This is, and always will be, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. Having been a resident and taught residents, it’s become apparent that you simply can’t train everyone to be a good surgeon. Through the years as I’ve practices, I’ve tried to remain humble (as my mother taught me), and strive to improve every year. Sometimes people heal poorly, and it just can’t be helped, but I’ve seen a lot of poor outcomes that could have been avoided. So what can lead to bad outcomes and what to look for in a surgeon.
Many surgeons are just in a hurry. I’ve heard surgeons brag over and over about how fast they can get a procedure finished. Good for them, but in my opinion plastic surgery is an art, not a race. The finish line is perfection, but if you have your sights on something else, you are bound to make mistakes.
Many surgeons lack any artistic eye. Surgery is taught as a scientific discipline. To excel in plastic surgery, it’s important not only to understand the technical aspects of a procedure, but the object of beauty for which you strive. Proper evaluation and knowledge of what is beauty should guide every surgeon’s hand.
Hubris or ego getting in the way of proper technique. I’ve seen it over and over where a surgeon blames everyone and everything around him for poor outcomes. Much of this comes from ego and the belief that they can do no wrong. A healthy dose of humility and introspection helps reduce errors and if something does go wrong, makes sure that it isn’t repeated due to blind arrogance.
Those are just a few things which I’ve felt go into making a good plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, some of these things cannot be taught. So what can you do to find a good plastic surgeon? Well the obvious answer is simply come to my office! Other criteria include checking their board certification. Make sure it is in plastic surgery – not in an unrelated specialty such as obstetrics or emergency medicine. Look at the before and after pictures. If you know references ask them of their experience and also peruse the online reviews. Many of these sources can be very helpful in your journey. Lastly, when you meet your surgeon, make sure you “click” with him or her. If they don’t give you a good feeling, look elsewhere. Keep in mind that if you do see someone, I would love the opportunity for you to get to know my staff and me so we offer free second opinions. Good luck! Remember, “Be BeautifulTM!”