If you’re planning breast augmentation and there happens to be a plastic surgery practice down the street, be advised that proximity shouldn’t even be on your list of criteria for choosing a plastic surgeon! There are several criteria to have on your checklist, and today’s information-gathering techniques can help you evaluate candidates wherever they may be located. If the plastic surgeon who's right for you turns out to be in another county, or even state, so be it.
As you’re getting started with your research, the first thing you should do is talk to women who have had breast enhancement surgery. If you don’t know someone personally who has taken the plunge, never fear. There are many online forums you can visit where women discuss their experiences with surgeons and lend advice to others. Just Google “breast augmentation forum” and you’ll find over a dozen places to browse.
When you start developing a list of plastic surgeons to investigate, make sure each one is just that: a plastic surgeon. The easiest way to tell that your candidates have been trained specifically in plastic surgery, and not in another medical discipline, is to consider only surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Plastic surgeons’ Web sites should tell you these kinds of details.
In fact, that’s the next step: spending plenty of time on each candidate’s Web site. Make sure you read all the pages devoted to breast surgery and all the information about the doctor and his or her practice. Keep in mind that Web sites are marketing tools for physicians, so it’s understandable that there may be beautiful images to entice you and text to attract search engines. But there should also be plenty of information that truly helps you learn. A plastic surgeon’s Web site is very often the first time they have an opportunity to reach out to you. They should invest in making this contact as worthwhile for you as it is for them.
Spend time browsing the photo galleries of your prospective plastic surgeons. Look at the before and after images presented online with a critical eye. Does it appear that the surgeon has tailored the breast augmentation procedure to fit the body structure of each individual patient? Are the results beautiful and natural looking? If you find a surgeon offering no online photos, you may want to move on. There could be several reasons a physician does not take the time to display examples of his or her work. But none of them are appealing!
Once you have two or three qualified plastic surgeons on your list, it’s time to set up consultations. If one or more of your choices is too far away for an easy visit, they should offer you a “virtual consultation” aided by mail/email and phone. No matter the format, you should feel welcome, at ease and listened to. The surgeon should not make you feel rushed, and under no circumstances should you feel “sold.”
If you have done all the preliminary work, at this point you can trust your instincts. You may want to have a conversation with a couple of your leading candidate’s breast augmentation patients just to be sure, but chances are you will know who your plastic surgeon should be by now. If this means you’ll be having surgery some distance from your home, make arrangements to relax and recover for a few days near your plastic surgeon’s operating room, secure in the knowledge that you made a good choice.