Occasionally I hear someone suggest that it’s better to choose a plastic surgeon who specializes in one procedure, rather than a physician who has experience in a wide range of plastic surgery options. In Birmingham, where I practice, I have found it to be beneficial to have experience with a thorough range of procedures, but there are also qualities that are more important than specialization.
The most critical thing patients should look at when selecting a surgeon are the physician’s overall experience and professional credentials. To begin with, patients should make sure the plastic surgeon they choose is board certified. Unfortunately, there are doctors who market themselves as cosmetic surgeons specializing in a specific procedure who have no advanced training in plastic surgery.
I also suggest researching surgeons’ backgrounds to discover whether they have completed any fellowship training, what types of residencies they have finished, and whether they are members of certain professional associations. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and American Society of Plastic Surgeons® are reputable organizations to keep an eye out for.
Once you have narrowed down your search to only surgeons who are well qualified, you can consider the question of specialization. Both broad and specialized surgeons can provide beautiful results for certain patients, but plastic surgeons with years of experience performing a wide range of procedures offer a breadth of knowledge unmatched by surgeons with experience mainly in a single procedure.
Take time to do the necessary research, and feel free to consult with multiple surgeons to find the physician who is right for you.