Ask Dr. Barber

Q. I recently moved to the Triad area after living in the Northeast for most of my life. I am interested in having some plastic surgery on my eyes but I do not know how to find the right plastic surgeon since I am relatively new here. Can you give any advice on making sure I pick a good doctor? 

A. There is no absolute science to picking a good doctor in any specialty. Fortunately, in plastic surgery most everything is somewhat elective and you at least have time to investigate your choices and visit several plastic surgeons before making a decision. You did not say what kind of eye surgery you are contemplating, so I am assuming that it is some type of cosmetic surgery of the eyelids. My suggestion is to first ask your primary care doctor to give you a list of 2 or 3 plastic surgeons who he/she would recommend. Local primary care doctors are usually very aware of the reputable and talented plastic surgeons in the area. Go online and make sure that the surgeons are board certified by either the American Board of Plastic Surgery, The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or since this is an eye surgery, a board certified oculoplastic surgeon (usually an ophthalmologist). Review each plastic surgeon’s website and get a feel for what they do and if any of the doctors on your list seems to have a special interest in the procedure you are seeking. Finally make an appointment with all of them and see how comfortable you feel with each one and how knowledgeable they seem. Ask about the extent of his experience in eyelid surgery. Feel free to ask how many of these procedures he/she performs in a year to get a better idea of their experience. Ask to see pictures of before and after results. Do they look good to you, or are you wondering why anyone would put these results in a brag book! Remember, the pictures you see in the doctor’s brag book are his best results and if they are marginal results, then move on to the next doctor on your list. The next thing to consider is how comfortable are you in conversation with the doctor. Did he/she take the time to answer all of your questions or did you feel like you were being rushed out the door? If the doctor does not spend adequate time with you pre-op, then you can expect even less time with him post-op. Personality, although not the most important factor, is still one of the differentiating factors when deciding who you will allow to perform your surgery. Finally, ask amongst your friends if they know anyone who has had plastic surgery and what doctor that person went to. Talking to a patient is valuable, but with today’s privacy laws, this information source is often more difficult to find. Good luck. 

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