Considering a new nose? You’ve got homework. Here are 4 things you should know before choosing a surgeon.
If you are considering nose reshaping–also known as rhinoplasty–you have probably thought about it for a long time. And that’s good. It’s the centerpiece of your face. Deciding to have surgery is a big step. Choosing the right surgeon is equally important. Here’s are some myths and facts to consider:
CONSIDERING A NEW NOSE?
“Find a Board Certified surgeon, and you can expect to be in good hands.” Actually, this is only partially true. You should always seek “Board Certification” because that provides the basis for ensuring that particular surgeon is fully and properly trained in this operation. Just be sure you understand the “board” and specialty in which the surgeon is certified. For rhinoplasty you want your surgeon to be certified by either the American Board of Plastic Surgery and/or the American Board of Otolaryngology. These are actual boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Only trust your nose to a surgeon certified by one or both of these boards. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not a specialty recognized by the ABMS.
DO ALL BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEONS DO RHINOPLASTY?
“If the surgeon does a lot of these, he’s probably good.” Not always. Most plastic surgeons would agree that rhinoplasty is the most complex surgery in their repertoire. In fact, some Board Certified plastic surgeons will refer rhinoplasties to other surgeons who are specialists in the procedure. Certainly you want a surgeon who performs them regularly, but volume in and of itself doesn’t translate to being a specialist. A high volume practice is only part of what makes someone a specialist in rhinoplasty. Dedication to furthering the specialty and advancing surgical technique is also very important. I consider a rhinoplasty specialist to be someone who is obsessed with delivering the absolute best surgical results while investing time in the overall pursuit of nose surgery in the form of anatomic research, publishing articles, and teaching other plastic surgeons the operation.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT SURGEON FOR MY NOSE?
“I can count on a specialist in nose surgery to give me the best nose.” Be careful here. Is the surgeon listening to your interpretation of a “best nose”? Or have they already decided? It is not uncommon for surgeons to have their way of doing something and repeat it from one patient to the next. To me, all patients are unique. Some want small changes, others want dramatic changes. Maybe they want to keep that bump or tip. Perhaps maintaining their ethnicity is important. Others want to fix their breathing and not change their nose on the outside at all. The foundation for a successful outcome is great communication between patient and surgeon. Don’t settle for less than “your best.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS COMMUNICATION BEFORE RHINOPLASTY?
“You need to know exactly what the surgical plan entails and why.” True. So you found a Board Certified specialist who listens. Good for you. One more step. You absolutely want to leave the consultation knowing the how and why of your particular surgical plan. Can the doctor teach as well as he listens? When I listen to a patient’s concerns, we go through each area and how I will correct it. Then I explain how each change we make will impact not only the other parts of the nose, but how the new nose will relate to the rest of their face. Let’s say the focus is the bump. Well, maybe when we eliminate the bump, the tip is influenced in a way the patient didn’t expect. Since each patient is unique, the result of each alteration will be unique. One correction will affect the total picture, and if it is not adequately explained, you risk a very unhappy patient. My philosophy is that nothing takes the place of educating the patient. It builds a sense of confidence in their decision and a special connection between both of us.