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What to Look For When Researching a Plastic Surgeon

It seems like today there are 1000’s of plastic surgeons to choose from, but what do you begin looking for when checking the qualifications of a doctor and how do you know if they are right fit for you.  This article is to help guide you on your search to find the right doctor that suits your needs and how to stay clear from those who are not qualified. 

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon vs. Cosmetic Surgeon

There are many doctors who perform “cosmetic surgery” but are not Board Certified Plastic Surgeons at all.  These are two very different levels of training, certification and practice.  Here is what differentiates the “cosmetic surgeon” from the “plastic surgeon”.

Board certified plastic surgeons are certified by The American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and are the only members of The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS).  ASPS is the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world.  Only members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons may display the ASPS Member Surgeon Logo. This symbol of excellence in plastic surgery is what to look for when deciding on a surgeon. It tells you that you are choosing a physician who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.   By being apart of this organization signifies quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of preparation, morals, physician practice and study in plastic surgery. The society advocates for patient well-being, such as requiring its members to operate in accredited surgical facilities that have passed scrupulous external review of equipment and staffing.

In order to become a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, the plastic surgeon must complete a rigorous school schedule that can take up to 15-17 years.  Dr. Pousti has attended 4 years of college, 4 years of Medical School, 5 years of General Surgery training, and 2 additional years of Plastic Surgery Training.  The board certification process starts with the correct amount of training and then proceeds with reviewing the surgeon’s patient cases and a written test as well as an oral test. Dr. Pousti is board certified in General Surgery as well as Plastic Surgery.

  1. Obtaining training for cosmetic surgeons is done through workshops, seminars and lectures not thru a “board” who oversees the training

Hospital Based Surgical Centers vs. In Office Surgery Centers

 Because of the popularity of plastic surgery today, the number of office-based surgery centers are on the rise.  Hospitals will give privileges ONLY to surgeons who have had the correct training. Those surgeons performing “cosmetic surgery” who are not trained and/or board certified in plastic surgery, will not be given privileges to perform surgery in a hospital based surgery center and so will have to build a surgical suite in their office.

 What are the pros of having surgery at a hospital based surgery center? 

  • Safety.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR!!!  Being on the campus of a hospital can put patient’s minds at ease in regards to if there happens to be an emergency.  IF there is an emergency, the patient can be transported right over to the hospital in comparison to a patient having surgery in an office suite and having to be transported to the hospital in the case of an emergency.
  • Anesthesia.  At a hospital based surgical facility, there are strict rules about who will administer the anesthesia to the patients.  Anesthesiologists are authorized to administer anesthesia in hospital based surgical facilities vs. nurse anesthetists who can assist the surgeon with anesthesia in an office setting. 
  • Dependable. Scheduled surgery times are not likely to be delayed or bumped.
  • Comfortable. Patients can relax in a pleasant environment, far from the pre or post op patients coming in for scheduled appointments.
  • Advanced. Surgery Center boasts the newest high-tech medical equipment. Patients can be confident in the knowledge that their physicians are able to treat them using the most advanced surgical tools available.

A review of surgeries performed in U.S. doctors’ offices has concluded that death or injury is 10 times more likely in that setting than at a Same Day Surgery Center based inside a hospital, according to a study published in the prestigious Journal Archives of Surgery, September 2003.

The researchers found that 66 adverse events occurred per 100,000 procedures performed in offices compared to 5.3 problems per 100,000 procedures performed in outpatient surgical centers. The death rate per 100,000 procedures was 9.2 in offices and 0.78 in the centers, it said.  In the study some of the recorded deaths were caused by anesthesia and others by procedures that went wrong, such as an endoscope perforating the esophagus or colon.  Following the above study, the Florida board of quality control has forbidden all surgeons from performing cosmetic surgeries in their offices even though such practice saves money.





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