10 Ways to Stay Safe When Planning Your Plastic Surgery

By Dr. Christopher Cote and Dr. Nicolette Picerno on June 21, 2021 under Plastic Surgery

10 Ways to Stay Safe When Planning Your Plastic Surgery

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of imagining your plastic surgery results. Although excellent, natural-looking results are the goal, it’s important not to skip some of the most important steps. This includes picking your board-certified plastic surgeon and making a few key decisions about your surgical process. Not all plastic surgeons are created equal, so here are a few ways to vet your options and keep your safety a priority.

Check for Board Certification

Every plastic surgeon you meet with should be board certified by organizations like the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery. This means that your plastic surgeon has gone through extensive testing and ongoing education requirements to practice their craft. Make sure to check the respective board’s website for their name to verify any credentials they give you. Other options for board certification include the American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, or the American Board of Ocular Plastic Surgery.

Get Trusted Recommendations

In an era of online reviews, it can be hard to know what’s trustworthy. It can be helpful to find recommendations from people you know – your personal healthcare team, friends, family, and coworkers you trust. Most patients will find the best experiences from recommendations from trusted family and friends rather than strangers online. When looking at online reviews, make sure there’s a wide variety of ratings and use common sense when looking at specific experiences from other patients.

Spend Time with Your Plastic Surgeon’s Website

You should always read about your plastic surgeon’s biography and certifications – if they don’t list very much information about their experience and education, this can be a huge red flag. If their website is neat, updated, and has detailed information about your procedure and their specific techniques, you can trust that your plastic surgeon has put in the work to provide patients a good experience.

Verify Hospital Privileges

Hospital privileges mean that your plastic surgeon can practice at local hospitals using their surgical facilities. This only comes with verification by hospital committees, meaning the local medical community trusts your plastic surgeon and their practice. Even if your procedure would be performed at a private ambulatory facility, hospital privileges can be a good sign.

Ask About Experience

Qualified plastic surgeons are not shy about explaining their experience and expertise with their chosen procedures. If your plastic surgeon can’t come up with specific experience with your procedure, then it’s likely they are either not qualified or not experienced in the procedure you’ve chosen. Additionally, plastic surgeons should have experience with specific fellowship training in facial plastic surgery. During fellowship training, a plastic surgeon acts as an attending or consultant physician under an experienced physician, so your plastic surgeon should be able to tell you where and when they underwent their fellowship. Check on board certification as well, which shows that your plastic surgeon has completed sufficient training and has the experience necessary to pass ongoing testing by a professional board. Both Dr. Cote and Dr. Picerno are board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery.

Look for Honesty

Your plastic surgeon should be up-front about the realities of plastic surgery – namely, the expected results, risks, and potential complications. If your plastic surgeon only reassures you that you’ll look great and won’t feel anything, they’re likely not being honest. All plastic surgery has risks and benefits, and it’s important to discuss them openly. If your plastic surgeon says that you are not a good candidate for a procedure, this is a good sign that they are open and honest, putting your safety first.

Ensure the Facility is Accredited

Private accredited ambulatory facilities are subject to certain standards by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), which is required for practice by a plastic surgeon. It also ensures there’s emergency equipment on-hand and detailed training for emergency situations. If your procedure is performed anywhere other than a hospital but you don’t see this information (or your plastic surgeon can’t provide it), you can be putting yourself at risk.

Research Your Anesthesiologist

Good plastic surgeons will usually partner with an anesthesiologist that they trust. Additionally, your plastic surgeon should have great things to say about their team that accompanies them in the operating room. Keep in mind that your safety will also be in their hands as well as your plastic surgeon’s.

Understand Your Recovery

You should be able to know the ins and outs of your recovery period, as described in detail by your plastic surgeon. If you don’t receive detailed instructions or contact information in case of complications, this can be a huge concern.

Find a Second Opinion

If there’s any doubt about your plastic surgeon, always find a second opinion from another board certified plastic surgeon. Choosing your plastic surgeon is key to enjoying your experience, so don’t hesitate to meet with two or three plastic surgeons before you make your decision. If any of them make you feel uncomfortable or doubt the safety of your procedure with them, keep looking.

Schedule a Consultation

At FacesFirst, we’re passionate about making sure your plastic surgery experience is safe, enjoyable, and effective. To meet with Dr. Picerno and Dr. Cote to learn more about your plastic surgery options, we invite you to contact our Denver office by calling or filling out our online form.