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Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures - Choosing a Surgeon and Facility

Finding a cosmetic surgeon that you have confidence in and are comfortable talking to is extremely important when you are considering cosmetic surgery or procedures. You and your doctor can work together to build a treatment plan that both meets your needs and is realistic.

You may want to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon. Many cosmetic surgeons offer free or low-cost consultations. Sometimes a consultation fee is applied to the cost of the surgery.

No other single thing may influence the results of cosmetic surgery as strongly as the doctor's level of experience. Don't be afraid to ask about the doctor's experience with the procedure you are considering. Request before-and-after photographs of other people who have had the procedure done. And ask to see the worst results as well as the typical and best results.

Doctors with special training in cosmetic surgery should be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Take your time finding a cosmetic surgeon that you like and trust. Ask your doctor for recommendations. And contact the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for a list of qualified surgeons in your area.

You will have a greater chance of being happy with the results of cosmetic surgery if you find a cosmetic surgeon who listens to you and understands what you want to achieve. People differ in what they consider an "ideal" face, nose, breast, or body type. Your and your doctor's vision of what is ideal may not be the same. Make sure that your doctor understands what you want. Also remember that cosmetic surgery is done to enhance your own appearance and not necessarily to duplicate that of someone whose physical appearance you admire.

It is important to understand and accept what can and cannot be achieved with cosmetic surgery, based on your skin or body type, age, medical history, the surgeon's experience, the limits of technology, and other things. A good cosmetic surgeon can help you understand how these things affect your cosmetic surgery options.

Any licensed medical doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgery, but the levels of training and experience in cosmetic surgery vary widely. For your own safety, avoid doctors who are not board-certified, and look for a cosmetic surgeon with a lot of experience. Doctors who most commonly do cosmetic surgery and procedures include:

  • Plastic and reconstructive surgeons. These doctors are board-certified specialists in cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery and have multiple years of training in these fields. All members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
  • Otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists. Many of these doctors have additional training in cosmetic surgery of the head and neck and may belong to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

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