Maybe, if you’re fortunate, you have a friend that guinea pigged a few surgeons already and has an amazing reference but, if not, then what do you do?
Step 1: Referrals
Referrals are king. Depending on the community you live in, and how discreet you want to be, think of asking friends who have had good results with their surgery or has heard of one with excellent results.
Maybe your aesthetician, your laser technician or even your hairdresser. What’s the word around town? But don’t take their word for it of course. Do your own due diligence. There are a few ways of doing that.
Step 2: Go Online
Being a little more discreet? Do a Google search for plastic surgeons in your area of choice. Here are a few other resources:
- RealSelf has a great tool for searching for plastic surgeons (cosmetic surgeons too).
- American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons to find cosmetic surgeons.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons to find plastic surgeons.
- The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
You may be also interested to read Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon (who should you choose?)
If you live in a small town then maybe go outside your limits a bit and check in the nearest city (online).
Then once you have a name do a Google search exactly like this: “Dr. John Smith” “malpractice” USE the quotation marks. You will get several sources to check if your doc has ever been sued. You can change “malpractice” to “complaints” or any other info you want to find.
Step 3: Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Do a search on Google for “plastic surgeon reviews” or if you think you’ve chosen one but just want to be sure then so the search under his name. And Google is pretty good with their location services and will most likely only pull up surgeons in your area.
RealSelf is a cool tool for this as well.
Consider reviews, but only as part of the decision process, not as the end all be all. These days doctors actually hire people to keep an eagle eye out for negative reviews then follow with two or three phony positives.
Also, one disgruntled patient can wreak a whole lot of havoc on a doctor that perhaps was not at fault. Maybe she bench pressed the week of her breast implants or simply has unrealistic expectations.
When I originally wrote this article it was a process to write a review. Now they all open up for anyone to write a review for any doc even if they’ve never used their services.
So even though it’s important to check, be a little cynical and then look into it more. Read the negative reviews as well as the positive reviews to give you a better feel.
Now narrow it down to the five that resonate with you. You’ll get a feeling. And remember who you picked because we use them again in the point system below.
Step 4: Employ a Point System
Once you have your five top options, make appointments for consultations. After you visit each office, rate the experience from 1-5 on each of the following criteria:
Do you feel a connection?
Yes there should be a connection – to an extent. A connection of mutual understanding, comfort and confidence. Remember that you aren’t looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend (but if you find one, awesome 🙂 ).
Just don’t let them practice on you man. Been there, done that, and ended up with stripper boobs (nothing against strippers, of course, but big ass boobs are not wardrobe practical).
Trust me on this.
Rate 0 for “Well, I’ve never done it, but I can certainly try” and, with no more than a cursory glance says “Yes” to anything you ask. Or “Sure! let’s do it on Friday!”
Rate 5 for ” Let’s take a look and talk about realistic expectations”
Before and After Pics !
You should be able to peruse a veritable supply of photos showing how the surgeon has captured the desirable results in patients like you, again and again and again.
Rate 0 for “We don’t share before and after shots for patient confidentiality” or if they have many before and after shots but you notice different lighting or angle in the after photos. That’s sneaky.
Rate 5 if you are completely psyched by their before and after shots.
Is the office staff happy and upbeat, well-preserved in a natural way? Think about it.
Rate 0 if they look like wax characters and 5 if they are a la natural (or look that way anyhow)
Can you afford it? Never choose based on price. If you can’t afford the surgeon of your choice then wait until you can.
Rate 0 if they try and sell you on additional procedures or they’re price is way out of your capability
Rate 5 if the patient coordinator gives you a detailed, personalized quote on the procedure that you asked them about.
Ask Questions. Get Answers
Does it seem that your surgeon really has your best interests at heart? Does she take her time? Does she answer your questions without getting annoyed or looking at her watch. Is she rushed even though you showed up at your consult on time?
Or does she rush you or address an “issue” you did not go there to discuss.
Trust your gut.
Rate 0 if they try to upsell you on other procedures – 5 if you leave feeling well informed and comfortable.
Scoring: The lower the score the less to consider that surgeon. The highest score will be a much better bet.
For a tie I would ask the doc if you can speak to one of their patients to see how they feel about their results. If they go on about confidentiality, which they will at first, it can’t be for them to make a phone call to get permission from at least one of their patients who did the procedure you are looking into.
(I did this for my breasts and it was SUPER helpful)
If they won’t take the time for that then take a point off. Add one if they do. The rest is up to you.
This is not science guys, but useful steps when trying to thin out the herd. Always remember, though, that shit happens and sometimes even the best doctors get bad results and there is always a risk that you could be that one bad case.
Have you seen ‘Botched‘ ?