Many patients want to know how to find and choose the right doctor for their medical care. There are many lists of characteristics that set the best apart from the rest. The following is a list of questions that one should ask about their physician to see if h/she is the right one for you. Because I want my patients to know me, my philosophies, my expertise, experience and strengths, I would like to answer these questions so you can consider me in choosing the right doctor for you. I have answered each question personally regarding myself and the way I practice medicine.
Choosing a Cosmetic Gynecologist
Choosing a Cosmetic Gynecologist who is well trained, skilled and ethical requires some careful evaluation on your part. A surgeon’s reputation for good results, for satisfied patients, for happy patients, and for ethical standards are very important. Not every cosmetic surgeon is well trained and experienced, just like every other profession. Consider asking others about the surgeon’s reputation. Ask doctors you know or your friends who might know about the surgeon’s reputation. You might ask prior patients and see if you can discuss the physician’s capabilities and personality with them.
Dr. True: I pride myself in striving for excellence for my patients. I have achieved extensive training in gynecologic and cosmetic surgeries. I also have had a long history of performing these surgeries, dating back to 1980, and continuing to today. I feel my reputation as a physician and a person is excellent and I will always maintain high standards of ethics to continue this reputation.
Consider “Safety First”
All elective surgery should be performed in the safest manner possible. Whether cosmetic surgery or gynecologic surgery, there are standard methods to do this that have been proven to give the best results. For instance, the safest method for performing liposuction is by using tumescent technology. Similarly, some of the safest gynecologic surgery is performed in an office based setting without general anesthesia. When choosing a Cosmetic Gynecologist, you should always consider the surgeon’s philosophy about safety.
Dr. True: Safety first is always the way I practice medicine. I am continuously searching and embracing technologies that are the safest, the least invasive, and the best all-around procedures for my patients. For instance, I embraced tumescent liposuction years ago while others in the DFW area maintained the same old general anesthetic methods of liposuction. I introduced Awake Breast Aug and Awake Tummy Tuck to the metroplex area which are some of the safest methods of performing these procedures without using general anesthesia. Concerning gynecology, I offer office based options to decrease menses and for permanent sterilization that are some of the safest methods for achieving these treatments. Moreover, I have made sure that my facility, the TRUE AESTHETICS CENTER, maintains the highest standards of safety by passing the stringent requirements for being accredited by the AAAHC certification organization as a center of excellence as an out patient office based surgical center.
Is the Surgeon Board Certified in a Surgical Specialty?
A Board Certified Surgeon is a trained surgeon who has passed his or her board examination. H/she has proven credibility, training and experience. H/she should be your first choice in deciding on the surgeon who will perform your surgery. Most Cosmetic Gynecologists are board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, then have attained further training in Cosmetic surgery and aesthetic procedures.
Dr. True: I am a Board Certified Surgeon, certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I am also an Associate of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, and have submitted adequate documentation of my extensive experience to have the privilege to become one of the few Fellows of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery in the DFW Metroplex area.
Is the Surgeon Well Trained?
Is the surgeon well trained in providing excellent surgical procedures? Does h/she have a proven track record of preventing and taking care of surgical emergencies? Adequate training in preventing complications is as important as taking care of surgical complications when they occur. If you had to choose between two equally qualified Cosmetic Gynecologists, would you prefer a surgeon who never had to take care of a surgical emergency, or would you prefer the surgeon who has had to take care of many complications and/or emergencies?
Dr. True: I achieved my initial surgical experience at a very large inner city hospital called Charity Hospital in New Orleans, LA. Few residents are able to get any more experience in emergency surgeries and other surgical skills as in such high volume hospitals. I feel very fortunate in receiving this training. The experience has given me the confidence and skills to take care of almost any unexpected surgical emergency and the surgical skills to perform surgery in the best and most efficient manner available.
Avoid Marketing Hype
Pick a cosmetic gynecologist for his/her bedside manner, skill, training, experience, caring and compassion. Do not rely on just the marketing hype you see in advertisements. Some may say they are superior to others, but the reality is that their skills are probably very similar. You should base your opinion more on how you feel with the surgeon you pick first, then make sure the surgeon is qualified and skilled. Do not confuse marketing hype with surgical skill and integrity.
Dr. True: Many doctors build themselves up and make them sound like “superstar” cosmetic surgeons when they do not have the surgical training in cosmetics or other surgical skills to justify their promoted positions. My philosophy has always been to tell the truth about the procedures I offer and about myself, and to create the appropriate expectations for the best outcomes. This includes a disclosure of the realistic benefits one will achieve from the procedures, as well as the potential risks and complications associated with them.
Surgical Procedures Have Improved Your Safety
Patients should be aware that different surgeons within the same specialty of Cosmetic Gynecology will use different techniques. The same is true within all specialties. Some have not kept up to date on the latest techniques and continue to use outmoded techniques. It is important for you as a prospective patient to know which are the safest surgical techniques, and which are outmoded. Check the latest information for the best procedures today, either via authoritative articles on the internet or other sources. There are website that are very informative and evaluate the safest procedures with the best results, such as this one. Does your physician utilize these newer technologies?
