How I Found My Plastic Surgeon: Look For Specialization
Finding the right plastic surgeon is a lot like dating. You’ll likely have to consult with a few doctors — and maybe meet a frog or two along the way — before you find the best one for your cosmetic surgery.
So, how do you know when you've found the one? There are a few important factors. For starters, he or she must be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, must have attended an accredited medical school, and must perform all procedures in an accredited or state-licensed surgical facility and operating room. What makes them the right doctor for you beyond professional accreditation is a bit more subjective. In this series, we ask real patients to share their surgeon-selection stories to help guide — and safeguard — your own cosmetic surgeon search.
The below interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Jon, 46, discovered that finding a board certified doctor who’d done thousands of eyelid lifts was a smart strategy when planning his own cosmetic procedure.
I decided about five years ago to do something about my heavy eyelids. My whole family has these hooded upper eyelids that seem to get heavier and heavier with age until they are literally hanging over our eyes and hampering our ability to see. My mom was the first to get a surgical procedure, followed by my older sister. I wanted to do it too, but I worried because, with men, facial plastic surgery can get really weird-looking. I feared that it would end up going too far. I didn't want my doctor to remove too much skin and leave me looking like a different person.
But my sister had her eyelid procedure done a couple of years prior and she looked great. Her eyes were still her eyes, but she looked restored. So, I decided I’d start my search by talking to her board-certified plastic surgeon, who’d largely built his career on plastic surgery procedures for what he called “ethnic eyes” like mine.
Within ten minutes of meeting this doctor I knew I was going to look no further. His demeanor made me instantly comfortable — and I am someone who gets very anxious in a medical setting, so that is saying a lot. He had an easy sense of humor and he completely understood and validated my concerns, both about being a man getting aesthetic plastic surgery and my worry regarding altering the shape of my eyes. I felt like he’d worked on my type of eyes a thousand times, which was very comforting. I also mentioned to him that I was considering doing my nose at some point too, and he said "absolutely not.” He told me he would not recommend touching my nose because it gave my face character. I now realize that he was right and, at the time, I appreciated his candor and the fact that he didn’t jump at the opportunity to make more money with more surgical procedures.
I found his staff helpful, comforting, and very professional. I don’t think one can overstate how important it is to check out both the doctor and the other people in the surgeon's office because they will also be an integral part of your care.
My initial impression was accurate, and the surgery itself was a breeze. Five years later, I am still thrilled with the results. That said, if I ever wanted more surgery, I’m not sure I would necessarily go back to him. As great an experience as it was, I do think there is something to be said for choosing a doctor who specializes in the specific surgery you want. I think one reason my surgery was such a success is that eyelid surgery was this doctor’s primary area of expertise. So, if I wanted a face lift or tummy tuck down the road, I might go with someone who specializes primarily in that specific procedure.