How To Make Sure Your Next Plastic Surgery Is Safe

If you’re dumb, you forget that plastic surgery is surgery with an extra word in front of it, a doctor tells CNN in their article on getting nip/tucked safely. As with any surgery, there’s no real way to make it completely safe, but here are five tips from their article that you should follow to improve your odds. In fact, they’re probably good tips for any kind of surgical procedure.

  1. Make sure the doctor is board certified by one of the major professional organizations in his field.
  2. Make sure the doctor’s office is accredited by a national group that inspects facilities to ensure they’re safe.
  3. Ask about prevention plans for complications. With plastic surgery, the big risk comes from deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  4. Confirm that your doctor has privileges at a hospital to perform the procedure. Even if he’s not going to perform the procedure at the hospital, the hospital should trust him enough to extend those privileges to him. If he says no, say so long. If he says yes, confirm it with the hospital.
  5. Find out how many times the doctor has performed the procedure. Compare his experience with other doctors in the area.

Update: Heather, who claims she works in the plastic surgery industry, wrote in to provide more information and to highlight the two list items she thinks are most important:

#1 is most important. For plastic surgery, patients should verify that the surgeon is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon (US). This can be done by visiting the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s website- http://www.plasticsurgery.org. In order to become a member of the ASPS, the doctor must be a board certified plastic surgeon and meet additional criteria.

It is very important to note that there are MANY doctors performing plastic surgery (liposuction, breast augmentations, etc.) that are not board certified plastic surgeons. Essentially in the US, any board certified doctor (General Surgery, Dermatology, ENT, etc) can perform plastic surgery.

Many horror stories from plastic surgery arise from non-plastic surgeons. While I am not clear what happened in Ms. Argentina, most people do know about Kanye West’s mother. She originally visited a plastic surgeon who said she was not clear to have surgery at that time and needed further attention from her cardiologist. For whatever reason, she selected a different surgeon (not a board certified plastic surgeon) to perform her operation. While, I am sure there are many non-plastic surgeons who perform plastic surgery very well, you do need to question why that doctor did not take the time to acquire the official training necessary.

#4 is very important as well. The surgeon needs to have privileges at a hospital to perform plastic surgery, even if he is not doing the surgery in the hospital. A hospital will only provide privileges to Board Certified Plastic Surgeons to perform plastic surgery in their hospital.

If the doctor is lacking hospital privileges, but does meet accreditation for his/her own operating room, that is simply not enough.

Also, be sure to check out our commenter NickelMD’s advice below on how to prepare a realistic risk-assessment before making any decision on cosmetic surgery.

“What really killed the beauty queen?” [CNN]