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Dr. Ali R. Abtahi in surgery scrubs

Choosing The Right Plastic Surgeon

How Do I Choose The Right Plastic Surgeon?

Choosing a surgeon can be a daunting task. Oftentimes, patients may be lured by extravagant marketing or prominent academic names like Harvard, Yale, Hopkins, etc.  The truth is, finding “the best” plastic surgeon is MUCH more involved and requires a bit of work and research.  Below are some tips to help you navigate the plastic surgery market.

#1 Beware of Strategic Marketing

The cosmetic industry spends HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on marketing schemes designed to recruit new patients.  So remember, the following:

  • Fake Instagram followers (i.e. bot) can be purchased to hyperinflate the popularity of a surgeon or office.  The easiest way to check this is to look at the engangment on posts and review the list of followers on a surgeon’s account.  If a follower has only 1 or 2 photos, 0 followers of their own, and engages with only the surgeon’s account, its likely a fake account managed by a marketing team.
  • Online reviews and Google rankings can be buffered.  We are all guilty of googling an item we’re interested, seeing what pops up at the top of the list on page 1, and choosing the company with the highest star ranking.  Unfortunately, Google rankings can be GAMED and with the right amount of money, ANYONE (not necessarily THE BEST) can land on page 1 of Google.  Furthermore, organizations can manipulate Google star rankings through various methods to quiet poor reviews and promote only positive ones.  Though Google reviews/rankings can be very helpful to consumers, just be aware that they too can be overinflated.  There is NO perfect review system out there that is 100% honest and reflects the integrity of the business and respects the honest opinions of the consumers.  Just be aware that It is merely ONE PIECE of the pie when choosing your surgeon!
  • Before and after photos can be misleading.  Through a variety of tricks with camera angles, lighting, body position, and “staging”, mediocre or subpar results can be falsely made to look incredible.  The best way to avoid this trap is to look for 360 degree videos or photos of patient results.  Another key point is to ask for long term before and after’s at 3, 6, and 12 months postop.  And as mentioned before, meeting a patient in person is another great way to see if the pictures truly represent real life!
  • “Pay to Play” Awards.  How is it that every plastic surgery office is “Best in Dallas” or “Best in Rhino, Breast, and Body” 3 years in a row?  It’s simple – these awards are PURCHASED, often with a mock nomination and polling process to give the perception that the “public” voted on which plastic surgeon was THE BEST.  In reality, unless the public was comparing before and afters and surgical outcomes, there really is no way to determine who’s best.  In some circumstances, the surgeon themselves have proclaimed they are “the best” despite the inability to back up this title with anything other than the total number of procedures, publications, and years in practice. But if you take McDonald’s for example – they have been around for decades, served millions of cheeseburgers, are located in every city around the world, and have a ubiquitous presence in TV, print, radio, billboards, etc…yet I think we can all agree they are not THE BEST burgers! 

#2 Academic achievements DO NOT necessarily equate to surgical skill

Surgery is a MANUAL and TECHNICAL skill, whereas test taking, writing book chapters, and performing research are SCHOLASTIC abilities.  In aesthetic surgery a third quality, ARTISTRY,  is equally important as is BEDSIDE MANNER.  Be mindful that it is much less likely for a surgeon to be stellar in all of these characteristics.  More often than not, surgeons excel in 1 or 2 of these areas.  The most important qualities when choosing the right plastic surgeon are their SURGICAL ability and ARTISTIC EYE.  Reviewing before and after photos or even better, seeing a patient’s results in real life are some of the best ways to assess this. 

#3 Pricing

The price for aesthetic surgery is highly variable across the country and is dependent on multiple factors that may be completely independent of results.  Such factors include the number of years in practice, operating room and anesthesia costs, geographic location, overhead (the cost to run their office/ medspa, cover malpractice insurance, and pay for marketing (billboard, tv ads, etc.). The highest price tag is not always commensurate with the best quality and patients should always be able to justify why the costs are high.  On the opposite end, a very low price tag should alert consumers to inquire deeply about the exact products and services that are included within the estimate. These items may include: estimate list

#4 Revision policy

Medicine is an imprecise science whereby results can vary highly between patients.  Many factors contribute to the end product, some within the surgeon’s control and others that are intrinsic to the patient’s ability to heal.  Unfavorable outcomes, whether major or minor, are bound to happen to even the most experienced surgeons. An important item when researching physicians is to know what the specifics of the revision policy. Some of aspects include:

  • Who determines if a revision is warranted.  Most practices will have a timeframe of up to 12 months for patients to bring up revision concerns.  If you have a strong, trusted relationship with your surgeon, you should feel free to discuss your concerns without judgment or worry that you will insult your doctor.  Typically, the decision to perform revision surgery is a joint one whereby your surgeon will discuss the risks, benefits, alternatives and complications in an open and honest fashion.  There are instances, however, where surgeons become defensive, argumentative, or vindictive and refuse to perform revisions, passing you off to another surgeon.  Part of the initial consult should be an opportunity for you to ask directly about revision policies and for you to assess the integrity and demeanor of your surgeon.  
  • Financial responsibility.  If revision is indicated, there are associated costs that must be accounted for.  The most common policy is for the surgeon’s fee to be waived and for the patient to be responsible for anesthesia and OR costs.  In some cases, implantable devices may need to be exchanged, which is an expense that MAY be covered by the vendor’s warranty.  Expenses outside of the OR or practice are often NOT covered, but this can vary from practice to practice.  Regardless of the specifics, you should know ahead of time what your costs may entail should you require revision surgery.

#5 Cosmetic insurance

These things are important, but surgery shouldn’t be just a financial decision; it is equally important to have a good, established relationship with the surgeon. There must be a degree of meticulousness, a calming bedside manner, and open communication between the surgeon and patient about their aesthetic goals.

The relationship should be founded on thoughtfully listening to one another. The plastic surgeon is essentially an artist, and it’s important to know that no artist will be able to replicate with 100% certainty the picture the patient sees in their mind. The best the surgeon can do is to utilize open communication to understand and interpret what the patient envisions. If there’s a healthy and open dialogue, the surgeon will have the best chance of obtaining the most desirable result.

A surgeon should essentially be a teammate to be trusted and relied upon throughout the surgical journey. As an artist, the surgeon should be open to receiving honest feedback, be able to put their pride aside, and allow people to critique their work. No surgeons are perfect, no results are perfect, and there are very real potential consequences to undergoing any type of surgery.

Wow, I just can't find words to describe the difference of my body. It looks amazing! Now I can wear crop tops with confidence. Great job Dr. Abtahi.

Dr. Abtahi is the absolute truth. I loved every bit of my experience with him. I wish I could give him more than 5 stars.

Dr. Abtahi is amazing! I’m a couple weeks out from my Rhinoplasty and I couldn’t be anymore happier with my results!

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Contact Amor Propio Aesthetic Surgery to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ali Abtahi in his Plano office. He will examine you, ask questions to understand your goals for the procedure, give his recommendations for the best and safest approach, and explain what you can expect at each stage of the process.

Patients in the Dallas area choose Dr. Abtahi as their cosmetic surgeon because of his personal and caring approach and his beautifully customized and natural-looking results. Call us at (469) 293-2533 or reach us online today.