Considering plastic surgery but fearing a bungled procedure? The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has launched a new public awareness campaign urging prospective patients to choose a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
According to plastic surgeons Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, president of the society, and Dr. Anthony Youn, who practices in the Detroit suburbs, the absence of this credential is the number one red flag. However, this is only one of ten red flags to look for. Continue clicking to view the comprehensive list of physicians…
Red flag 2: Offering discount vouchers is a warning sign
If you’re searching for a haircut or a massage, it makes sense to use a coupon, but not for plastic surgery. “Don’t try to save money on something as serious as surgery,” advises Dr. Youn.
Red flag 3: Attempting to “up-sell” patients
The initial consultation with a plastic surgeon should be a collaborative endeavor in which the surgeon and patient agree on the optimal treatment plan. Dr. Roth believes it is acceptable for the surgeon to suggest alternative methods, but it is concerning if he/she employs high-pressure tactics. Dr. Youn warns, “Surgeons who try to convince you to have more surgery than you desire may be trying to extort as much money as possible from you.”
Red flag 4: Excessive advertising
Some distinguished plastic surgeons market their services. Dr. Roth and Dr. Youn concur, however, that plastic surgeons who extensively advertise – on radio, television, newspapers, etc. – may do so because they lack the positive word-of-mouth that generates a steady flow of patients. Dr. Youn states that the number of advertisements a surgeon displays is often inversely proportional to the caliber of the surgeon.
Red flag 5: Lack of hospital privileges
Prior to granting privileges, hospitals evaluate the competence and education of physicians. If a surgeon lacks privileges, the hospital may have doubts about his or her competence. Some surgeons circumvent the issue by conducting operations in their offices, which may not be a safe environment.
“Let the hospital vet your surgeon for you,” Dr. Youn advises. “If a hospital won, it would be a winner.”
Red flag 6: “Too good to be True” results.
According to Drs. Youn and Roth, the adage “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” undoubtedly applies to plastic surgery. “Don’t believe the hype,” says Dr. Roth. “There are no guarantees and even the best surgeons may produce less-than-perfect results.” Learn what the procedure you’re considering can and cannot do through research. Dr. Youn suggests paying close attention to exaggerated claims, such as liposuction tightening lax skin or breast implants lifting sagging breasts.
Red flag 7: Ignoring the consultation
Consider it a red flag if a physician delegated the discussion of surgical options with patients to a medical assistant. Likewise, if a practitioner rushes through patient consultations. The surgeon should determine whether you are a suitable surgical candidate. And without rushing you out the door, s/he should take the time to answer all your queries.
Red flag 8: Bragging about “innovative” methods.
Although plastic surgery is constantly evolving, most surgeons continue to employ the same fundamental techniques because they have been demonstrated to be safe and effective. Be wary of surgeons who claim to use “revolutionary” or “innovative” techniques.
Red flag 9: Being Censured or Sued.
The fact that a surgeon has been sued for medical malpractice does not indicate incompetence. In the current medical climate, even the best surgeons are occasionally sued. Dr. Youn cautions surgeons who have been sued multiple times. Likewise, if he or she has been disciplined by the state’s medical board.
Red flag 10: Receiving poor reviews
Patients are not always the best evaluators of a plastic surgeon’s skills; no physician can satisfy all of his or her patients. Be suspicious of a physician who receives numerous negative patient evaluations. Dr. Youn states, in reference to negative evaluations that occasionally appear on doctor rating websites, “Those ratings may be accurate.” On the contrary, Dr. Roth suggests that negative reviews may be “planted” by competitors. Therefore, it is probably best not to place too much importance on those evaluations, whether they are positive or negative.