With today’s ease of information gathering, photo acquisition, and methods of presentation, contemporary plastic surgery qualifiers are much different and more defining. New questions include photographic demonstration, recent patient experiences, and educational information.
Historically, patients were advised to ask a basic list of questions to their plastic surgeon to be certain they were qualified to perform the surgery. This included board certification, in what specialty was their certification, society membership and hospital privileges. While these are still good questions, they are so simple to find and don’t have the significance that they once did.
Photographic publication surrounds us at every corner today. Whether it is on Facebook or other social media, even the most basic cell phone can take a pretty good picture. Plastic surgeons are the most advanced and proficient of all medical specialties in photography on average. Therefore, one should come to expect a good demonstration of a plastic surgeon’s most valued asset, before and after patient photographs. While it is true that any business is going to put out its best results, at the least you need to see a handful of actual patient before and after photographs. The more, the better.
A past customer’s experience is a good barometer of service and results for any business. But a patient who had surgery a long time ago is not as useful as one who has had a surgical experience in the past weeks to months. Fresh experiences are what you need and preferably from more than just one patient. Having a recent patient also suggests that the procedure is performed more than just a few times a year.
Brochures and flyers are standard educational pieces in any plastic surgery practice. But there are so many boiler-plate pieces that are available to purchase for any plastic surgery procedure that they are not only unimaginative and often useless information. What you want to see is customized practice information that provides detailed and meaningful procedure information that reflects what that plastic surgeon specifically does. You want to know what this plastic surgeon does, not what the average plastic surgery approach is. Look for a blog or some type of updated commentary about procedures on their website, information that suggests they have an interest in ongoing patient education.
If a plastic surgeon doesn’t have a website or easily can get you information and show what they can do, then consider moving on.