Dr. True: I embrace the latest in technology and procedures that will give great results while ensuring the utmost safety for my patients. I have attended multiple continuing education courses over the years to keep up to date on these new concepts so I can offer my patients the best options for their cosmetic and gynecologic needs.
Be Cautious Around Arrogant Surgeons
Every specialty has its primadonnas. It is natural for any surgical specialist to believe that his/her results are the best. However, remember that a surgeon becomes dangerous when he/she begins to believe in that he/she is infallible. Arrogant surgeons may be more likely to attempt more aggressive and more dangerous procedures. Consequently their patients are exposed to greater risks and potential serious surgical complications. Beware of these types. The patient’s most important concern should be to choose a Cosmetic Gynecologist whose primary concern is safety. Avoid overconfident surgeons who believe their training and expertise is so good that they can do no harm. Everyone is fallible, regardless of how good they are. Confidence and humility are good things and should be preferred.
Dr. True: Arrogance is definitely not me, as my established patients know.
What are the necessary and sufficient prerequisites to becoming a competent Cosmetic Gynecologist? Each of the following criteria is necessary: board certification in obstetrics and gynecology, expertise in managing cardiac emergencies, accredited training in the classroom (didactic) and hands-on training in the operating room of selected cosmetic procedures. Each Cosmetic Gynecologist has selected the procedures he/she desires to have in his/her surgical armamentarium. He/she should have attained proper training, experience and skill in performing the chosen procedures to be the best for you.
Dr. True: My training in residency gave me the surgical skills to perform a multitude of surgeries, including gynecologic surgeries. My post residency training has given me the skills to perform updated gynecologic surgeries, and to perform a multitude of cosmetic procedures. I have continually gone to a multitude of training courses, seminars, and preceptor training physician’s programs that have given me the necessary skills to perform the cosmetic procedures I offer. Moreover, I now have performed hundreds of these procedures and have the experience to ensure the best outcomes for my patients.
Certification in ACLS
Certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) with re-certification every two years should be part of every Cosmetic Gynecologist’s qualifications. Preferably all operating room staff members have similar training. The physician should at least have Basic Life Support (BLS) training and certification. The best is option is to inquire if a surgeon has training equivalent to certification by the American Heart Association in ACLS.
Dr. True: I am ACLS certified, and so are others on my staff including my nurse. The anesthetists we use are also ACLS certified.
Classroom Instruction in Cosmetic Surgery is Essential
Cosmetic Gynecologists must receive further training and skills to not only be a skilled surgeon in gynecology, but also a skilled surgeon in cosmetics. They must attend courses to receive this training. The best cosmetic surgery courses often include testing to assure that the trainee has attained in-depth knowledge of factors associated with severe complications, possible undesirable results of these surgeries, surgical techniques for performing them, clinical pharmacology, potential drug interactions, and optimal post-operative care. The best types of course include hands-on training of the procedure.
Dr. True: I have attending many of these types of courses during my training to be a competent cosmetic surgeon. I have also updated my training through a multitude of courses for my continued education and training over the past 25 years.
Hands-on Training in Cosmetic Procedures
Clinical experience with in-the-operating-room, hands-on training provided by a certified course for Continuing Medical Education (CME) is essential to perform cosmetic procedures with skill and expertise. Introductory hands-on training provided during a two or three day course with 8 to 25 students is necessary, and additional individualized hands-on training is also desirable.
Dr. True: I not only have attended these courses in the past, but I also now teach these courses for accredited teaching entities, including the American Academy of Cosmetic Gynecologists (Physicians), SmartLipo (Cynosure), and BodyJet Lipo (Eclipse Medical).
Other Essential Attributes
Other essential attributes of a Cosmetic Gynecologist that are difficult to teach, include: integrity, high ethical standards, artistic and aesthetic sensibility, artistic talents, and an ability to discriminate whether older procedures or newer techniques should be embraced. The ability to recognize and avoid unnecessarily dangerous situations and/or unproven newer procedures are good qualities in any surgeon.
Dr. True: I aspire to all these standards and ideals.
Surgicenter/Procedure Room Accreditation
Accreditation of a surgical facility is required only if the anesthetic technique involves the use of systemic anesthesia (general anesthesia or heavy IV sedation) that might compromise a patient’s protective airway reflexes. Accreditation of the facility is recommended if a patient is to have cosmetic procedures that involve either intramuscular anesthesia, intravenous anesthesia or general anesthesia. Each state has different standards regarding licensing of these facilities. Nevertheless, surgeons who regularly do many cosmetic surgeries totally by local anesthesia will often seek accreditation of their office facility as a testament to professional excellence and attention to detail.
