14 Questions You Must Ask Your Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

Choosing to undergo a surgical procedure is a decision that requires preliminary research to help you understand what’s involved in your medical treatment. One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is deciding which surgeon should perform your procedure. To ensure a higher level of satisfaction and significantly reduce complications, the most suitable surgeon for you should possess specific credentials, qualities and experience. The following is a list of questions you should ask your surgeon to see if they’re the right one for you:

1. According to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, is your certified specialty designation Plastic Surgery?

Plastic Surgery is a surgical specialty that involves lengthy study and training of a minimum of 5 years, after the completion of a medical degree. This period includes extensive surgical training at a more sophisticated level than, for example, a Family Doctor who only requires a minimum of 2 years of study. Areas that aspiring Plastic Surgeons are required to explore include complicated hand surgery, reconstruction following breast and skin cancer and microsurgery. Surgical complications are also examined so that they may be dealt with swiftly and efficiently to maximize patient safety.

Because your treatment is a surgical one, you’ll want a certified “surgeon” who is trained in all aspects of surgery, rather than a “physician” with little to no surgical training.

To check the status of a doctor or surgeon, please visit the directory of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons

2. Are you a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons?

As a Royal College Fellow, your surgeon must:

  • Have completed a training program that is internationally respected
  • Have completed rigorous examination in Plastic Surgery
  • Participate, every year, in the Maintenance of Certification Program. This program ensures continuing professional development so that your surgeon better remains on the cusp of emerging trends.

According to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, selecting a Fellow means that “you are working with an expert physician”.

3. Are you an active member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario?

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) regulates the medical practice in the province. All medical doctors legally practicing in Ontario must be members of the CPSO. You can check your surgeon by visiting the College’s site at https://www.cpso.on.ca/docsearch/

4. Has any disciplinary action been taken against you by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario?

Every surgeon should possess the same values outlined by the CPSO. Disciplinary action is generally taken against a surgeon who has performed any activities that are deemed unethical, and may take the form of restrictions on their practice and suspension of their medical license. Disciplinary action is clearly detailed in the profile of any CPSO member, viewable online.

If disciplinary action has been taken, you should find out the complete details as they may help you determine whether that surgeon is suitable for you.

5.  Were you a distinguished member of your graduating class in medical school?

A solid foundation is key when considering a Plastic Surgeon’s background. The receipt of awards and scholarships while in school is a good indication that they are well educated.

6. Did you pursue Cosmetic Surgery as a sub-specialty ofyour Plastic Surgery training?

While all Plastic Surgeons have intensive surgical training, only those who further pursue Cosmetic Surgery as a sub-specialty develop the suitable knowledge to perform such procedures as breast augmentation, tummy tuck and liposuction – surgeries that focus on aesthetic rather than functional improvement. Surgical facial and body contouring procedures require specific techniques and methods that require the appropriate training.

7. Do you have hospital privileges?

A Plastic Surgeon who has hospital privileges indicates that they are able to perform procedures at the issuing hospital. Hospital privileges are only granted to Plastic Surgeons who have the right license and training. To maintain their privileges, routine peer reviews are conducted to ensure a level of quality for the safety of patients.

If preferred, your Plastic Surgeon may also perform your surgery at the hospital.

8. Do you oversee the activities of other Plastic Surgeons? Do you have experience serving in a principal role at a hospital?

A certain level of accomplishment is required before a Plastic Surgeon may serve in a principal role, overseeing the activities of other Canadian Plastic Surgeons. A principal role, such as the Head of the Division of PlasticSurgery at a hospital, means that a Plastic Surgeon is recognized by their peers as possessing the necessary qualities and credentials to suitably serve in such a capacity.

9. Do you serve on any panels or boards governing quality?

This is another question that is designed to get an understanding of the level of accomplishment in their career.

10. Do you perform your surgeries only at accredited facilities?

The surgical facilities at which your surgery is to be performed should be accredited by a nationally recognized organization. This ensures they meet standards that have been established for your safety. In order for a facility to be accredited, it must be appropriately equipped and staffed with medical professionals who have suitable qualifications.

11. Do you remain up-to-date with advancements in the field of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is a medical science that is constantly evolving, with progressive techniques, sophisticated technology, and exciting new ideas. Make sure your Plastic Surgeon remains up-to-date by asking them if they complete additional training to complement their current knowledge. You may also want to find out whether they attend, on an annual basis, national and international Plastic Surgery conferences and symposiums that take place to enhance their professional development.

12. In addition to the question above, do you ensure that your techniques are current, modifying them as necessary to optimize their effectiveness and safety?

It is the responsibility of Plastic Surgeons to always remain up-to-date so that you receive the safest and most effective treatment.

13. Has your research been published in peer reviewed national and international Plastic Surgery journals?

Conducting research allows Plastic Surgeons to obtain further understanding of a particular subject and share their findings with other doctors. When a Plastic Surgeon’s research has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, it is good indication that the findings are insightful and are of interest to the medical field.

14. Do you have many patients who have referred their friends and family primarily because of the quality of treatment they received with you?

When you have a great family doctor or dentist, chances are you tell your friends or family to go to them, too. When a Plastic Surgeon has many patients who have referred their family and friends, it is safe to assume that it’s because of the service and treatment they’ve provided.




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