Anyone considering plastic surgery should choose their doctor carefully.
Dr. Lyle Leipziger, Chief of Plastic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, has this advice for anyone considering a cosmetic procedure:
Get recommendations from friends or a family doctor. You may also be able to find a qualified plastic surgeon in your area by contacting the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (www.plasticsurgery.org) or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (www.surgery.org).
Make sure the physician is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and affiliated with a major teaching hospital. A board-certified plastic surgeon has completed extensive training and passed a set of rigorous examinations.
Don't rely solely on an advertisement or a physician's Web site when choosing a doctor. Advertisements and information displayed on the Internet are not regulated. Be especially wary of advertisements that tout cosmetic procedures at cut-rate prices.
Make sure any doctor doing a surgical procedure in his or her office has privileges to perform the same surgery in a hospital. You can call the hospital to find out. Ask if an operating room in a physician's office is accredited, which means it has undergone a comprehensive evaluation and meets the same high safety standards as a hospital operating room.
Choose a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and who inspires confidence. Make sure the physician is willing to take the time to answer all of your questions in non-technical terms. The doctor should explain what you can expect in terms of the final outcome and recovery time. He should discuss possible risks as well as benefits.
Ask the doctor how much experience he or she has had in performing the procedure you are considering, and ask to see before and after photos of previous patients.
Make sure you understand all costs involved, including the fee for the surgery, anesthesia, the office-based operating room or hospital, and pre-operative tests. Cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance.
Have realistic expectations. Every patient is an individual, and while cosmetic surgery procedures can bring dramatic improvement, results can depend on age, skin elasticity and other factors.
"Plastic surgeons should provide highly individualized care. Cosmetic surgery should not make someone look unnatural or like a different person. The goal is to make the patient look better, more youthful and more refreshed," Dr. Leipziger says. Anyone who would like more information is invited to call his office: 516-465-8787.