So I’ve been thinking about getting a nose job. None of my friends have gotten one (or at least one that I know about) so I don’t have anyone ask for a referral. What’s the best way to find a good plastic surgeon if you are in this situation? I plan to get this done in the DC Metro area if that makes any difference.
Start by asking your PCP for referrals. Try to get referrals from other people – one good site for plastic surgery referrals is Obesityhelp dot com – a lot of weight loss patients have to have reconstructive plastic surgery, so they have a forum on that site devoted to plastic surgeons and people state their experiences with the PS.
With my plastics, I was very lucky, my PCP had several nurses in his practice who had had some kind of plastics at some point or another, and they had all used the same guy – he came highly recommended. Trust me, if a nurse recommends a doctor – it’s usually a good idea to take her advice.
Consult with all of the surgeons you might be interested in having do your surgery. Go with the one who has the best portfolio – yes, they all have a portfolio – and that you like the best. Liking your surgeon is always nice. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them pre-op, how will you feel post-op if you have problems?
[Sarcastic/] You should start by asking all the women around you with big boobs. They may deny that they know any plastic surgeons, but you just have to be persistent. [/Sarcastic]
Start with your primary doctor by asking for a referral. Make sure you specify what kind of surgery you want, you don’t want him recommending a breast reconstruction guy if you want a nosejob, obviously.
Do you have a dermatologist or facialist? Ask them too, especially the aesthetician, their clients can’t hide plastic surgery so it always comes up.
Call the referral service of your local top-notch hospital.
Ask friends if they know anyone who knows a good plastic surgeon. Even though your friends don’t have their noses done, they may know someone who does.
Most big cities have a local magazine, generally named after the city (Chicago, New York Magazine, etc.), I’m sure DC has one. They all do a “Best Doctors” feature yearly. Cross reference with the above recommendations.
Do internet research, making sure they are members of all the right professional organizations (American Medical Association, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, etc.) You should be able to check with those orgs for complaints.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of doctors, go see them. Look through their books, see how comfortable you are with them, ask what they recommend for your face. Ask what their complication rate is. Find out where they do their surgeries and if the center is acredited. Ask what their policy is if you need to be transferred to a hospital.
Don’t go for the cheap guy.
I would never have my nose done again by anyone other than an otorhinolaryngologist (Ear Nose & Throat doctor) who was also a facial plastic surgeon. I actually had one of the top plastic surgeons in the state, and I am extremely pleased with the way my nose looks. However, I didn’t just want my nose “fixed” to look better, it really did need to be fixed because my septum was severely deviated and I pretty much never breathed through my nose at all and suffered chronic sinus infections. While it’s definitely better now, there are still several problems internally – the septum is still deviated, though I can breathe better, I have enlarged turbinates on at least one side and nasal valve collapse on the other, all of which I think would have been better addressed by an ENT.
Obviously everyone’s mileage will vary, but think about asking your PCP for a referral to an ENT for an evaluation first.
I found my plastic surgeon, by the way, when I saw a woman who had an exquisite nose and simply said to her, “I want your nose!” I really had no idea if it was “done” or dna-given, but she responded by saying, “Call Dr. So-and-So and you can have it!” So I did, and I do.
There are ENTs out there who do plastic surgery who are NOT plastic surgeons, so if you go that route, make sure you do your homework well.