Last month, we talked about what to ask your surgeon before plastic surgery. But how should you decide which doctor or doctors to consult in the first place? If you live in a city, chances are you will have access to more than a few well-qualified plastic surgeons, and it will take some time to parse that number down to a handful you should consult to gauge whether or not they are the best doctor for you.
Resources like Yelp, Google Places and Facebook allow consumers to leave reviews about their experiences with local businesses – and that includes plastic surgeons. However, you have to be able to separate fact from fiction if you plan to choose a doctor based on his or her reputation.
The most reliable reviews will be left by real people, not anonymous posters, and ideally, you will see them posting reviews of various other businesses as well. A single positive review for the particular doctor you’re researching may mean a family member, employee or someone else has written a fake positive review for promotions’ sake, which is a practice websites and consumers alike frown upon.
When reading legit reviews, look for details rather than brief snippets of positivity. While it’s absolutely true that objective third parties may leave only a brief comment or two, that isn’t going to help your research. The meatier the reviews, the easier it is to anticipate what to expect if you schedule a consultation.
It’s also a good idea to see how a doctor’s office responds to any negative reviews or comments. Does the surgeon or a staffer address any and all concerns with graciousness and empathy? Or are responses defensive and insulting? How a practice handles an online critique is a good way to get to know a doctor before ever actually meeting them face-to-face.
Keep in mind that even the best plastic surgeons in your area may not necessarily have any online reviews. So don’t fret if you can’t find much of anything in the way of customer opinions.
Ask for Referrals
Asking friends and family about their preferred doctors will give you a more personalized opinion of who may or may not be the right surgeon for you. If someone you love has had plastic surgery – especially a procedure identical or similar to the one you’re considering – then politely ask them about their experience. They may even be able to give you a referral to a popular, qualified doctor who is so busy, he or she can only accept friends and family of current patients.
Talking to friends and family can prove to be more reliable than relying solely on Internet reviews by strangers. The people closest to you know what you want and what you’re looking for better than anyone, so they’ll be able to tell you whether or not the best of the best is good enough for you.
Do Your Research
It’s important to ask about a potential plastic surgeon’s qualifications, particularly when it comes to recognition by American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), as well as his or her experience with the procedure you’re pursuing. But your research shouldn’t begin and end there.
Make sure to research a doctor’s educational background. Did he or she graduate from an accredited medical school? What is the school’s reputation for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery? Is it known for research and projects relevant to the procedure you need? Answers to these questions won’t tell you everything you need to know about a doctor, but they may give you a clearer idea of a doctor’s background and philosophy.
In addition, explore their social media channels. See how they interact with current and potential patients, as well as other medical professionals. Are they courteous? Does their tone reflect the sort of tone you’d like your doctor to take? Are they active in the plastic surgery community? What about the community in general? Do they share reliable, updated information? Once again, plenty of fine doctors are not online for many different reasons. Social media is just one of many different strategies for finding a great plastic surgeon.
Dr. Chris Livingston and his team are leaders in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Our expert, board-certified staff are experienced in a wide range of procedures, and are available to answer any questions you may have about plastic surgery. Request a consultation today and discover what we can do for you.