Q: Who is the best Indianapolis plastic surgeon?
A: This is not an uncommon question as there seems to be many purported ‘bests’ of about anything. However, there is no such thing as Indianapolis’ Best Plastic Surgeon. While magazine and websites may create these ratings, and doctors may so anoit themselves as such, there is no real rating method to make this determination. There is not one single plastic surgeon in Indianapolis who is the best….many are quite good…..but not one that is the best at everything…and maybe not even the best at even one single procedure. I can tell you that there are many fine plastic surgeons in Indianapolis who do excellent work. It is your task to find the plastic surgeon that is the best suited for you and your concerns!
But let me give you a few pointers to help you find your Best Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon.
One of the first questions that patients should ask is about board-certification. Despite knowing to ask this question, most patients have no idea what it means or what to do with the answer. If the answer is no, keep moving on to another doctor. But if the answer is yes, don’t just stop there. That answer needs some qualifying…are they board- certified in plastic surgery. And you don’t even have to ask that question to the doctor directly…. go to their practice website and get that answer. But it may be misleading and here are some signs that it might be. Stating that one is board-certified, but not specifically saying in what specialty. Being board-certified in Dermatology or Family Practice, for example, is obviously not the same as being board-certified in Plastic Surgery. A weekend course or seminar does confer the same experience and skill set as years of actual training. Stating that one is board-certified in Cosmetic Surgery. This is the one that is the most misleading because it conveys equivalency. Being board-certified in cosmetic surgery is not the same as being board-certified in Plastic Surgery. Plastic Surgery is one of the 22 recognized medical specialties by the American Board of Medical Specialties and has been training plastic surgeons through organized medicine and its own recognized board (American Board of Plastic Surgery) since 1937. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not a recognized specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialities. Rather it is a more recent invention created by physicians and dentists from many other medical and dental specialties to provide a forum for education as well as a method to bestow some level of qualification. It is not a certificate that indicates that a residency training program was done by the individual in plastic surgery. Most doctors certified by the Cosmetic Surgery Board have their residencies in other disciplines such as Ob-Gyn, Dermatology, and Oral Surgery. This statement is not to imply that board-certified Cosmetic Surgeons perform less quality work than that of board-certified Plastic Surgeons…just that their training is substantially different. One does not equal the other.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the most prestigous distinction that any plastic surgeon can achieve in the world. To be certified, one has to complete a two to three year residency training program in plastic surgery after completing prerequisite training in another surgical discipline, most commonly general surgery. After training is completed, a combination of written and oral examinations are required to attain the status of board-certification in plastic surgery. Every ten years one must re-certify by taking a repeat examination, assuring that one has maintained an adequate knowledge base in the areas of plastic surgery that one primarily practices.
It is easy to find out if your doctor is board-certified in plastic surgery. Simply go to the website of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and see if you doctor is listed as a member.
Once beyond assessing qualifications, education and board-certification, only an actual consultation can provide the following important insights. The consultation is really about finding out if the surgeon you are seeing is right for you. It is as much about a personality match and an emotional connection than anything else. Yes, getting good and accurate information is important. Hopefully, every plastic surgery consultation provides that transference of information. But the feel of the consult will tell you about your level of comfort and connectivity with the plastic surgeon. Ask yourself these questions afterwards. Did the consultation feel like an educational experience or a sales presentation? Where treatment options presented and reviewed…or was only one treatment approach offered? Did you understand why the surgery proposed was right for you? Was time given to answer all your questions….and a way to answer questions that may arise after? Did the plastic surgeon provide you with a way to see before and after photographs, either during the consult or a referral to a website? Do they have a website where more than one before and after photo set of the procedure is shown? Was talking to actual patients whom have had the procedures offered as an option? Were these patients who have had surgery in the past three months? (recent experiences are better than someone from a long time ago) Finally, once home, did the plastic surgeon and his office feel right? Did the consultation make you feel more comfortable and secure in your decision?
In the end, The Best Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon is the one that has the training, education and experience to effectively treat your problem…and the one right demeanor and personality that makes you feel comfortable.
Good luck on your search for…..Your Best Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon!
Dr. Barry Eppley