Choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon

After deciding that you are interested in a facelift, choosing the right cosmetic surgeon is one of the most important steps. What follows are recommendations on which aspects are most important in choosing the cosmetic surgeon to perform your facelift.

Before Your Facelift – Do Your Homework

Keep in mind that your face is precious and therefore spending a month more on finding the right doctor will be worth it to you. For instance, a plastic surgeon who did a good job with your colleague’s breast reduction or with your friend’s thigh liposuction may not necessarily be an experienced facelift surgeon. Also, a plastic surgeon that performs primarily nasal procedures but not facelifts may also not be the right choice for you.

Choose an Experienced Facelift Surgeon

Of course, a surgeon who performs many procedures of one particular kind will become increasingly proficient with this particular operation; an important quality to look for in your facelift surgeon. The art and science of cosmetic surgery is one of constant learning and improvement of the plastic surgeon’s skill. Little adjustments in the technique learnt from prior facelifts and critical evaluation of the surgeon’s results can have a significant impact on the final result. In general, a reasonably experienced facelift surgeon performs at least 20 facelifts per year (this is less than two procedures a month!); a busy doctor performs in excess of 50 facelifts per year. Talk to friends who had a facelift or other facial rejuvenation procedures (eyelid lift, browlift) performed in the past. Ask about their experience and whether they would recommend their particular cosmetic surgeon. Talk openly with the plastic surgeon about his experience with facelifts and ask if facial rejuvenation is a significant part of his practice.

Choose a Cutting Edge Cosmetic Surgeon

Many important advances had a significant impact on facelift surgery over the last 10 years. You want to benefit from this progress with your facelift procedure! When meeting with a plastic surgeon, you will get an impression whether his/her way of doing things has been the same for the last 25 years or if the facelift surgeon is up-to-date with advances in the field of facial plastic surgery. On the other hand, many techniques do not stand the test of time. Some rejuvenation procedures were abandoned as new ideas arise. Therefore, you probably do not want to embark on a procedure that appears to be the “hottest thing” of the last 3 months. Also, be wary of a plastic surgeon that just tries every new craze just to do them with little concern for the final outcome and safety. A good plastic surgeon finds a balance between time-proven procedures and modern approaches.

How about Board Certification

Again, the most important factor in choosing your cosmetic plastic surgeon is his experience and skill for the particular service you are looking for. After all, plastic surgery is first and above all a surgical technique practiced by surgeons of many specialties. Unfortunately, over the last decade, the question of board certification has become a rather confusing one for the consumer. The notion that a doctor’s specialty automatically qualifies or disqualifies him or her to perform cosmetic surgery, and a facelift in particular has been abused to claim a “particular turf” in the competitive field of cosmetic surgery. Excluding doctors from certain specialties may significantly limit the choice of capable surgeons available to you. Most facelift procedures are performed by general plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons. Board certification tells you if a cosmetic surgeon’s specialty provided him/her with appropriate training during residency. For instance, a board-certified general plastic surgeon who primarily practices hand surgery may not be an experienced facelift surgeon although it was part of the curriculum during internship and residency training. Similarly, a facial plastic surgeon that specializes in major head and neck reconstruction after cancer surgery may also not be the best choice because of the lack of experience in facelifting. Although less common, some capable cosmetic surgeons come from other specialties, most frequently from head and neck surgery (otolaryngology), ophthalmology, dermatology and oral surgery.

Find a Plastic Surgeon that Matches Your Philosophy

Unlike other surgical specialties, cosmetic surgery can be considered an art form. Although it is certainly not important that the facelift surgeon is a talented woodworker, painter or musician, his eye for face aesthetics is relevant. Listen to the doctors thoughts about your facial characteristics and reflect if this matches your concerns. If it does than you and your surgeon are on the same page. If not than your surgeon sees things you have not thought about or his rejuvenation philosophy does not matches yours. Also, a plastic surgeon who tries to “talk you into doing something” that you really do not feel comfortable with should make you wary. Similarly, if you are looking for maximal results from your facelift and the plastic surgeons talks about a mini-lift, attitudes and viewpoints may not match up. On the other hand, if you are looking for a “refresher” and the cosmetic surgeon’s discussion sounds to you like “extreme make-over”, you may decide to visit the next doctor on your list.

Do You Get What You Pay for?

Although true financial realities exist for everybody, a facelift procedure may not be the time for bargain shopping. The thousand dollars you may save with a thrifty plastic surgeon choice will mean nothing to you after you had an undesirable experience or suboptimal result. Similarly, a Madison Avenue or Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon will certainly be more pricey; not necessarily because he is better than your Massachusetts physician, but because you will have to help him pay for his exuberant overhead. So, your reasonable judgment will be of utmost importance, financial considerations will come second.

The Extreme Make-over Plastic Surgeons

The cosmetic surgeons featured in prime time TV shows should be the best, right? Be careful, because surgeons on TV shows simply paid prime dollars so that their public relation companies and publicists help them appear on “The Swan” and their like. The true exquisite cosmetic surgeon will certainly not appear on TV reality shows otherwise they would loose their privacy-conscious clientele.

Facelifts in Famous Hospitals?

A hospital does not perform a facelift but your cosmetic doctor does. It is a fact, that most cosmetic surgery in America is performed by plastic surgeons in private practice. Therefore most advances in the field originate from busy private practice aesthetic surgeons. Although there are certainly very capable doctors in full-time positions at large teaching institutions like Yale, Johns Hopkins or Harvard, this affiliation is no guaranty for facelift expertise. These top teaching hospitals play an important role in acute and emergency medical care and provide a great environment for intern and resident education. Cosmetic surgery is rarely a focus of these large institutions. Therefore, the above guidelines on how to choose your plastic surgeon should be considered as a priority.

Call Worcester Face Lift Specialist Dr. Fechner