Q) While it’s still a little early for me to be scheduling anything, I think it’s safe to say that I want to have a facelift and probably a neck lift within the next two years. I’m currently 52 and I’m experiencing sagging and hanging in those areas. I don’t really have the time now but when things slow down a bit this is something I plan to do for myself. Now, I’m in a research mode. There are so many plastic surgeons out there, I want to make sure that I choose someone who is extremely qualified. What board certification should I be looking for in a surgeon? Should I ask for referrals from patients? Is there some kind of database to go to to evaluate the surgeon’s expertise and qualifications?
A) It is very important to find the right surgeon that works for you. There are surgeons who perform surgery on the face and they usually have residency training in either plastic surgery or otolaryngology, head and neck surgery. After this, they go on to specialize this practice and may have a period of training with another surgeon. In addition, the surgeons may go to various courses to keep up on the newest techniques. It is important to make sure that if you’re having a surgical procedure it is performed by a surgeon. Surgeons should have board certification from either the American College of Surgeons or the College of Surgeons of Canada or some other body depending on where in the world the surgeon practices. After this, it is important to make sure that the surgeon continues to keep his knowledge upgraded and demonstrates that his knowledge is up to date. The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery offers very rigorous examination and evaluation of surgeons and finding someone certified by this may be a good choice for your procedure. Patient referrals are also very good. However, if the surgeon is giving you the referral of the patient, it is unlikely that this surgeon will give you someone who will not speak favorably of them. So this has to be evaluated carefully. It is also important to go to the surgeon’s website and examine their philosophy and get a sense of the surgeon. After this, the next step should be to narrow them down to two or three people depending on your time and your inclination, and then actually visit the surgeon’s office and speak to the surgeon. Sitting and talking to the surgeon is probably one of the best ways to understand them and whether or not they will be the best person for you. It is also important to remember that there is not just one surgeon in the entire world who can perform the procedure so you will be able to successfully narrow it down to a small group. Choose the one that is best for you. It is also important to remember that you may have a long relationship with this surgeon and, as such, you should make sure that you like the surgeon.