Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
If you’ve been unhappy with the appearance of your abdomen, have settled on a tummy tuck to remove excess skin and are now ready to get started, finding the right plastic surgeon is the next step.
To help you choose the best plastic surgeon for a tummy tuck, below are some questions for you to consider.
Are You Comfortable With the Cosmetic Surgery Center?
Any reputable plastic surgeon will offer you a one-on-one consultation before coming in for surgery. If you don’t want to meet in person due to COVID-19 or live too far away, ask if virtual consultations are offered. This gives you more options to find the right place, since you are less constrained geographically. Many practices offer travel packages for the actual procedure.
If you do visit in person, make sure you assess the practice and staff to get a feel for how comfortable they make it for patients. A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure in a clinical environment where you will want to feel at ease. Friendly and comforting nurses and staff are key to a good experience.
If you are doing your consultation virtually, ask if any virtual clinic tours are available.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to evaluate the practice:
- Is the office easy to reach on the phone and is the staff friendly and competent answering questions?
- Is the front desk staffed well and are you greeted immediately upon arrival?
- Are you seen right away upon arrival or is there a waiting time?
- Do doctor and nurses have a good bedside manner, do they seem friendly and compassionate?
- Have they answered all of your questions and patiently addressed your concerns?
If anything makes you uneasy, such as an inability or unwillingness to answer questions, that might be a warning flag. When you go in for any procedure, you should be excited about the entire process and not have any concerns right off the bat.
Is the Doctor an Experienced Tummy Tuck Surgeon?
Plastic surgery is a vast field. Each procedure requires different skills, and many plastic surgeons specialize on a handful of procedures. They may offer a wide range but perform only 3-4 types of procedures on a regular basis. They may specialize on breast implants or facial rejuvenation and only perform occasional tummy tucks. You want to make sure they have seen the variety of body types it takes to become the best doctor for a tummy tuck.
Achieving good results requires a good eye for aesthetics as well as a lot of practice. When choosing a plastic surgeon for your tummy tuck, make sure that he or she has performed them for several years at a minimum.
It’s also important to make sure your cosmetic surgeon is familiar with different types of abdominoplasties. While the surgery itself has not changed that much over the years, many additional technologies have emerged to improve results in the cosmetic surgery field. An experienced surgeon might supplement your tummy tuck with the latest radio frequency assisted lipolysis to contour adjacent areas and ensure you get the flat tummy you envision.
Is the Doctor a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon?
Board-certification is not a pre-requisite to performing liposuction procedures, or most cosmetic surgery for that matter. Any general surgeon, or even a doctor without surgical training, can execute liposuctions.
However, board certification by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is a rigorous process. To be certified, a doctor must complete at least six years of surgical training after medical school, three of which must be residency training in the field of plastic surgery. They must pass comprehensive oral and written exams, have graduated from an accredited medical school, and complete continuing medical education each year – including in the field of patient safety.
While all this does not guarantee that your doctor is also a gifted liposuction surgeon, it does give you a level of comfort that you are being treated by a professional who takes his or her work seriously and is up to breast with the most recent medical developments.
Can They Show You Examples of Their Work?
You wouldn’t ask a contractor to remodel your bathroom without seeing examples of their past projects. Likewise, your plastic surgeon should be able to provide you with before and after pictures of their own work and/or references and testimonials before you hire them for a service.
If the surgeon is good at what they do, they should be happy to show you liposuction before-and-after photos of their own patients. Make sure you pay attention and request to see work on actual patients. Equipment manufacturers have their own before and after collections, and while there is nothing wrong with a surgeon using such photos, it might give you pause if they can’t produce any of their own. They might be newer to the procedure and it does take time to see results and receive good pictures from willing patients, so not having many pictures shouldn’t disqualify a surgeon right out of hand – it’s simply another factor among many to help you choose.
Before and after pictures also help you discuss with your plastic surgeon how you envision your results, and what is and isn’t possible given your body type. Ask to see their in-office “brag book” versus only going by the pictures posted on the website – many patients do not consent to online posting, but do allow for in-house photos to be shown during consultations.
The same goes for testimonials and other references. While having many good Google reviews is a good sign, you want to dig a little deeper to make sure these are genuine reviews. It requires a bit of patient to develop a skill to read between the lines. If the reviews are actually not all glowing endorsements but include some criticism, this is typically better than a barrage of 5-star reviews. You can also tell from how they’re written if these sound like real experiences by real people, or if they sound like someone might have been paid to write them.
Does Your Liposuction Surgeon Prioritize Safety at the Facility?
With any type of procedure—invasive or otherwise—your safety should be the number one priority at any plastic surgery center. Ask your doctor what they do to minimize risks and ensure that your safety is put first.
If they are actively putting patient safety and comfort first, they should be able to give specific examples. Examples may have to do with the type of technology used, the methods of anesthesia, and their attention to cleanliness in the facility. Make sure you also ask for their COVID-19 safety measures.
We hope that we’ve given you a better understanding about choosing a plastic surgeon for liposuction. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons: ASPS Member Qualifications