News | Published February 18, 2013 | Written by Emily Peterson, MD, reconstructive & cosmetic surgery, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Choosing a plastic surgeon

Emily Peterson, MD, plastic surgeon, Reconstructive & Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery is on the rise, and patients are able to choose from a myriad of choices ranging from Botox to major surgical procedures. How can you be sure you’ll have the best possible outcome?

Research your desired procedure and schedule an initial consultation. Internet research is a good starting point, but no amount of information gleaned from a physician’s bio or results photos can replace an office consultation in which you meet your prospective surgeon.

When choosing a plastic surgeon, be sure he or she is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which is one of 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Board certified plastic surgeons are trained in the art and medicine of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. It is important to remember there is NO board certification in cosmetic medicine or surgery. Anyone claiming certification of this specialty should be questioned further regarding their credentials. Likewise, there is nothing stopping a physician trained in another field such as pediatrics or family medicine, from performing “cosmetic surgery”. So it is critical to see if the physician is board certified in plastic surgery.

During your office consultation, discuss your goals and concerns openly and honestly with your surgeon. Be honest about your medical history. Your surgeon will examine you, and determine what procedures will address your concerns. Risks and benefits of each proposed procedure will be discussed. Ask questions, and ask to review before and after photos of the proposed procedure. 

Your surgeon may ask you to see your primary care physician prior to undergoing surgery, and will advise you to quit smoking and be at a stable weight. 

All elective surgery carries some risk, and all cosmetic surgery involves scarring. Work closely with your surgeon to minimize your risks and follow your surgeon’s instructions.

Surgical complications can arise, so it is important to have a good relationship with your surgeon if you experience a problem.