Is Plastic Surgery a Medical Procedure or a Commodity?

The definition of a commodity is that it is a good or service that is the same regardless of who sells it to you or where it comes from. Common examples are grain or corn. When we choose to buy a commodity we usually make our decision based on price and availability because there are no other distinguishing factors.

More often these days some unsophisticated buyers are using the same criteria when they select a plastic surgeon for their breast enlargement, tummy tuck or liposuction.

Is one breast enlargement or liposuction or tummy tuck just like another? Are they all done the same way? The answer to these questions is “No”. It depends on who does it and where it is done.

Plastic surgery of all kinds has risks, and results vary from surgeon to surgeon. Do you think a plastic surgeon just out of training can get results just like a seasoned surgeon of 30 years experience? Do you think it is important to check whether your surgeon is even a plastic surgeon?

Plastic surgery is an art honed by years of experience and training. Some surgeons are more talented or more artistic than others. Results vary between every plastic surgeon. Patients are not all the same either. Patients have different requests, and can be tall or short, fat or thin, their tissues can be stretchy or tight, old or young,  heal quickly or slowly, bleed more or less, and they come in all shapes and sizes and many have differences from one side of their body to the other. Some patients smoke and some do not. Some have heart disease, cancer, bleeding tendencies and a host of other possible illnesses and ailments and allergies.

Beverly Hills has no magic hold on excellence. There are no tests or examinations to qualify a plastic surgeon to locate in Beverly Hills. One fairly common motive to practice in Beverly Hills might be to seek fame, and sometimes ethics is discarded in the race to fame.

Two plastic surgeons with similar training and experience might get very different results. When you select your plastic surgeon it is not all about the money and the availability. Most surgeons have developed forms, protocols, practices and skills to try to avoid medical surprises and poor results.

Check on the obvious and easy things first. Make sure that your plastic surgeon is Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member in good standing of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Here, in California, he/she should also be a Member of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

So, now you have eliminated the non-plastic surgeons, but you still need to make your choice from several well trained plastic surgeons in your community, and here your selection process gets a little more difficult.

Is one surgeon more experienced than another? Is one surgeon known to have fewer complications than another? Do you like the results you can see on their websites? Are they recommended by other doctors in the community? Ask your family doctor for a recommendation. Where does your surgeon do his procedures? Is the facility properly accredited? Does he use an anesthesiologist who is Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesia. Is he also experienced? Liking one surgeon more than another is okay, but it is not a very good way to choose your surgeon, but you can eliminate one if you really do not like him/her. Make sure your surgeon does a lot of the surgeries of the type that you are interested in. If your surgeon does a lot of insurance work and you are looking for a cosmetic procedure maybe he/she will not be your choice.

I do not advise you to travel great distances to seek out a plastic surgeon – to another country or another state. You will need consultations and follow up appointments. What happens if there is a complication? You will be advised to go back to the original surgeon. All that traveling gets expensive and time consuming, and your surgeon is not available if you have an emergency at home.

In the end it all boils down to the experience, the care and the artistic ability of your selected surgeon.

I did not use price and availability as a way to choose your plastic surgeon. Price usually varies within a fairly limited range. Someone who is outrageously cheap or who is incredibly expensive might be eliminated, but these extremes are quite rare.

Plastic surgery is definitely NOT a commodity. Results are not guaranteed, and do not come out the same with every surgeon. Remember, you are subjecting your body to real surgery. Be careful in your choice.