Choosing a Surgeon

If you are considering cosmetic surgery, it is important to find a well-trained and experienced plastic surgeon. The first step in this process is to assemble a list of qualified doctors; there are several sources from which you can develop such a list. For example, if a friend or family member has had cosmetic surgery and is pleased with the results, ask him or her for the surgeon's name. Your doctor also may be able to recommend some plastic surgeons in your area. Local hospitals can provide the names of plastic surgeons on staff. However, the best way to locate a qualified plastic surgeon in your area is to contact a local or national 433

professional association of plastic surgeons or your state medical society. Cosmetic These organizations also can tell you whether the doctors on your list are Surgery board-certified (see page 94).

Once you have narrowed your choices to two or three doctors, schedule an interview with each one so you can discuss his or her approach to the procedure and ask about fees. Because health insurance plans do not usually cover the cost of cosmetic surgery, you will need to determine whether the surgeon offers payment plans or whether he or she accepts credit cards. When you call for an appointment, ask for brochures about the surgery in question and read through them before your visit so you can ask informed questions about the procedure and its risks and possible outcomes. Write down your questions in advance. Make sure that the surgeon provides you with realistic expectations about the potential results of the surgery. Ask to see photographs of other patients who have had the procedure you are considering. Ask the surgeon to explain any terms you do not understand. After the interviews, you will be in a good position to make an informed decision.

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