PST 001: How to Avoid Bad Plastic Surgery — Read the Transcript
Welcome to plastic surgery talk with Dr. Stephen Mulholland brought to you by SpaMedica. Hello, my name is Dr. Stephen Mulholland. I’m a plastic surgeon in Toronto, Canada. I’ve been doing cosmetic plastic surgery for over 20 years located at 66 Avenue Road in the heart of Yorkville.
I have a private surgery center that is government certified. We can keep patients overnight for 24 hours. We can offer local anesthesia, IV sedation and general anesthesia. We’re focused on quality service, excellent outcomes and safety, which brings us to the topic of today, how to avoid a bad plastic surgery procedure.
This initial podcast and this initial video is the first of a series of many podcasts and videos that I’m going to be delivering to educate the consumer, to bring awareness to some of the procedural issues and some of the themes, concerns and relevant information that I think a consumer, potential patient needs to understand before embarking upon a surgery. Or when you’ve had a complication or an outcome, what to do about it.
One of the critical elements in avoiding a bad plastic surgery procedure outcome is selecting the right plastic surgeon. How to find the right physician for your procedure. Well, you want to make sure if you’re having plastic surgery that your plastic surgeon is, A, certified and, B, experienced with a good reputation. You want to go online with the college of physicians and surgeons of your province or your medical state board and make sure that your physician is a certified plastic surgeon.
In some jurisdictions, the physician can call them self a plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon, but they’re not. You want to make sure that they are board certified either with a Canadian, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or with the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Once certified, you want to make sure that plastic surgeon is experienced in the procedure you’re looking for. What is their focus or subspecialty interest? Are they mainly face, or are they body? They do a lot of both. Had they had subspecialty certification in, for example, nose jobs? If you’re looking for rhinoplasty. How many years have they been performing the surgery? How many surgeries have they done? What complications have they seen? How do they manage those complications?
You want to make sure that your plastic surgeon, after certified, can give you lots of before and afters in the specific procedure you’re looking for. Can refer you to patients who you can meet with, chat or can converse with about their procedure because they may have very similar experiences to you.
You want to make sure that you’re comfortable with the team and the environment. It’s not just the surgeon, but the nursing team, the anesthetic facility, who’s providing the anesthesia, the overnight recovery setting. You want to make sure that they are set-up for safety as well as excellence.
You can also go online to rating sites. You can check out your physician and their experience on RealSelf, Yelp, Citysearch, RateMD, Facebook, Google +, and in general, a very busy surgeon is going to have a lot of reviews. You’re going to have some very good ones, some good ones. You’ll have some that aren’t so good. Perhaps the service commitment wasn’t there. The patient is a bit malicious. You want to have a balanced rating site from a physician who’s experienced.
Then the final analysis, when you put that all together, you want to make sure you have a good connection with your doctor. That they’ve listened carefully to you. That they understand your goals and expectations, validate that those are realistic. They have a plan that makes sense to get you there.
Things don’t always work out. They usually do, and when they don’t, does your surgeon have a backup plan for some of the minor complications that can occur? When you’ve gone through that process, you have interviewed the surgeons as much as they’ve interviewed you. You’ve done your research and your diligence online. I would recommend seeing two, maybe three surgeons who are reputable in your market for that procedure and then make the decision based on those very important factors we’ve discussed here today.
What’s the difference between a certified plastic surgeon and a physician who may call them self a cosmetic surgeon? A certified plastic surgeon is certified by a governing body or training body in Canada. That’s the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. It means that me as a plastic surgeon and my colleagues have done training in general surgery, training in plastic surgery and passed a rigorous set of exams both oral and written in safety and outcome to ensure that the regulatory body of this country, Canada, has certified you in that specialty training. In this case, plastic surgery.
In the United States, there’s the American Board of Plastic Surgery and they will have to pass an oral and a written examination. You have to present a series of procedures that meet that minimum criteria and have a minimum of experience that meets the certification criteria for the United States.
Some jurisdictions in Canada, some provinces allow physicians to call them self cosmetic surgeons, even though they may not be a certified surgeon. Sometimes, those cosmetic surgeons can get good results. They often offer injectables such as Botox injectables and soft tissue fillers and even some minor surgical procedures.
