How Do I Choose a Plastic Surgeon in Sacramento
As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I believe that I have the best training to perform both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Our plastic surgery training is rigorous, and in order to receive board-certification we are tested on our foundation of knowledge as well as our surgical skills and ethics. I participate in the “Maintenance of Certification” process of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which involves ongoing learning and testing to assure continued competency in my chosen field.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons encourages you to “Do Your Homework”. This means checking out credentials and making sure the plastic surgeon is well trained. You can go to the website: www.plasticsurgery.org to find board-certified plastic surgeons in your area. You can also check out doctors on the Medical Board of California website: www.mbc.ca.gov. The Medical Board website will inform you if a doctor is licensed in California, board-certification status, and if that doctor has had any issues with the Board, like malpractice judgments.
You can also do an internet search, but be careful. Many websites claim that a doctor is a “plastic surgeon” when the doctor has been trained in another specialty. In today’s economic climate, many doctors are moving into cosmetic surgery as a way to make more money. They may not have appropriate training or experience. I have sadly met many patients who were lured by glitzy websites, and ending up with unsatisfactory results. The patient may then have to pay more money (and suffer further discomfort and recuperation) to try and fix the problem. Sometimes a patient’s bad results can’t be fixed.
Be sure to choose a surgeon who has “hospital privileges”. This means that if, god forbid, you suffer a complication that requires you be treated in a hospital, your surgeon can continue to care for you. Believe it or not, there are “cosmetic surgeons” who don’t have hospital privileges. If you are admitted to hospital, then another doctor may have to care for you. There may be additional expenses involved. I have privileges at both Mercy Hospital and the Sutter Community Hospitals in Sacramento, and operate at those three hospitals (as well as three other outpatient surgery centers) for patients having health-insurance based procedures.
When you visit a plastic surgeon’s office, you should always be able to meet with the doctor. Only the doctor can determine if what you want to do is possible, and what the cost would be. I often adjust my surgical fees if you are having more than one procedure, or if your surgery is of a lower degree of difficulty compared to average.
You should make sure you feel comfortable with your surgeon and that the two of you “click” and can communicate well. Remember, your surgeon not only has to operate on you, but also has to see you through the recuperation process, and be “there for you” to answer questions and keep you feeling secure despite the postoperative discomfort, bruising, and swelling. You and your surgeon are in it for the long haul, so make sure you feel very comfortable with your doctor. In my office, I consult every new patient and we together decide on the best treatment plan. You then are given information regarding all the expenses involved, as well as the logistics of how to schedule your surgery. You should then think about what you have learned for a period of time before deciding. If you need to return for a second consultation because you have more questions, or just need a little more information, you are free to call and schedule that at no charge. You can decide when is the best time to schedule your procedure.
Many of us surgeons put before and after pictures on our websites as a way to entice patients. The pictures are always of our “best” results. These photos do not represent the average result of the doctor. The patients in the pictures may have a very nice result, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have the same kind of result. Many patients are leery of putting their pictures on websites as well, since they float in the universe forever! Don’t expect that your result will be the same as someone on a website. Your rapport with your doctor is more important than his or her “brag book” or website. While nice before and after photos are a plus, a recommendation from a friend or family member who had a good experience with a surgeon is probably your best bet.
I welcome you to consult with me at The Plastic Surgery Center. You can call 916-929-1833 for an appointment. Or use the “contact us” link on this website to arrange for a consultation or to receive more information.