Listed in Chicago
- 950 N. Northwest Highway Suite 102, Park Ridge, IL 60068
- (847) 696-9900
American Board of Plastic Surgery, 2001
As medical technologies have boomed over the past two decades, plastic surgery has made incredible advances both in reconstructing accidental injuries and congenital deformities, and in helping erase the marks, wrinkles and sags of encroaching age. Whether it’s changing a portion of the body to make it look normal or improving a “normal” facet of the body to make it look even more aesthetically pleasing, the goal of the plastic surgeon is to help the patient look good and feel good about him or herself.
Question # 1
What, if any, board certifications does the doctor have?
Typically you will want a doctor who is board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Be careful! There are many other doctors out there that are board certified in something similar or even claiming to be triple board certified. A call to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or ASPS at 1-888-4-PLASTIC (ie. 1-888-475-2784) can tell you which doctors are legitimate plastic surgeons with outstanding qualifications. You can also visit the ASPS web site at www.plasticsurgery.org. The ASPS is the only one of the 24 boards approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties that certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the face and all areas of the body.
When considering a cosmetic surgeon, you should also make sure your surgeon is a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). A call to ASAPS (1-888-272-7711) or visiting the ASAPS website (www.plasticsurgery.org) can help you verify your plastic surgeon’s exclusive membership.
To further gauge a plastic surgeon’s worth you should ask about their training. Has the surgeon completed an accredited residency program specifically in plastic surgery? Such a program usually includes three years of intensive training in the full spectrum of reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. Usually this residency is completed after already completing at least 3 years of general surgery training. Let’s not forget the need to pass comprehensive oral and written exams to become board certified. Membership in ASPS also requires a plastic surgeon to regularly attend continuing medical education courses and to adhere to a strict code of ethics. So, does asking all of these questions mean you’re done? Of course not – ask to actually see their diplomas and certificates. Look closely. In most states, a licensed physician may perform plastic surgery without being board-certified in plastic surgery. Just because a doctor is board-certified does not mean he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
Again, I am a board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an active member of both the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS).
Question # 2
How long has the doctor been performing this procedure?
Experience does help. And you will want to pick a doctor who has performed the procedure more than a handful of times.
In the past year alone, I’ve performed hundreds of cosmetic breast, liposuction, tummy tuck, nasal, eyelid and facial rejuvenation procedures plus hundreds of other minor cosmetic procedures like mole removal, skin cancer removal, laser skin rejuvenation, laser hair removal, laser vein removal, Botox and collagen injections.
Question # 3
Can you look at typical “before” and “after” photos?
Choosing a doctor based on experience and qualifications is important but it’s more important to see their results. One good way is to look at a “before and after” book full of pictures. Carefully scrutinize the photos to see for yourself what results the doctor achieves. Also be sure to check the amount of time that has passed between each picture. In my office there are binders full of patient pictures for you to browse through. I also show my patients a power point presentation on the computer that is full of before and after pictures for any cosmetic procedure that they wish to see.
Question # 4
Can you speak with an actual patient who had this procedure done?
Happy patients are the key to a successful procedure. If you can speak with actual patients, then you’ll find out about any pain or discomfort they went through. How long was the recovery process? And of course whether or not they would go through it again. An actual patient can give you their real-life experience and help you decide.
In my office, there are many patients that you can speak to at your convenience. Ask them any question you’d like. Your conversation is private. For any cosmetic procedure, there are several different patients waiting to tell you about their experience.
Question # 5
If the procedure is to be done in an outpatient center or an office, is the facility Medicare certified and state licensed?
If a facility is certified by both of these organizations, it means there is strict adherence to safety, operational, management and sterilization protocols. I work at several hospitals and surgery centers in the Chicagoland area. The list includes Loyola’s Surgery Center in Oakbrook, 900 N. Michigan Avenue Surgery Center, Illinois Masonic Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Golf Surgery Center, Resurrection Surgery Center, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Hinsdale Medical Center, Hinsdale Surgery Center, Elmhurst Memorial Medical Center, Elmhurst Surgery Center and LaGrange Hospital. All of these hospitals and surgery centers are state licensed and accredited by Medicare (ie. they are JCAHO approved).
Along these lines, ask your surgeon if a hospital has granted them privileges to perform the operation they want to perform in their office. Maybe there is a reason they only do this surgery in their office. Maybe they do not have privileges to perform that type of surgery at a hospital. You should ask.
By the way, who performs the anesthesia? Does the doctor give his own sedation? Is the patient put to sleep by a nurse anesthetist? Or is a board certified anesthesiologist present at all times? Many doctors are able to offer a cheaper price because they skimp on something – make sure you are in safe hands. Make sure a board certified anesthesiologist is always there. I perform all of my procedures with one present. They pay attention to your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation. I perform your surgery knowing you are in safe hands.
Question # 6
Does the office offer financing?
Can you pay by credit card? Which cards are accepted? Is there any kind of other finance arrangements directly with the office? What about payment plans? Since most people cannot afford to pay for many cosmetic procedures in one lump sum, this may be an important question to consider. My office offers you multiple financing options as well as accepting cash, checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Care Credit (financing for 1-5 years with no prepayment penalty).
Question # 7
Who will perform the surgery and all of the postoperative care?
Will the same doctor who consulted with you actually perform your procedure or will part of the surgery be delegated to a surgeon-in-training? Then what about your postoperative care? Even though I still teach and regularly give lectures at many Chicagoland teaching hospitals, I personally perform all of the surgical procedures. No residents or medical students perform any part of your surgery. Believe me, none of the big academic hospitals can make you that promise!
After performing any plastic surgery, I see all of my patients the day after their surgery. Then, I see them again in 4 days, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and every year after that. Why do I keep telling my patients to come back? It’s quite simple – I love spending time with my patients and love seeing their progress after their procedure. Remember, I will not abandon you once I’ve received your payment and performed your operation. This is the most common complaint I hear from patients who have had procedures performed elsewhere. I will not rest until you are happy and completely satisfied with your results.
Knowing the answers to these 7 important questions will help you decide which surgeon you should favor with your decision.