultation appointments.
Most plastic surgeons offer a complimentary consultation. Others charge a fee that’s deducted when you have the procedure done. Never feel that you must use the same doctor because you paid for a consultation. A reputable doctor will use the fee toward other office services, such as facials, chemical peels or fillers.
You should feel comfortable sharing your feelings, concerns and questions during the consultation. The surgeon’s communication skills should put you at ease. You should also meet their staff, who play a huge role in the entire surgical process. You should NOT feel pressured to schedule any procedure, or feel as if you’re receiving a sales pitch.
Ask to see their before-and-after photos, and ask questions about them. Point out the photos that match how you want to look, but also identify those that you think are too big or small.
Let the doctor know if you have any pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, and if you smoke, which can impact your recovery. Also ask for any recommended pre-surgery preparation.
FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS THAT NEED TO BE DISCUSSED DURING THE CONSULTATION:
- What’s included in the cost of the breast augmentation?
- Are pre-testing and laboratory fees extra?
- Are medications needed before and after? What is the approximate cost?
- Is use of the surgical facility and recovery room included?
- Are the breast implants included in the cost?
- How much is anesthesia?
- Are surgical dressings included in the cost?
These fees, if not included in the offered price, can add up quickly.
WHERE WILL YOUR BREAST AUGMENTATION PROCEDURE BE PERFORMED?
If the procedure is not performed in a hospital, ensure that the surgical facility is accredited by the AAAASF (American Association of Accredited Ambulatory Surgery Facilities), the gold standard for accredited office surgical facilities.
AAAASF ACCREDITATION REQUIRES THE FOLLOWING:
- Outpatient and office-based facilities are held to hospital standards.
- Surgeons must be board-certified and hold hospital privileges for any procedure performed in a surgical facility.
- Strict adherence to a safe surgical environment, equipment, drugs, etc., through specific standards in surgical facilities.
- The AAAASF requires peer review, and tracks medical case data within HIPAA privacy regulations.
- Accreditation specialists ensure strict adherence to the accreditation process and patient safety.
Some high-volume surgical centers offer lower surgical rates. If you’re interested in one of these facilities, ask a lot of questions before making a commitment.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- How many surgeries does the doctor have scheduled for the same day as your procedure?
- Will the surgeon you had the consultation with be the one who performs your procedure?
- Is the surgeon board-certified?
- Will your surgeon perform the entire procedure?
- Will an assistant be used during the procedure? If so, is the assistant licensed?
- How many surgeries has the doctor scheduled for the same day as your procedure?
- If your results are not what you expected, are there fees for revisions?
- Is there a time limit for revisions?
EDUCATION IS KEY TO THE BEST RESULTS
An educated patient will receive the best results, so make sure you do your research. Don’t shortchange yourself by doing only a cursory check on a potential surgeon’s credentials.
No single factor can guarantee you the best doctor for a specific procedure. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which surgeon best meets your expectations and is best suited to achieve your specific goals.