Third Quarter 2009, Volume 23, Number 4

Trust your face to a facial plastic surgeon


Latest trends show increase in minimal invasive procedures on men, women, and for work reasons

Chin and cheek implants can help restore youthfulness and enhance your profile

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Trust your face to a facial plastic surgeon

You are considering facial plastic surgery. How do you go about finding the right surgeon? To whom do you trust your face? Your facial plastic surgeon should possess the following qualities:

  • Experience and excellent training
  • Compassion and empathy
  • Good judgment
  • Good surgical skills
  • Strong sense of ethics
  • Pleasant personality
  • Board certification in appropriate specialty

Consider the following guidelines.

  • Research your physician. Does he or she practice in a specialty you normally would associate with facial enhancement or improvement?
  • Is this doctor a surgeon, trained in an appropriate specialty?
  • Is this doctor board certified? By what board?
  • Board certification is a process offered by a number of medical specialty organizations in order to evaluate its physician members in terms of their knowledge, experience, judgment, decision-making, and ethics. The goal is ultimately to improve the level of care that the public receives. Certification by a medical board means that a physician has met the standards set by that particular board.

    For example, the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery requires that the surgeon be a graduate of an approved Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) surgical residency program, possess a valid medical state license, undergo peer review evaluation of his or her surgical experience, achieve satisfactory passing of a rigorous written and oral exam, provide references by several other reputable surgeons, and possess a high code of ethics (

Other boards such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Otolaryngology, etc., certify physicians who are trained in surgery of this region. It would seem to be less pertinent if the board certification were in a specialty far removed from the area of expertise you are seeking.

  • If a surgeon, does he or she have privileges to operate in an approved surgical facility such as a hospital or accredited surgery center?
  • How long has the surgeon been practicing this specialty?
  • When you visit the surgeon’s office, are you comfortable with the surroundings and how the staff treats you?
  • When you meet the surgeon, are you comfortable with him or her and able to develop a good rapport?
  • Does the physician take time to really listen to your concerns and clearly answer all your questions in plain language?
  • Are your best options explained to you, including the pros and cons of that procedure or surgery?
  • Is this doctor going to be the one treating you or will some of this be relegated to another person?

These questions are intended to help you wisely select a suitable facial plastic surgeon. There are other pertinent questions that can be asked as well. There is no intention to imply that a particular specialty is the only one appropriate for a given patient. Excellent physicians may be affiliated with a number of different organizations and educational entities.

It is always important for a prospective patient to spend time in a face-to-face consultation with the physician and try to develop a level of comfort, trust, and openness with that physician. Sometimes visiting more than one physician is helpful.

Take your time, ask questions, and allow yourself to choose a physician you feel is right for you and your situation. The seven qualities listed in the bulleted list are valued and you should see as many of them as possible in your physician. The wise patient will want to trust their face to a surgeon who merits that trust.