BWH plastic surgeon Dr. Jessica Erdmann-Sager

If you want to have a safe and successful plastic surgery procedure, picking the right plastic surgeon is a critical first step.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) plastic surgeon Jessica Erdmann-Sager, MD, recommends that you do a little research before committing to a plastic surgeon. To help you with this process, she offers the following tips:

  • Is the physician board eligible or board certified?

First and foremost, make sure that your physician is either a board-certified or board-eligible plastic surgeon. You can easily determine whether a physician is board certified by visiting the American Board of Medical Specialties website, or calling 1-800-776-2378. It also can be valuable to find out where the physician was trained, whether they have specialized training in the procedure that you’re considering, and whether they participate in local and national plastic surgery associations.

  • Check for complaints.

Check with your local medical board to see whether complaints have been filed against the physician. In Massachusetts, visit www.mass.gov/massmedboard.

  • Get a referral.

Ideally, get a referral from a physician that you trust, such as your primary care physician or dermatologist. Word-of-mouth is also important, so consider asking friends, colleagues, and family about their experiences.

  • Do you feel comfortable with the physician?

Trust your gut. Does the physician take the time to give you a thorough examination; carefully explain risks, benefits, and options; and encourage you to ask questions? Or do they simply offer a pro­cedure and suggest that you schedule it right away?

  • Where does your physician practice?

If a physician offers an outpatient procedure in an office environment, make sure that they also have hospital privileges. This enables the plastic surgeon to admit a patient to the hos­pital and continue care there in case of com­plications.
The practice also should have evening and weekend coverage to ensure that all urgent patient inquiries are handled by a qualified professional.

It’s your health, so don’t be afraid to ask any of these questions.

Learn more at BWH’s newly remodeled (just a few nips and tucks) plastic surgery website: www.brighamandwomens.org/plasticsurgery.

– Chris P

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