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HOW TO CHOOSE AN EXPERT PLASTIC SURGEON
These days, there is no shortage of doctors and practitioners claiming to be specialists in some area of cosmetic plastic surgery. Some of these are legitimate plastic surgeons while others use deceptive advertising and marketing techniques in order to come across as experts. To help you distinguish the true experts from the less qualified, Dr. Ghavami, a world-renowned plastic surgeon, offers the following guidelines.
As you begin your search, you are likely to come across doctors who perform cosmetic surgery but lack the accredited surgical training necessary to achieve beautiful, successful results. For example, a family practitioner or OB-GYN could market themselves as a cosmetic surgeon in order to attract a wider net of patients. However, these physicians do not possess the same amount of specialized plastic surgery training or experience that board certified plastic surgeons have. Board certification assesses the level of training as well as the safety of that plastic surgeon, and can only be acquired after completing an accredited plastic surgery training program after medical school. Unfortunately, board certified plastic surgeons who are inexperienced in certain procedures, and who are months or less than a year or two out from training can also market themselves on social media etc., as “experts” and “artists” in aesthetic plastic surgery even if they have limited real-life experience or credentials to back it up.
The best way to minimize risks and achieve beautiful results is by selecting a plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). The ABPS is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to govern plastic surgeons. Before insurance re-imbursements were reduced, board certification was not an issue as doctors stuck to practicing the accredited residency training they matched into after medical school. In the past 15 years or so, many non-plastic surgery trained physicians have looked to supplement their income market by “practicing” cosmetic surgery. Clearly, this is purely a business decision because if these physicians wanted to be plastic surgeons, they would have worked hard to acquire an accredited proper residency program that would lead to board certification.
Working with a board certified plastic surgeon ensures a certain standard of education, safety, training and surgical knowledge that is approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Board certified plastic surgeons have earned a degree from an accredited medical school and completed five to seven years of plastic surgical training after medical school. As an aside, plastic surgery is one of the hardest if not the hardest residency to acquire after medical school and one needs to be the top of their class, among other qualifications to be selected from medical school. A minimum of three residency years must be dedicated to plastic surgery residency training, which covers a wide range of procedures for the face and body.
AN EXEMPLARY BODY OF WORK
While board certification by the ABPS is a non-negotiable, this doesn’t mean that every board certified plastic surgeon is an expert or possesses the vision and artistry you are seeking. Dr. Ghavami often compares board certification to a car’s engine and tires. While both are necessary components of a car, they don’t tell you anything about the car’s performance in comparison to other models. Your board certified plastic surgeon should have years of experience under their belt, be able to show you an extraordinary body of work, and also be innovative.
We are often asked by patients if Dr. Ghavami knows a plastic surgeon in the area the patient is traveling from, and we tell them that no two plastic surgeons will be the same in the way they perform a procedure. Choosing a plastic surgeon is also like choosing an artist, as each plastic surgeon has a unique approach and technique. You may like one surgeon’s approach more than another surgeon’s. Dr. Ghavami recommends you familiarize yourself with your potential surgeon’s past work by looking through before and after photos, videos, including photos of the long-term final results, not just immediate results in the operating room (as is common now on Instagram and social media!). Many plastic surgeons only provide photos of patients immediately after surgery, which Dr. Ghavami believes is lazy, deceptive, and careless. These photos are not an accurate depiction of the final results because many patients experience swelling and bruising immediately after the procedure. It takes months and up to a year to truly see the results and assess the skill of that surgeon. Dr. Ghavami understands that patients want a clear visualization of what their final results will look like and thus provides photos of patients at least six months to years after the surgery. This is particularly important in rhinoplasty and fat transfer techniques.
A PEER-RESPECTED LEADER IN THE INDUSTRY
When choosing a plastic surgeon, it only makes sense that you want someone who’s known as a leader in the industry. True expert plastic surgeons are regularly invited to lecture at prestigious plastic surgery conferences around the world, and have made numerous academic contributions on the subject. In his career, Dr. Ghavami has been sought out to lecture and train other plastic surgeons on the latest surgical techniques, including his innovative rhinoplasty, Flash Recovery Breast Augmentation® and S Curve Buttock Lift® procedures. He has also authored numerous articles and textbook chapters and continues to do so. He has also won numerous awards for his research in the field of cosmetic plastic surgery. Dr. Ghavami serves as Assistant Clinical Professor at the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine and is an active member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the Rhinoplasty Society.
THE PLASTIC SURGEON-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP
Unfortunately, all the experience and qualifications in the world mean nothing if good rapport is missing between you and your plastic surgeon. Plastic surgery is often a very personal and emotional journey, therefore, successful results are dependent on good communication between patient and surgeon. Remember, your plastic surgery treatment is an elective procedure that you have decided to pursue because something about your physical appearance is making you unhappy. A trustworthy, compassionate plastic surgeon like Dr. Ghavami will always do their best to put you at ease and achieve the results you desire. A true expert plastic surgeon understands that no two patients and procedures are the same and focuses on providing individualized treatment that addresses each patient’s unique desires and anatomical features in innovative and safe ways. Dr. Ghavami and his compassionate staff strive to make each patient’s plastic surgery journey a positive one and would be pleased to meet with you in order to answer all of your questions and individually address your specific aesthetic needs or concerns.
Contact Dr. Ghavami today for more information or to schedule your initial consultation.