Cosmetic surgery is a major life changing decision. Sometimes you have been patient enough for years before you actually harp upon the idea of getting it done. When you have actually decided to go under the knife, the most important first step is to get to the right surgeon. It is vital for your safety and the success of cosmetic surgery.

“Life is about making the right decisions and moving on”

1. Ask a friend/ doctor for a referral

Use the advantage of word of mouth from a friend or relative to find a plastic surgeon. Ask a general practitioner. He or she will have insights into local services and may offer impartial advice about surgery and surgeons. Some patients are understandably reluctant to bother their GP with such requests, whilst others feel anxious their GP may be judgemental or regard their aims as frivolous. This sort of attitude is very rare nowadays amongst general practitioners and they do remain to be a reliable source of advice.

2. Find out if the Plastic Surgeon is a Board Certified

In India there are a lot of “So called Cosmetic Surgeons” “Best Plastic Surgeons” “Award winning Plastic surgeons” not actually trained in the field of Plastic Surgery, leave alone specifically cosmetic surgery.

Surgeons who are a member of Indian Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons are specially trained and qualified. You can find a qualified surgeon on this website https://www.iaaps.net/members

To become a IAAPS member a plastic surgeon has

  • Graduated( MBBS) from medical school
  • Completed training in General Surgery (DNB/MS)
  • Super specialisation in Plastic Surgery (DNB/MCh) in recognised institute
  • Two years of experience

Looking at these qualifications is important because there are a lot of non- surgeons and quacks practicing as cosmetic surgeons, who are not actually trained for the job.

When you choose an IAAPS member, you can be confident that you have made an excellent choice.

3. Internet/Social Media/ Heath apps

Doctor qualifications can be easily confirmed using official websites https://www.maharashtramedicalcouncil.in and https://www.iaaps.net/members

Social media, Websites are educational tools utilised by many practitioners to reach the patients and educate them with information which helps them in making learned decisions. Good and bad experiences of patients shared on social media can be of help. Health apps can be useful to help reach/take appointments of your chosen cosmetic plastic surgeon, at the same time can misguide you with names of untrained individuals posing as cosmetic/plastic surgeons. This information should be counter checked with above websites as these health apps have no legal and reliable information.

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4. Ask about Surgeon Experience?

Yes, it does matter, when it comes to how you are going to look for the next many  years. Cosmetic surgery is a vast field and not every qualified cosmetic surgeon you find on google can help you with your specific needs. For example, if you need hair transplant, you need to go to a Cosmetic surgeon who has done a number of similar cases and not a Cosmetic surgeon who mainly does face and body contouring surgeries. A genuine Cosmetic surgeon will always let you know during the consultation if he/she is experienced in the procedure you need, and if not will also help you to find the right Cosmetic surgeon for you. Years of surgical experience is different from experience for a particular Surgery/procedure. Newly graduated doctors shouldn’t always be avoided because sometimes they are the most up-to-date on new surgical advances.

5. Choose the right operating facility

This is as important as choosing your cosmetic surgeon. For the kind of procedure, you need, your surgeon will advice you if it can be clinic based or you need to go to an accredited hospital setting. Whether you are undergoing a major or a minor procedure, the surroundings in which you get operated has a lot to do with the final results. So, choose a cosmetic surgeon who is attached to accredited hospitals and not just practicing in a clinic sitting where he offers to do a major procedure and does not have enough emergency equipment. A surgeon accredited to major hospitals goes through a series of interviews, assessments of credentials and background checks for accredition.

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6. Choose an approachable surgeon

You may have a lot of queries regarding your procedure which may not be sorted out at the first consultation. You should feel comfortable asking questions about your cosmetic surgery procedure so that you can make an educated final decision regarding your surgery. To an approachable surgeon you can always ask your smallest doubt and the silliest question you want clarified. It is always better to ask for a second consultation before you rush into the procedure. In fact, an approachable surgeon would encourage this rather than pushing you into the procedure quickly.

7. Red flags/Beware

  • The doctor you are consulting may not be a board certified plastic surgeon. You can verify your doctors credentials at: https://www.iaaps.net/members
  • Your surgery may be performed in a non-accredited facility.
  • Accreditation ensures that strict standards are met for proper equipment, safety, surgeon credentials and staffing.
  • During the consultation the surgeon isn’t really listening to you and is giving you one size fits all answers.
  • The surgeon starts finding fault with other parts of your body and tries to sell you on additional procedures.
  • The surgeon tells you that the surgery you are considering has zero risks. All surgery carries risk. Patients need to be informed of the risks so they can make an informed decision.
  • The surgeon gives deep discount deals. Ask yourself, why? Plastic surgeons price their services based on their skill, experience, facilities and demand.
  • During or after the consultation you feel like you have been subjected to high pressure sales tactics to get you to book your surgery.
  • A doctor that won’t be involved in postoperative care and follow-up care.
  • A doctor who is impatient and rushes you to make a decision on your surgery in an environment that is not sterile.

8. Commonly made mistakes

—Not looking for plastic surgeon for any cosmetic surgical procedure.

—Not meeting your surgeon directly before operation.

—Not reading consent form before operation to confirm the procedure and the surgeon.

  • Laser treatment by parlors/ untrained doctors.

P. S. Laser treatments can cause burns or serious side effects if handled by wrongly chosen cheap available options.

  • Receiving injections for fat loss/weight loss in tummy or buttocks
  • Using health apps information as the sole guide to decision making.

P. S. There are numerous self- proclaimed cosmetic surgeons with alternate medical education with paid listing on health apps or google. This information must be verified by checking for educational qualifications.

Dr. Ashish B. Ghuge

ghuge.ashish@gmail.com