When you’re entertaining surgery, you want to make sure that your physician is at least a certified surgeon and preferably in the area of plastic surgery. There’s some surgeons that are board certified in ophthalmology, otolaryngology, ENT, head and neck oncology and they may be facial plastic oriented surgeons or oculoplastic surgeons. Again, those are sub-variants. Just be very careful in states that do not require a physician to state specifically and accurately what specific American board specialty training they have.
Like most things in the world of consumer patient advocacy, you need to be your own advocate. You need to find a certified surgeon. Once you have one, that does not mean they’re the best trained for the procedure you’re looking for, but you want to start with a certified surgeon if you’re having a surgery and then dissect through the various certified surgeons in your market for the best plastic surgeon for you.
In the noninvasive space where we’re talking Botox injectables, soft tissue fillers, laser energy based treatments on the skin, any physician or sometimes even non-physicians can deliver those services. It doesn’t mean if you’re a plastic surgeon or dermatologist you have more skin expertise to deliver them. Usually yes, but not always. Again, research your non-surgical physicians. Ensure they have adequate skin training and laser and injectable experience to serve the needs you’re looking for.
It is truly buyer-beware. You are the buyer, beware. Search out online, offline, all the things and various information centers you need to make the right decision for you. Once you found a physician or a group of physicians that you’re investigating, you have to then ask yourself, “How do I evaluate their work?”
First and foremost, you need to understand what you, the consumer, the patient, what is it you’re trying to achieve to have a good sense of the expectations and outcomes you want. Make sure then the physician’s skillset meets those expectations.
Be very careful of iconic images in the media. Currently in 2018, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump is quite popular. She’s got nice skin, lips. Getting a lot of procedures done. Or the Kardashians or whatever X, Y, Z Hollywood or iconic social media star of the day is, because sometimes those trends to be bit extreme. They may not have the longevity you’re looking for.
You want to make sure that you are role modeling a face, body and figure that you want to achieve that matches your set of anatomic variable. Have good expectations, realistic expectations and then saw the doctor that can offer you the following. A great gallery of before and afters. Should be able to show you, in some instances, for example, rhinoplasty surgery or breast surgery. Three-dimensional computer imaging of the outcomes and the ranges of outcomes you might expect.
You should be able to have some testimonial customers both video, written and maybe even the live review of the operative site and the patient where you can ask them their experiential questions. You want to make sure the patient and doctor relationship is such that they can sit you in front of the mirror and show you with your face, your contour. The range of improvements that you should expect.
The doctors should be confident after questioning on your expectations that they can be met if they’re realistic. I think those criteria of outcome prerequisites, before and afters, videos, video testimonials, a sense of a plan that make sense too in achieving your goals are going to be critical deciding if your doctor has the chops to get what you want.
You want to be able to show them the images that you want to emulate or achieve. If they are social media images, show them that you want to have the lips of Selena Gomez or the abdominal contour of Carmen Electra. You want to make sure that your expectations are not unrealistic. Disclose really what you’re seeking because it may not be realistic. A well-trained doctor is going to lead you down the right path, not the hype and promotional path.
Other signs that you have a physician that is really going to be able to deliver high quality skills to your outcome: Is the physician a recognized expert in their field with other doctors? A doctor’s doctor? For example, in my practice, I see a lot of wives of plastic surgeons doing their facelift, their procedures. If your physician seeing wives of their colleagues and they become the doctor’s doctor, usually that means there’s a skillset and a vision and an outcome and a reputation that justifies your confidence.
If the doctor is doing a lot of teaching with other physicians and other healthcare professionals about the techniques, you’re probably in good hands, because other doctors are learning the skills from your physician. It means they’re probably going to have the skillset and the ability to deliver what you want more effectively than someone that’s just learning. Look for a doctor that is well-known in their specialty and their field that does a lot of training, and that other doctors trust their family and loved ones too as well.
I want to thank you again for joining me, Dr. Stephen Mulholland here in Toronto, Canada for this podcast and this informational video. I really would encourage you, if you found this helpful, to share this on all your social channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even Snapchat. This will be available also on YouTube and on our site. If it helps in you deciding who’s going to be your physician to avoid complications and untoward outcomes, then this is valuable information. I hope it’s been useful for you. Share it with others and good luck.