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What should I look for when choosing a plastic surgeon?

You've heard the horror stories of plastic surgeries gone wrong. You have likely seen a few post-op photos that make you a little bit leery of having any cosmetic surgery. The truth is that most of the deaths that occur during or after a plastic surgery procedure are because the anesthesiologist was not properly trained or the plastic surgeon was not board-certified.

Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of the first things to consider. They not only have the lowest percentage of complications, they are specially trained and highly qualified. In order to get this certification, a doctor must have:

-- Received a degree from a medical school that is accredited

-- Three years of experience in general surgery

-- Two to three years of plastic surgery residency

-- Two years of their own professional practice

-- Passed oral and written exams that have a passing rate of about 70 percent

Getting a recommendation from a family member or friend is also something to consider. Ask your regular doctor whom he or she would recommend.

You also need to know how many times a plastic surgeon has done the procedure you want done and if it falls into the surgeon's area of expertise. The surgeon should also thoroughly explain any complications or risks the surgery has.

The plastic surgeon you choose should have before and after pictures that you can see of his or her patients. You don't want to see stock images off the Internet, but pictures of actual procedures that were done by that surgeon.

Finally, you should make sure the surgeon has hospital privileges. If something goes wrong during your surgery, it could be important that your doctor can provide care at the hospital.

No one wants a medical procedure to go wrong; however, if it does, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the parties and entities that were negligent. An experienced Massachusetts lawyer can help you learn more about your legal options.

Source: Health News Digest, "How To Choose the Right Plastic Surgeon," Feb. 25, 2016

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