Choosing a plastic surgeon in Naples or elsewhere throughout the country can be a daunting process. Potential patients have no shortage of options, and the countless boards, societies, and other professional organizations can make it difficult to discern who does what and why these distinctions matter.
If you’re researching plastic surgeons, one term you may hear often is “board certified.” When doctors advertise that being a “board-certified plastic surgeon,” it means they have undergone rigorous written and oral testing by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Since 1937, this organization has aimed to protect patients by certifying only the most qualified and capable doctors. The ABPS is overseen by the American Board of Medical Specialties, a parent organization which regulates its 24 member boards. Each board represents a different field of medicine. A board-certified dermatologist, for example, is one who is certified by the American Board of Dermatology. Each board has its own set of stringent requirements for entrance. To learn more about the member board of the ABMS, or to check if a doctor is certified, visit the ABMS website at www.abms.org.
Other important organizations include the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. A doctor’s membership in these distinguished groups reflects his or her commitment to ethical behavior and patient safety. Surgeons are usually eager to advertise their membership on their websites. If you don’t see anything listed, it never hurts to ask.
Before-and-after photos are also a great way to assess a surgeon’s practical skill. Most surgeons post these directly on their websites, but they should also be available to see in-office during your consultation. These photos should show many patients of varied body types and ages to help you visualize your likely results.
I hope these guidelines have helped demystify the process of choosing a surgeon. Although good credentials are important, don’t underestimate the significance of a good rapport and thoughtful working relationship. The best way to decide if a doctor is right for you is by doing thorough research and meeting for an in-person consultation.