Are You Choosing a Plastic Surgeon? 5 Red Flags

What you need to know to enjoy safe, good results from plastic surgery

plastic surgery arrows drawn on woman's stomach

Whether you are interested in a face lift, cosmetic nose surgery, liposuction, reconstructive surgery following mastectomy or some other procedure, cosmetic surgery can make you feel good.

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The right surgeon will have the skills and experience to do safe, artistic work. The wrong surgeon may not just botch the intended look – but could also cause you harm.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Graham Schwarz, MD, says when you are selecting a plastic surgeon, be watchful of these 5 red flags:

1. The surgeon is not board-certified

Look for someone who has become board-certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This means the surgeon has had at least six years of surgical training with two or three years devoted specifically to plastic surgery, has passed rigorous oral and written examinations and has demonstrated safe and ethical surgical practice.

2. The surgeon’s operating facility is not accredited

Often plastic surgery is performed in an ambulatory care center or the surgeon’s office-based surgical facility.

Either way, Dr. Schwarz says you want to make sure the facility is properly accredited. Accreditation ensures that strict standards are met for proper equipment, safety, surgeon credentials and staffing.

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3. The surgeon isn’t asking questions

Surgeons are doctors who should be treating you holistically, Dr. Schwarz says. They should take into account your medical history even if you’re seeking a cosmetic procedure.

Dr. Schwarz says, “Whether it’s cosmetic surgery or reconstructive surgery, if the surgeon isn’t asking you about your medical history and taking that into account when discussing potential treatment options whether it’s cosmetic surgery or reconstructive surgery, it should be a red flag that they’re not being thorough.”

4. The surgeon is overselling additional procedure

If a surgeon is trying to oversell – suggesting procedures you didn’t ask for or procedures with benefits you can’t understand after an explanation, then that’s a red flag, Dr. Schwarz says.

Some procedures may complement or enhance other procedures, such as cosmetic nose surgery (rhinoplasty) and chin augmentation. However, if you’re asking about rhinoplasty and the surgeon is talking about liposuction of your thighs, then you may want to find another surgeon who will better listen to and address your needs.

Dr. Schwarz says, “Ideally you want to find a surgeon who will work with you to define your goals and provide you with realistic expectations for your cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.”

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5. You’re not relating or you’re uncomfortable with the surgeon

You should feel a partnership between you and the surgeon, Dr. Schwarz says. While complications are not common, you should feel comfortable that, if something unexpected arises, this surgeon will take care of you. You may not want to move forward if you don’t feel a high degree of trust.

With careful research and an understanding of your own wants and needs, you’ll be prepared to find the right plastic surgeon for you.

More information

Frequently Asked Questions About Plastic Surgery

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