Kent V. Hasen, MD: Aesthetic Plastic Surgery & Med Spa of Naples
3699 Airport Pulling Road North
Naples, FL 34105

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Kent V. Hasen, M.D.

Dr. Hasen

When considering plastic surgeons in Naples and Fort Myers, you can use the following criteria to choose one who is well trained, safe and qualified:

This can be a confusing topic because there are many different "Boards" that have been created for physicians who practice cosmetic surgery. Just remember that not all "Boards" are created equally.

While there are many different organizations which a physician can go through to bill himself or herself as a plastic surgeon, only one — The American Board of Plastic Surgery — requires the rigorous training in the broad fields of general surgery, hand surgery, pediatric surgery, microsurgery, cosmetic surgery, and comprehensive reconstructive surgery for the entire body. There are 24 specialty boards that are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA). The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the ONLY specialty board for plastic surgery recognized by the ABMS and the AMA. The American Board of Plastic Surgery not only tests the knowledge and skills of the candidates through a rigorous multi-step process culminating in written and oral exams, but also demands that the candidates live up to the highest ethical standards. When choosing a plastic surgeon in Fort Myers / Naples, you can check if he or she is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery by visiting the organization's website: www.abplsurg.org.

Board Logos

The American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery instead, has nothing to do with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This "Board" is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The vast majority of the doctors certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery did not complete formal plastic surgery training.

There is no official board of ophthalmic plastic (or oculoplastic) surgery. Thus, an ophthalmologist specializing in ophthalmic plastic surgery cannot, by definition, be board certified in ophthalmic plastic surgery. Instead, a board-certified ophthalmologist who practices ophthalmic plastic surgery can become a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASOPRS).

Another board not recognized by the ABMS is the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). This board divides its certification into three separate areas: general cosmetic surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, and dermatologic cosmetic surgery. All candidates for certification by the ABCS must be initially board certified by one of the following ABMS-approved specialties: plastic surgery, otolaryngology, general surgery, ophthalmology with oculoplastic surgery fellowship, oral/maxillofacial surgery with an M.D. degree, or dermatology. As of approximately 5 years ago, obstetricians and gynecologists are no longer allowed to become certified by the ABCS. After obtaining initial board certification in one of the above fields, the physician can then become certified by the ABCS by either the fellowship route or the experience route.
(adapted from Youn, Anthony S. M.D., "The Yellow Pages Plastic Surgeon" Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Volume 115(1) January 2005 pp 317-319.)

American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS):

Board Logos

These are the leading organizations of board certified plastic surgeons. The ASPS website (www.plasticsurgery.org) has a member finder and the Plastic Surgery Information Service which can help locate Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in your area.

ASAPS is the premiere society of a select group of American Board of Plastic Surgery certified surgeons who specialize in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast and body. Dr. Hasen has been active in ASAPS for the past 5 years as a committee member serving on the Practice Relations Committee. Their website (www.surgery.org) has a member finder as well as information on many of the procedures performed by plastic surgeons.

Training: It is important to know where the surgeon went to medical school, but even more importantly where and what type of general and plastic surgery training he or she received. Be sure to find out if the surgeon completed an accredited residency program at a top hospital specifically in general and plastic surgery. Such a program includes at least 3 year of general surgery training and 2 to 3 years of intensive training in the full spectrum of reconstructive and cosmetic plastic procedures. While your plastic surgeon may choose to concentrate on a limited number of procedures, this comprehensive background gives a solid foundation to his or her skills.

Hospital Privileges: Even if your surgery will be performed in the doctor's own surgical facility, he or she should have privileges to perform that procedure at an accredited hospital in your community. If for some reason you require hospitalization, the surgeon can admit you for inpatient care. Hospital privileges also means the surgeon is subject to review and approval by his or her peers. Call the hospital to make sure your surgeon has privileges specifically in plastic surgery.

Friends: If you know someone who's had a procedure like the one you're considering, talk to them about it. But don't decide on a surgeon based on one friend's experience. Every patient is unique, and so is every surgery; your results might be quite different from your friends.

Other Doctors: Your family doctor or a surgeon in the local hospital may be able to recommend a plastic surgeon.

Nurses: Operating room nurses are some of the best sources for information on the technical skill and artistry of a plastic surgeon.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons: Their website (www.plasticsurgery.org) has a member finder and the Plastic Surgery Information Service which can help locate Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in your area.

Advertising: Remember that there is very little truth in advertising. Massive ad campaigns do not equate with a better surgeon. Instead it may suggest that the surgeon cannot rely on word of mouth advertising to keep his or her practice thriving. The yellow pages and other advertising sources are filled with surgeons claiming to be plastic surgeons, but keep in mind that doctors can list themselves under any specialty heading they like and can advertise any service they want to sell, regardless of their training or credentials. Similarly, doctors quoted in newspaper and magazine stories may or may not be qualified "experts."

Experience: Although there's no magic number of years in practice or procedures performed that defines "experience," you should feel comfortable that the surgeon you choose is well versed and up-to-date in the procedure you're considering. You can ask the surgeons on your list if they do the procedure frequently or only occasionally, and when they last performed that procedure.

Checking credentials: It is important to check on the credentials of any surgeon that you are considering. Some doctors with no specific residency training (such as otolaryngologists (ENT), general surgeons, vascular surgeons, gynecologists, dermatologists, family physicians, podiatrists and even dentists) perform body liposuction, tummy tucks, and even breast augmentation. While good credentials can't guarantee you a successful outcome, they can significantly increase the odds. You should reference directories, hospitals and professional societies and the surgeons office to obtain validation of the credentials.

Consultation: If you have narrowed your list down to 2-3 surgeons, you might want to see each of them for an initial consultation. This allows you to compare their personalities, staff, fees and the way they answer your questions and explain the risks and benefits involved with the procedure(s) you desire. Keep in mind, that it is common to be charged a consultation fee, whether or not you choose the surgeon.

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