7 questions for your plastic surgeon
By JEFFREY WISNICKI, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Published March 29, 2007
Special to The Palm Beach Post
1. Are you board certified?
If your doctor is ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) or AOA (American Osteopathic Association) board certified, he or she completed years of schooling, fulfilled residency requirements and passed state tests. It also means that even after completing that rigorous training, your doctor has chosen to undergo the voluntary process of certification, in which he or she has been evaluated by a group of certified physicians in a particular specialty.
A license to practice medicine does not indicate expertise in a particular medical field. That makes board certification in a specialty particularly important. Your doctor’s certification should be consistent with the procedure you are seeking. You would not want an anesthesiologist doing your face lift anymore than you would want your plastic surgeon putting you to sleep.
2. How long have you been doing this?
Qualified surgeons go through many years of training and begin practice with experience behind them. It is still reassuring to know that the person doing your procedure has the knowledge and background to handle any situation that may arise. He or she should be comfortable (and hopefully proud) discussing his or her training background and practice experience. Speak to other patients.
3. Where will my surgery be performed?
Procedures should be performed in an accredited facility with appropriate personnel and anesthesia staff. If your surgery is to be performed in an office setting, make sure your surgeon has privileges to do the same procedure in a hospital. An office setting should be chosen as a matter of convenience to you and as a way to lower your costs, not because your doctor has been denied or not sought hospital privileges.
4. Is this going to work for me?
Realistic expectations will be key to your ultimate satisfaction. A fantastically successful procedure performed by the world’s most talented surgeon will still disappoint you if your personal goals are not attainable to begin with. Ask your doctor to explain, in detail, what your results are likely. to be.
5. Are there non-surgical alternatives?
Non-surgical approaches to rejuvenation are usually not a substitute for surgery, but they may be enough for you. Injectables such as Restyalne, Juvederm, and BOTOX Cosmetic and various laser treatments provide quick and often dramatic, although temporary, improvement.
6. What are the risks?
All surgery carries risk. Discuss the potential problems of the anticipated procedures with your physician and determine how these problems will be handled if they arise.
7. What about recovery?
Many procedures allow you to be up and about almost immediately, but extensive procedures may require days or weeks before you feel and look normal. Sometimes, temporary depression may occur as swelling and bruising subside and you begin to learn to live with your new image. You need to know what to expect.
Dr. Jeffrey Wisnicki is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has been in practice in the Palm Beaches for more than 20 years. His office is in Wellington on the Palm West medical campus.