Dr. True: My surgical facility is accredited by the AAAHC accreditation society.
Hospital Privileges are not Essential
Hospital privileges for outpatient cosmetic procedures are not essential. Hospital privileges are often more dependent upon political considerations than on a surgeon’s skill and experience. Economic considerations and turf battles between competing specialties may prevent a well qualified Cosmetic Gynecologist from obtaining any type of cosmetic surgery privileges in his/her local hospital despite having performed the procedure in hundreds of patients without any serious complications. On the other hand, this same hospital might grant these privileges to a plastic surgeon who has only recently finished residency training and has minimal experience in doing cosmetic procedures entirely without assistance. Thus, since hospital politics politics play such a huge role in privileges, it is better to evaluate the surgeon for his abilities and talents and make your own opinion of the surgeon.
Dr. True: I have hospital privileges to perform gynecologic surgery at Baylor Hospital Grapevine. I have privileges to perform cosmetic surgery at my facility at TRUE AESTHETICS CENTER in Colleyville.
In the process of choosing a Cosmetic Gynecologist, the patient should be prepared to ask very specific questions of each candidate surgeon. A discussion of some important questions is considered in the following paragraphs:
Hospitalizations due to Problems?
Has the surgeon had any cosmetic surgery patients who have been hospitalized due to a complication of the surgery? A hospitalization is not necessarily a bad indicator. It might be very desirable to choose a Cosmetic Gynecologist who is attentive to potential problems and does not hesitate to hospitalize a patient for observation in order to avoid overlooking a potentially serious complication. A surgeon who is reluctant to hospitalize a patient because he fears it might affect his reputation might not regard patient safety as the highest concern. Repeated hospitalizations of patients due to complications is also a concern.
Dr. True: I am happy to state that I have not had to hospitalize any patients due to complications of cosmetic procedures. However, I would not hesitate to do so if needed for the safety of my patients.
Does the surgeon have a good reputation among other physicians in the community? Ask another physician or another health care professional what they know about the Cosmetic Gynecologist you are considering. Also, ask other patients about their experiences with the physician.
Dr. True: I pride myself in having a great reputation as a physician, a person, and a father. I allow patients to discuss their experience with me to other patients as testimonials of these qualities.
How Many Patients?
How many patients has the surgeon treated with cosmetic procedures? You might not want to be his/her first patient for the procedure you desire. Be aware of confusing terminology. Some surgeons might use confusing or deceptive terminology when describing their own experience. How many patients does the surgeon treat each week? A surgeon who does only a few patients per year might not be as competent as a surgeon who does on 3 or 4 patients every week. On the other hand, a surgeon who treats too many patients every week may be too rushed, may make too many mistakes, or may not be adequately attentive to the needs and safety of the individual patient.
Dr. True: I have performed thousands of surgeries, including gynecologic, obstetrical, and cosmetic procedures over my 25 years in practice.
Is the Surgeon Board Certified in a Surgical Specialty?
A surgeon who could never pass his or her board examination might not be your first choice. Certification in some type of surgical specialty is a testament of high performance and ability to perform surgical procedures. Board certification in non-surgical specialties, such as psychiatry, would not document adequate training in basic sterile surgical technique nor adequate surgical skills and abilities.
Dr. True: I am a board certified surgeon, boarded by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This is a well recognized surgical board that recognizes those physicians well trained in surgical fields.
Is the Surgeon an Instructor or Faculty for Medical Training?
Find out if the surgeon is an instructor or a member of the volunteer faculty of the local medical school or similar medical teaching organization. It is likely that any surgeon who teaches medical students, surgical residents, or other physicians will be up-to-date with current developments within his/her specialty.
Dr. True: I am faculty and instructor of Tumescent Liposuction for the American Academy of Cosmetic Gynecologists (Physicians). I offer preceptorships for Awake Breast Aug, Bikini Tummy Tuck, SmartLipo, BodyJet Lipo, and SmartXide DOT laser.
What is your “feeling” about the surgeon?
Finally, the best predictor to know if you will be happy about your cosmetic procedure results is how you feel about the surgeon’s ability, skills, competence, personality, and compassion. Does the surgeon’s office have a friendly and comfortable atmosphere? When you are with the surgeon or his/her staff, do you get a good feeling or a sense of comfort that you are receiving the best care available? After evaluating all the surgeon’s qualifications and determining that all is good and to your satisfaction, you must make sure that you have an inner happiness when you choose your cosmetic surgeon.
Most Cosmetic Gynecologists have great patient rapport and attachment to their patients. This is exemplified by the fact that many of their patients will travel miles to see their preferred gynecologists for their annual exams or female health problems. If you have such confidence in your gynecologist, you may be happiest choosing the same physician or same type of surgeon for your cosmetic surgery needs.
Dr. True: You must decide this. If you choose to utilize me for your cosmetic surgery needs, I will do everything that I can do to give you the best result possible to meet your needs. Good luck on whatever decision you make.