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Getting cosmetic surgery can be a truly life-changing decision that will improve your body image and self-confidence for years to come. For many people, it provides the exact inspiration they need to pursue a new job or romantic partner. Others find the results of their aesthetic procedures help them improve their existing relationships with loved ones.

However, because plastic surgery can have such a far-ranging effect on various aspects of your life, choosing the best doctor to perform your procedure is essential. There is no such thing as being too informed or too prepared when it comes to your goals and expectations for something this important. With that in mind, we’ve put together our top 10 tips for selecting the best Richmond plastic surgeon for you.

Factors to Consider When Searching for a Qualified Cosmetic Surgeon

1. The surgeon’s area of expertise.
Cosmetic surgery is a complex and constantly evolving field of medicine, and there are many different specialties and sub-specialties within the profession. Often, there is also more than one way to perform surgical procedures such as a breast augmentation. For those reasons, you shouldn’t expect every plastic surgeon will be an expert in the procedure you are considering. Do your research before scheduling consultations. For example, if you’re interested in a mommy makeover, you wouldn’t want to go to a doctor who specializes in rhinoplasty, and vice versa.

2. How long the surgeon has been in practice, and what certifications they have.
Ideally, you’ll want a surgeon with extensive experience in the procedure you desire, and who has helped other patients address the same concerns you have. One of the most important questions to ask as you are interviewing potential surgeons is how many years they have been doing the specific surgery or treatment you are interested in. You should also ask if they have earned board certification, which is a hallmark of a plastic surgeon’s skill, expertise and commitment to their practice.

3. The total cost of the procedure.
Cosmetic surgery is an extremely competitive field, and because of that, you may see many surgeons who advertise “the best prices” or “special deals.” Steer clear of those claims, and focus on getting the results you want. Though it can be rewarding to feel like you’ve gotten the best bang for your buck, you should go into surgery with the confidence that your doctor is not willing to compromise on any aspect of the procedure that would affect your satisfaction with your results. Also, make sure the price you are quoted is all-inclusive of charges such as anesthesia, prescription medications, the surgeon’s fee and cost of using the operating facility. You don’t want to get caught off-guard by any hidden expenses that could make your procedure cost significantly more than you were prepared to pay.

4. Does the surgeon have your best interests in mind?
Experienced cosmetic surgeons know there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” approach to their craft. Instead, they use a blend of their medical training and eye for aesthetic detail to create outstanding, personalized results for each patient, taking factors such as their unique anatomy into account. By the same token, a good surgeon should be honest with you about what results you can expect. For instance, if you originally came in seeking a procedure such as CoolSculpting, but you would be a better candidate for liposuction, the doctor should let you know up front.

5. The surgeon’s “bedside manner.”
Your doctor’s personality can go a long way toward helping you feel confident in your decision to get cosmetic surgery. As you meet with different surgeons, evaluate how well you get along with them. Does the surgeon project an attitude that is friendly and approachable, while still being professional? Character can make all the difference when it comes to establishing a healthy patient-doctor relationship.

6. Where your surgery will be performed.
Ask about the surgical facility, and whether it is accredited. If possible, arrange to tour the facility before the day of your surgery so you can get a sense of how clean and up-to-date it is. Is there plenty of safety equipment on hand? Can you meet the anesthesiologist or any other members of the surgical team? How will they respond if there are complications during your surgery?

7. Before-and-after photos of previous patients.
Competent cosmetic surgeons should be proud of their catalog of work, and should be glad to show you what they have done for others. Ask to see photos of patients who have undergone the same procedure you are considering, and make sure they share your body type/bone structure and are within a decade or so of your age, as those factors could significantly impact the outcome of the surgery.

8. Does the surgeon encourage a two-way dialogue?
When it comes to a decision this major, there’s no such thing as a bad or silly question. Pay close attention to how your doctor makes you feel. If someone seems short with you, or unwilling to answer your questions, it could be a warning sign that it’s time to look elsewhere. Likewise, if a doctor ever makes you feel uncomfortable or seems as if they are rushing you into something, that surgeon is not a good fit for you.

9. The surgeon’s ability to answer your questions realistically.
Though experienced surgical teams will do everything they can to minimize risks both during and after any cosmetic procedure, there is no such thing as a totally risk-free surgery. Any surgeon who promises you specific results or makes overblown claims about what it is possible to achieve may be setting you up for disappointment down the road.

10. Level of post-operative care.
A qualified cosmetic surgeon should take a holistic approach to the surgical process, and understand that their role is not over when they send you home following the surgery. The recovery process is vitally important to ensuring ideal results. If a doctor cannot provide you with detailed postoperative instructions to follow as you heal, or if you feel like they would not be open to answering questions that come up during your recovery, that is a red flag.

Finding a Skilled Cosmetic Surgeon in Richmond

As Richmond’s only board-certified plastic and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Gregory T. Lynam is uniquely qualified to help provide consistently outstanding results for patients with a wide range of aesthetic concerns. At Richmond Surgical Arts, patients can choose from a variety of surgical and non-surgical procedures to help them attain their goals and improve their quality of life. If you’re considering plastic surgery in Richmond, VA, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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