How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon

How to choose a plastic surgeon

You’ve decided to take the plunge, to put yourself first and get your eyes done, change your cup size, or any other body enhancement you’ve thought about for a while now. The next step is to find the right plastic surgeon, and for that you are going to need to do a little homework.

In the state of Texas, anyone with a medical license is allowed to perform cosmetic surgery. Special training and board certification are not required. This means, if you are not careful, you could end up with someone less than qualified to perform these delicate procedures. And you may not get the results you want.

What should you look for?

Board Certification

The first thing you should find out about a surgeon is whether or not he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Be careful here because you may see a certification in cosmetic surgery which is not the same thing. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic surgery can be performed by all kinds of physicians (and sometimes by people with no medical training.)

The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board acknowledged and approved by the National [American] Board of Medical Specialties. That means members certified by that board are held to the highest standards as it pertains to skills, knowledge, judgment, safety and ethics in that particular specialty.” — American Society of Plastic Surgeons

To earn board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a physician must pass arduous written and oral exams. They must have completed a 6-year accredited residency training program (that’s after graduating from medical school).

They must have specific training in plastic surgery and patient safety, and they must be recommended by specialists in their field. To maintain their certification, members then need to provide proof of continued medical education.

Watch out for this point of confusion

In your search for a plastic surgeon you may come across The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS). This organization was primarily created to bring doctors who perform cosmetic surgery together.

They offer certification but it is not nearly as rigorous as that of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The AACS is not a part of the recognized American specially boards, and they do not require any formal plastic surgery residency after medical school.

asps-logoLook for the special symbol of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons at right. Only members certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery can use it.

You can learn more about board certification and find Dr. Slack’s listing here.

Hospital Privileges

Plastic surgery procedures can be more or less complicated, and they can be performed in a variety of settings. Even if you are having an in-office procedure, you need to know your physician’s hospital privileges.

That is, which hospitals in your area have granted your surgeon permission to use their facilities: to admit patients and perform procedures.

No surgeon should perform a cosmetic procedure on you if they don’t have privileges to perform that same procedure at a reputable hospital.” — American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Hospital privileges tell you two things about your plastic surgeon:

  1. He or she is in good medical standing.
  2. He or she has the expertise and permission to take care of you in a hospital if any problem occurs.

Dr. Slack has privileges at the following hospitals here in Texas:

Texas Health Presbyterian Allen
Baylor McKinney
Methodist McKinney Hospital

Professional Membership

Finally, it is a good idea to check that your plastic surgeon is a member of relevant professional organizations. This tells you that he or she is committed to continuing education and upholding the standards put forth by those groups. Dr. Slack is a member of the following esteemed organizations:

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons
Texas Medical Association
Dallas Society of Plastic Surgeons

Choosing the right plastic surgeon is a very personal decision. Take your time, ask around, and above all do your homework. You’ll be glad you did.