Choosing A Plastic Surgeon
No matter what type of plastic surgery you are considering, you want the procedure to be a success. The most important factor is choosing the right plastic surgeon for that procedure. It essentially comes down to the surgeon's training, experience, candor and judgment.
Plastic surgeons perform cosmetic surgery to improve appearances, and they perform reconstructive surgery to restore the form and function that has been lost through disease, accident or birth defect. Plastic surgery involves a thorough knowledge of the whole body, skin and underlying tissues along with their separate and combined healing processes. Today, many doctors claim to practice plastic surgery, but not all have the same degree of plastic surgery training. Motivated by profit, and taking a few seminars put on by manufactures of new products and procedures, many family practitioners, dentists, oral surgeons, and even OB/GYN's have added some plastic surgery procedures to their practice, including certain type of skin care and injectables.
Frankly, a few seminars and classes does not make anybody an expert. It takes much more time, particularly in cosmetic surgery. In lesser hands, the results can be mediocre, and sometimes patients can get hurt. Because someone say they trained in a procedure- people trust them, yet training in this sense doesn't mean very much. It's important to ask how many similar cases they have done, over what period of time, because experience is key.
Since cosmetic surgery is elective, usually the patient is not in immediate need of the procedure. Patients have plenty of time to carefully choose the right plastic surgeon. No one surgeon is sufficiently trained and experienced in every possible cosmetic procedure. You want the highest quality of patient care for the specific procedure you are interested in. Depending on what feature you are hoping to change, the plastic surgeon may suggest that an additional procedure to achieve the desired look. These suggestions should not, however, be pressuring comments. If the doctor is pushing you in a direction that is uncomfortable to you, look for someone else.
I am Dr. James Green. I am one of the most qualified plastic surgeons in the country. It takes at least 5 years of training to become a plastic surgeon. I spent an extra 2.5 years in training, not because I am slow, but because I know it's that important. As a Junior Resident I was awarded The Outstanding Surgical Resident honor, even beating out chief residents. The following year, as a Senior Resident, I won the award again. When I went back as a judge the following year, residents joked about the fear Jim Green would win it yet again. This story isn't about vanity, it's about commitment. I think there is a certain degree of talent involved in plastic surgery. But like when I was studying art in Paris, I asked my professor, "How much talent does it take to make this?" His answer was, "20% talent and 80% hard work."
I and most plastic surgeons are board certified and members of the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS). This in my opinion is a fundamental requirement. Additionally, I am a Member American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and a Fellow of American College of Surgeons. I have been practicing plastic and reconstructive surgery for over twenty years. Since 1990 i have performed over 2,400 aesthetic surgeries. I've performed over 3,000 reconstructive cases. With an excellent reputation in the community, I have served on multiple boards and committees including President of Medical Staff and Chairman of the Department of Surgery. I have worked with nearly all the physicians in the area and receive their referrals. You don't have to travel to a metropolitan area to find expert skills and counsel. You don't even have to drive to Albuquerque. I'm right here in Santa Fe, I'm well-qualified to deal with these issues, and we can talk about many different approaches to discover what's really right for you. If I don't think that I'm the right surgeon for a particular procedure, or I don't think a procedure would be good for your health and well being, I'll be the first one to let you know. Cosmetic surgery is medicine - it's about healing.
Key Points Mentioned
Ethics & Qualifications
Accreditation by ASPS is the baseline for a qualified plastic surgeon.
ASAPS is an even higher level of accreditation reserved for the most qualified plastic surgeons.