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How to Choose Your Plastic Surgeon : TV, Radio, Snapchat, or Instagram?

We as a society are inundated with images of plastic surgery on TV, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. We hear the lure of improving yourself on the radio. Where is the best place to find your plastic surgeon? The answer : none of these.

Sure.  Dr. Kenneth Hughes has facebook accounts and instagram accounts, but popularity on these forums is much like popularity in high school.  It does not portend success and may actually be a negative indicator.

Selecting a plastic surgeon should focus on evaluating the probability that the surgeon will get the result that you want to obtain. What things aid in this evaluation?

Training: If the surgeon has trained at the best schools on the planet, much of the weeding out of intellect and talent has been done for you.  Dr. Kenneth Hughes, Los Angeles plastic surgeon, not only earned an honors degree in Biology at Harvard University for his undergraduate education, but Dr. Kenneth Hughes also was selected to the Harvard Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Fellowship, in which he performed several hundred plastic surgery procedures and was an instructor at Harvard Medical School.  A person who has a history of excellence in everything done will have a much higher probability of executing in a particular surgery. If someone lacks intellect, judgment or training, it will be very difficult for that surgeon to achieve success no matter how much purported experience is offered.

At the very least, a plastic surgeon should have trained and completed a full plastic surgery training program of 3 years in duration. Weekend courses or a cosmetic sojourn will not get the job done. Training in other specialties will not help create a plastic surgeon.  You would not expect a heart surgeon to perform your liposuction, and you would not expect a plastic surgeon to perform your triple bypass heart operation. A plastic surgeon should be so expertly trained and capable that even on the first patient out of training an expert result is obtained.

Board Certification by the the American Board of Plastic Surgery is important as well. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only certifying board for plastic surgeons. The others are pretenders.

Experience: Experience is certainly important, but it is not about how old an individual is. There are 70 year plastic surgeons at the end of their careers how have only performed 100 surgeries each year average for their careers. This may be only 3000 surgeries. Whereas a much younger plastic surgeon may have performed twice that number. So experience is the result of the number of procedures not the age of the surgeon. Another consideration is that a surgeon may only perform one or two particular surgeries like rhinoplasty or liposuction. You would not want that individual giving it a try on a tummy tuck or a mommy makeover. At the same time, do not be fooled by surgeons who proclaim to specialize in one surgery like rhinoplasty. A much busier surgeon who performs a greater number of procedures may perform more of that specific procedure like rhinoplasty than does the proclaimed specialist.

Reviews: Reviews are certainly helpful for the patient in getting an understanding of the types of procedures the surgeon performs and perhaps the numbers of procedures. However, certain review sites can certainly be gamed and consumers and patients should be aware of that.

Before and After Photos: If the patient can develop a very critical and discerning eye, before and after photos may be the most useful and unbiased way to evaluate a plastic surgeon.  If you can determine when body positions have been manipulated and camera angles have been altered, you will be able to make much more definitive assertions with regard to level of improvement and proportions achieved. You will be able to determine when more is done with less and how often maximal results are achieved. Photoshop is certainly prevalent as well, but that can be fairly easily determined as well.

Videos:  Videos can be a very integral component to surgeon evaluation.  Intraoperative surgical videos can help allay fears of photo shop that may be common concerns in before and after photos.  Dr. Kenneth Hughes has hundreds of videos on you tube to help delineate his body of work.  These videos highlight some of the most complicated combination and revision surgeries, many of which other surgeons simply do not perform.  Inferior butt lift, fat necrosis removal, and liposuction revision require a different skill level that few possess.

Personal Time with the Surgeon: Because 50% of Dr. Hughes’s patients fly in for surgery from other parts of the country or other countries (the number of patients from Australia alone would blow your mind!), Dr. Hughes frequently interacts with patients through email or Skype before meeting in person. You should feel comfortable that your surgeon is infinitely more knowledgeable than you are after your many hours of google research. Your questions should be answered easily and adroitly and completely. Good communication is critical.

TV, Radio, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are here to stay but none are useful in selecting the best plastic surgeon.  All of these things can simply divert focus from surgical outcomes and patient care. Even if you are the brightest individual and possess the greatest technical skill, you will never achieve your best without extreme focus and dedication to those outcomes. Performing within the surgical theater is a serious time with no room for chitchat, dancing, or singing. It is a time when one moment of distraction can lead to a less than optimal outcome.