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5 Questions You Should Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

When considering a plastic surgeon to perform the surgical procedures you desire, it is vital to your safety and the quality of your results to make sure you ask the right preliminary questions. Before you make a commitment, Weston plastic surgeon Robert E. Rothfield, MD, FACS, recommends making these five important inquiries:

1. Are You Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
There are many physicians who call themselves “plastic surgeons” or “cosmetic surgeons.” Just take a quick look in the Yellow Pages. In Florida, any licensed physician may perform plastic surgery without being board-certified in plastic surgery. Just because a doctor is board certified does not mean he is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. There are only 5,738 plastic surgeons that are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery… the only one of the 24 boards approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) that certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the face and all areas of the body.

2. Has your medical license ever been suspended or restricted or sanctioned in Florida or any other state?
Nothing else needs to be said.

3. Do you have hospital privileges?
This is extremely important for several reasons. If you have a problem during or after any procedure, you want your surgeon to be able to take care of you. A surgeon without hospital privileges will not be allowed by a hospital to care for you. Just as important, hospitals will not grant privileges to surgeons without some type of peer review. In other words, a surgeon has to prove to the hospital competency in a given procedure before a hospital will grant him privileges to perform a given procedure. You should not be having a surgical procedure (such as liposuction), if your doctor does not have privileges for that procedure (such as liposuction) in a hospital, even if the procedure is being performed in the office or an outpatient surgical center.

4. Where do you perform your surgery?
Common sense would dictate that surgery should be done only in a facility that is safe and well equipped. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons mandates that its members operate only in accreditated facilities. This is the least that you should expect. However, even accreditated facilities can vary dramatically from one to the next. An office operating room, even with a board certified anesthesiologist, is very different from a surgery center or hospital that have several anesthesiologists and an entire team of nurses and technicians.

5. Who will be seeing me after surgery?
Post surgical care is just as important as pre surgical care. Most complications from surgery are seen within the first 24 hours. Although a nurse or PA (physician’s assistant) can check your wound or even remove your stitches, only your surgeon is fully qualified to evaluate you.

For plastic surgery performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, we encourage you to schedule a complimentary consultation at Weston Plastic Surgery with Dr. Robert E. Rothfield. While his impeccable credentials, outstanding patient reviews, safety record, and reputation as a leader in the field of plastic surgery all speak volumes about his capabilities as a surgeon, it is best to meet with Dr. Rothfield in person to find out if he is the right plastic surgeon for you. Dr. Rothfield invites his potential patients to ask questions and participate in the consultation process as much as possible to achieve a clear communication about their health and cosmetic concerns, expectations, and desired results. At every stage of the process, your safety and satisfaction are his top priorities.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on August 25, 2009.

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