On the 9th episode of Season 3 titled “Stay on Message,” one of the featured women, Sonja Morgan, takes her friend, Ramona Singer to her plastic surgery consultation to help her ask the surgeon necessary questions about her lipoplasty (liposuction) procedure.
During the consultation, Ramona Singer asked the surgeon if he had operating privileges at a hospital to perform the procedure in question, what year he was board certified in, and if he is a member of ASAPS.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the only national organization of board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic surgery, applauds Ms. Singer’s questions and suggests that other people considering plastic surgery ask the same questions during their consultations or bring along a friend who will.
The Aesthetic Society offers the following list of questions as a guideline of what to ask during a consultation with a plastic surgeon:
- Check Board-Certification: A doctor’s board-certification is the best indicator of his or her training in a particular medical or surgical specialty. Look for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only Board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify doctors in the specialty of plastic surgery.
- Check ASAPS Membership: ASAPS membership ensures that a doctor not only is ABPS-certified (or, in Canada, certified in plastic surgery by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.) but also has significant experience in cosmetic surgery. ASAPS membership is by invitation only.
- Check Facility Accreditation: Cosmetic surgery can safely be performed in a hospital, a surgicenter or an office-based surgical facility: Current published data show that accredited office-based facilities have a safety record comparable to that of hospital ambulatory surgery settings. However, the majority of office-based surgical facilities are not accredited. Another advantage of selecting an ASAPS member is that all ASAPS surgeons operate in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified facilities.
- Check Hospital Privileges: Before granting operating privileges, hospital review committees evaluate a surgeon’s training and competency for specific procedures. Wherever the surgery will be performed, be sure that the surgeon has operating privileges in an accredited hospital for the same procedure being considered.
- Check Reliable Sources: Asking a patient’s primary care doctor for recommendations is a good place to start, and friends may offer suggestions; but the surgeon’s board-certification should always be verified independently by contacting the American Board of Plastic Surgery (www.abplsurg.org). Free referral information to board-certified plastic surgeons with significant experience in cosmetic surgery can be found on www.surgery.org. ASAPS’ web site also offers extensive information about cosmetic surgical procedures.