Saturday, June 16, 2012

Does Board Certification matter in plastic surgery


I always felt that board certification mattered.  It sets a standard – a baseline which is better than none alone.  

I recently read some comments by Tom Seery founder of RealSelf.com.  He made a controversial decision years ago to remove 3,000 doctors from his website because they were not board certified.  Real Self has analyzed tens of thousands of self-reported consumer reviews that were posted on their website.  The satisfaction rate was 15% higher when people went to a board certified physician.  For example, Botox injections has a 27% higher satisfaction rate when performed by a board certified physician.  So maybe board certification truly means something and it’s a simple question to ask – are you board certified and – this is important – certified by which board. 

I saw a patient the other day who came back for a re-consult.  Not unusual, but when we started reviewing what we had discussed during her first consultation she told me the other plastic surgery (E.N.T.) she saw said she wouldn’t be happy with just a necklift but said she needed a coronal lift.  

(I always encourage patients to get a second opinion. This will give them the confidence they need to know they’ve done their research and are ready to go forward. The negative about seeing 3 or 4 different doctors is you may get different opinions from each. This can cloud one’s decision making.)

Getting back to my patient above.  I said I understood where the other doctor was coming from – she does have a slight asymmetry to her eyebrows/eyelids, but it is minimal.  She has a nice fold to her upper lid and I think she looks fine.  She was so relieved.  

I never try to oversell procedures to my patients.  If someone comes in for a face lift, I don’t tell them their nose is too big or their hips are too wide.  I’m here to serve them and meet their needs – not mine. 

I said to my patient what the other doctor said was his honest opinion.  There are no right or wrong answers though sometimes there are different opinions.  His comments were legitimate but my patient was somewhat befuddled on where to go.  I explained some options for her and she decided to go forward with me doing just the neck lift.  

In all my years of practice as a Southwest Florida plastic surgeon, I have always maintained a very simple philosophy – total honesty and treating my patients like my family. 

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