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Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon – Beyond the Degrees and Certifications

You can go anywhere online and find a really phenomenal list of criteria you are going to need if you want to find a reputable, reliable, and qualified plastic surgeon.  I would not be doing you any favors by rehashing the list of things you need to look for – which include proper certification and training.

What I am going to give you is the list of things that helped me in making my decision.  Because honestly, you will in all likelihood find dozens of doctors claiming proper certifications and affiliations.  What you need to know is how do you choose among those guys – how do you know which doctor is right for you?

Many years ago, having recently become “fat”, but not yet reaching “morbidly obese”, I felt like if I could just find a doctor who would do a little liposuction on me, I’d find the motivation not to become “morbidly obese”.  I made an appointment with a doctor in Philadelphia who not only was a reknowned surgeon, pioneering several liposuction procedures in this country, he advertised on the radio station my husband listened to.  Back in the day, it wasn’t as easy to check out a doctor.  I made a few phone calls, was assured that this doctor’s reputation was well deserved, and made my appointment.

Upon entering the office, I immediately realized I became a number.  Like cattle, those of us hoping this man of phenomenal surgical skill would lay hands upon us and heal our aesthetically displeasing features gathered, until we were called, like the chosen ones, to walk into the light of this surgical god.  Basically, you were ushered into a room, lined with mirrors that would highlight flaws on the most perfect human being, and when it was your turn, the doctor would come in, tell you what he would do for you, and then send you off to meet the people who would tell you how much it was going to cost you for your audience with the Pope of Plastic Surgery.

Being fat, as I was, I truly was unworthy to be in the presence, and for me, he would perform liposuction on my chin to get rid of the double chin with which I was genetically blessed, and hopefully, he said, that would motivate me to lose weight.  He told me to look into the mirror, and advised me that when I saw a thin face looking back at myself, I would want to be thin.  Like I didn’t already want to be thin.

And then I was done.  My husband told me to do it, and since no amount of diet or exercise was going to get rid of chin number 2, I decided to do it.

The esteemed surgeon himself did not perform the procedure – another surgeon in the practice had been delegated to do the procedure.  It was a same day procedure, I wore a band around my head for a week, and then proceeded to live my life with slightly less of a second chin.

I wouldn’t see this surgeon again if he was the last surgeon alive.  Which he isn’t, as he passed away several years ago.  May he rest in peace, despite his arrogance and ability to reduce normal looking women to tears because of how undeserving the average are to walk among the beautiful.

So what did I look for this time?

The things you need to find in a plastic surgeon absolutely have to include his abilities as a surgeon. Research him and the practice he is with online, and make sure he is up to snuff.  But just as important – how do you feel?

Look for personality traits in the doctor and his practice that mesh well with who you are.  I am a bit on the shy, quiet side, and a doctor with a personality like the first plastic surgeon I saw years ago would have the ability to sort of bulldoze me.  I know, it sounds outrageous that a grown up would feel unable to voice an opinion, but I just know about myself that I will back down every time to a more dominant personality.  I think the first doctor would probably have had to tell me he was thinking of cutting my head off before I would have backed out of the procedure.  I don’t admire that about myself, but I recognize it, and I wanted someone that didn’t seem as if they were a dominant figure.

I wanted a doctor that seemed like someone I could talk to and not feel like an idiot.  When I had my gastric bypass surgery, I had an in hospital consult with a metabolic specialist.  He interacted with me in the manner that a stern father might interact with a child requiring discipline.  I never followed up with him, and I am often astounded by doctors who think that based on the breadth of their education, they are far superior to any other human being.  I’ll bet that guy rivals Dr. Gregory House in his medical skills, but does he know anything about using spikes in a girl’s hair to make cork screw curls so she can compete in a feis?  I’m sure he doesn’t.  We all have our areas of expertise, and our abilities in a particular area do not make us superior to people who have wicked mad skilz in another.  And the bottom line is that your doctor needs to have relate-ability.  If I can’t relate, I’m not gaining anything in the relationship.

Finally – and I think this is especially true when you are looking at a plastic surgeon – you are looking for a surgeon, not a used car salesman.  Some plastic surgeons have to give you the pitch about money – and in the grand scheme of things, they do have to somehow convince you that they are worth the dollar amount they put on themselves.  But you know what?  Don’t verbally beat down another physician because his fees are higher.  And don’t say things like if I pay a deposit today, it will lock in the price.  Oh – and if you’re throwing in the floor mats for free if I sign the deal today, I ain’t signing nothin’.

In the end, after much research, and a year of contemplation when life got in the way of having my surgery, I chose Dr. Nestor Veitia.  I’ll do a whole review later of Dr. Veitia, but when you put this much time into making your plastic surgeon choice, you should feel more than comfortable with the person in who’s hands you place your life.  He laughs at most of my jokes.  I could not have made a more appropriate choice for myself.

2 Replies to “Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon – Beyond the Degrees and Certifications”

  1. Thanks, Dr. Wright. It appear from the glowing testimonies from your patients that you have found the balance between talented surgeon and compassionate human being. This can be a difficult harmony to achieve in plastic surgery!

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