At the end of the day, the more you do something, the better you get at it. This applies to whether or not that practice is within your specialty. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called Outliers, which discusses the time needed to excel at a given activity. According to Gladwell, approximately 10,000 hours is required to achieve exceptional competence in any area of life! It is a fascinating book that I recommend to everyone.
Professional athletes spend 10,000 hours or more to become the best. Bill Gates spent over 10,000 hours learning programming. Has your doctor put in his or her 10,000 hours performing the procedure you are considering? Just because someone has been trained to do a procedure and knows how to perform it, does that make them ‘good’ or even an ‘expert’ at that procedure?
Find Your Expert
Expertise comes with practice. The fallacy of the argument that ‘training is everything’ becomes clear when you have two surgeons trained similarly, yet one performs ten times as many cosmetic procedures than the other. Which of the two surgeons would you favor?
Let’s think of this a different way. Michael Jordan is one of the most gifted athletes of all time. We know him as a basketball player, but did you know he was also a prolific baseball player? Despite this, he did not make it to the Major Leagues in baseball because he spent most of his time playing basketball.
The point I want to make here is: Just be sure you aren’t letting a basketball player try to win your baseball games.
Don’t let a surgeon perform your treatment unless that specific treatment is his or her main focus. Any doctor who spends most of his time performing a cosmetic procedure will often be capable, so I suggest that you look at his track record.
What to Ask Your Surgeon Beforehand
✵ Check for Board Certification in Facial Plastic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Oculoplastic Surgery (Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery) or other specialty that is related to your cosmetic procedure of interest. Consider abfprs.org or aboto.org to look up board certified facial plastic surgeons. abplsurg.org is a website to verify board certified plastic surgeons.
✵ Is your doctor artistic? Artistry is subjective, yet you should still inquire and look closely at before and after pictures. These should speak for themselves.
✵ What is your perspective of the patient testimonials, both written, online, and live? Ask to speak with or meet former patients. If nothing else, you may be able to connect with former patients on the phone and
hear their stories. Everyone’s result is different.
✵ Did you feel comfortable with the personal chemistry? You need to form a relationship with your doctor and the staff. If you don’t trust this person or have a good feeling about him or her, listen to your heart about these important decisions. Treat this as you would any other important relationship.
✵ What is their accessibility? Do they give you their cell phone number? This is what we do at ImageLift, and it is my opinion that all plastic surgeons should give their patients their cell phone number, no matter
how busy the practice.
✵ It is a good practice to specifically ask about your procedure of interest (face, eyes, laser, etc.), making sure to ask how many of those particular procedures your doctor has performed.
✵ Look and see if your doctor has scientific publications. It is reassuring to see that your doctor invested enough to learn more about his or her chosen field.
✵ Check their malpractice history on the State Board of Medicine website.
✵ Does your doctor have hospital privileges for the procedure that you need performed?
✵ Office cleanliness and staff presentation. Were you happy with how you were treated during your consultation?
✵ It is imperative to see your doctor before scheduling a procedure.