Stuart Linder, M.D. (“Dr. Body”) and Robert Kotler, M.D. (“Dr. Face”) are both adept computer users and enjoy the many ways people interested in cosmetic plastic surgery can learn about various procedures and contact a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon.
At the same time, many other unqualified doctors who offer some cosmetic surgery can literally pull the electronic wool over your eyes with a lot of mumbo-jumbo, doublespeak and bogus claims.
Here, Doctors Face and Body tell you the top six steps to take to quickly cut through a blizzard of misleading and confusing Internet claims to find the real deal.
You can find good plastic surgeons by typing into a computer search box your city and the name of the procedure you want.
For instance, if you live in L.A. and want a better nose, type: “Los Angeles Rhinoplasty” into a Google search box. If you think your breasts are too small and you live in New York City, type “Manhattan breast augmentation.” You could also type “L.A. Nose Job” or NYC boob job” and get a good list of surgeons.
Using Drs. Face and Body’s 6 top tips, you can quickly locate a qualified, experienced surgeons while filtering out quick buck artists and the under qualified.
View some of Dr. Body’s breast revision before and after pictures.
Here are some of Dr. Face’s before and after pictures of nose job revisions
Dr. Face (Dr. Kotler): Some of my patients have been complaining that so many plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons have put so many millions of words on the Internet, it’s hard to tell who is who and what’s what.
Dr. Body: (Dr. Linder): That’s true, but I think a couple of plastic surgery insiders like us should be able to cut to the chase pretty quickly.
Dr. Face: So, if you were a patient, knowing what you know now, what would you do to quickly find a qualified, well-trained plastic surgeon?
Dr. Body: Tip 1, before doing anything else on a surgeon’s website, go to the “About the Doctor” section and see if he or she is board certified.
Dr. Face: That’s right, the doctor needs to be certified by one of the four recognized boards whose graduates or Diplomates have passed critical testing. Those boards are:
- The American Board of Otolargyngology/Head and Neck Surgery– limited to face and neck only
- American Board of Dermatology –only skin procedures
- American Board of Ophthalmology — eye surgeons who perform plastic surgery on eyelids and nearby structure
- The American Board of Plastic Surgery
Dr. Body: Right, doctor. But there are some bogus boards – like the Board of Laser Surgery. Such boards have not been accepted by the official 23-specialties listed at the American Board of Medical Specialties….(http://www.abms.org)
Dr. Face: If you do not see that the doctor is board-certified by one of those four specialties deemed appropriate for cosmetic procedures, click off and go on to the next website on your list.
Dr. Body: Tip 2: Check the website for “Hospital Privileges.” A board-certified surgeon, of any specialty, should have privileges at local hospitals. Hospitals have the inside track on which doctors meet the proper standards and their qualification processes are very stringent. Hospitals will not extend privileges to those few doctors who are not actually qualified to do what they claim.
Dr. Face: If you don’t see hospital privileges, click off and go to the next website.
Dr. Body: Tip 3: look for where the surgeon operates.
Dr. Face: Correct. Some operate in free standing surgical centers, some at hospital O.R.s and some in their own office surgical suites. But the key thing is to check for the certification level of the operating room. (Read more about plastic surgeons’ certified operating rooms.)
Dr. Body: Tip 4: If you’ve gotten this far, you are probably on to a surgeon who is worth your time. Next thing to look at is the before and after plastic surgery pictures. There should be hundreds, if not tens of hundreds, of pictures.
Dr. Face: Patients will not be identified by name, of course. But all the photos should list the procedure(s) performed and ideally why that procedure was chosen.
Dr. Body: Plus, the lighting, the angle, the distance from the camera, the background, everything should all be the same; the only difference should be the patients’ features, before and after.
Dr. Face: If you don’t see any before and after photos, it’s usually because that surgeon does not have any. Before and after pictures are a very good indication of the excellence in changes you might see in your own appearance. Try to find a surgeon who performs the procedure you want at least weekly.
Dr. Body: Tip 5: Call and make an appointment for a first consultation. But red warning flags should go up if the person answering the surgeon’s phone is not a good listener, polite and interested in hearing your concerns about surgery. You should feel welcome, not like you are intruding.
Dr. Face: Tip 6: if you’ve satisfied all the previous tips, go on the consultation, but there are still things you should be watching for.
Dr. Body: Correct! The most important is how well the surgeon listens to you and asks questions about the surgery you want. This is not a time for the surgeon to deliver lectures and pump up his practice.
Dr. Face: Your consultation should not be interrupted by phone calls, beepers, cell phones or doctors’ staff sticking their heads inside the room to ask quick questions.
Dr. Body: For one, the doctor has some medical decisions to make in order to decide if you are even a candidate for surgery. Some people are just not able to undergo surgery.
Dr. Face: Ask yourself if you are comfortable with that doctor; you should feel like you are his or her only patient during the consultation. Feel free to ask about the doctor’s training, experience and what can realistically be done to improve your appearance. And here’s a bonus question: Ask the doctor how he handled his last surgical complication.
Dr. Body: All plastic surgeons, at some point or the other, have had a complication like an infection or a little too much bleeding; it’s part of the process. If he or she says no complications have been experienced, you’re not hearing the truth.
Dr. Face: But if the doctor is being open with you, he’ll explain how the complication was handled. All board-certified surgeons have seen just about every possible wrinkle and curve that can be pitched at them so they are proud of their long training and deep experience. That’s why you are at the office of a board-certified surgeon; it’s like having a huge insurance policy in your back pocket that things will likely go well.
Dr. Body: Good luck! Remember, in cosmetic plastic surgery, you ARE your choices.