A woman considering a breast augmentation should expect her surgeon to be well trained, experienced and artistic. Body types vary from person to person and one operation does NOT fit all. Although I refer to the surgeon as male, there is an increasing number of women plastic surgeons and, as with gynecologists, this may be a factor in a woman’s decision.
The most important element is not even a question. It is your gut feeling. How does the surgeon make you feel? Are you comfortable with the way he handles your consultation? Does he spend the time with you that you need or is he rushing you? Is he listening to your concerns and answering your questions or is he just reciting a well-rehearsed list of bullet points that he can put into the medical record for medico-legal purposes?
Your general impression should also take into account what friends and neighbors have to say about him. If you know any medical professionals, nurses or physicians, ask them what they know about the surgeon. Also note how the office staff treats you. The office’s demeanor is dictated from the top down and any worthwhile surgeon insists that his office staff treat patients as he himself would.
The first actual question should be an instant deal breaker if the answer is no. Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? The ABPS is the ONLY recognized Board that prepares and certifies its members to perform breast augmentation. A recent graduate (within two years of finishing his training) of a certified residency may be board eligible and not yet taken his board examination, but that is the only exception to this question. If he has been board eligible for more than two years, ask why he is not yet board certified.
The next question to ask is, “Where will my surgery be performed?” The answer must be that it will be performed in an operating room certified by one of the following three agencies: JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care) or AAAASF (American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities). These are the only three organizations that, at present, have rigorous requirements aimed at providing patient safety and plastic surgeons belonging to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are required sign an attestation that ALL their major surgery is performed at certified facilities. Any surgeon who cares about his patients will be uncompromising about this issue.
After receiving the answers to the above questions, independently verify them. Call the organizations or visit their web sites and confirm that your doctor is indeed board certified and that the operating facility is also certified by the organization he claimed. If you find a discrepancy, call the surgeon’s office and ask for an explanation. If the reasons given are unsatisfactory, report the surgeon to the organization and find another surgeon.
It is important that a surgeon performs the operation you are seeking on a regular basis. Understand that, in smaller communities, surgeons will perform a procedure less often than in a large metropolitan area where more people seek the same procedure. Surgeons in a suburban or rural area will perform a wide variety of procedures whereas surgeons in a larger city will often perform fewer procedures more often. Ask your surgeon how often he performs a breast augmentation and how many he has done over the years. You should expect your surgeon to perform a breast augmentation at least twice a month.
Your surgeon should perform a breast examination in the presence of a female staff member before making any recommendations. If he begins to describe what he plans to do before examining you, be suspicious and ask why. How can he formulate a plan without knowing what your anatomy is like?
After the above matters have been settled, the surgeon should proceed with the consult and provide answers to:
- What anatomical features are unique to my body and how will that affect your surgical plan?
- What kind of implant would be best for me?
- What restrictions will I have after surgery and for how long?
- What are the common complications and how often do they occur?
- In the event of a complication, what charges might I be responsible for?
- What is capsular contracture, how often does it occur in your hands and how do you manage it?
- What are your charges, what do they include and what do they not include?
- What will happen to my medical record in the future if you have retired and an issue arises with my implants?
Understanding the background and training of your potential surgeon is extremely important and necessary to make an educated choice. You should feel confident to proceed with your desired procedure if all of your questions were answered effectively and you have a good overall feeling about the surgeon.
Contact Our Practice
For more information about how to choose a plastic surgeon for your breast augmentation procedure, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Enrique Silberblatt, please contact Aesthetic Surgery of Virginia today.