How to choose the right plastic surgeon for a breast lift surgery

I’m sure you have seen lots of before and after pictures of women who have undergone a breast lift (and augmentation) surgery. You know that this type of aesthetic surgical breast enhancement procedure (also known as mastopexy) can make your saggy, droopy and old-looking breasts look firm, uplifted and more youthful again…

However, not every woman who has had her cleavage enhanced with surgical operation is actually happy with the final result…

What’s more, there’s lots of women out there who are actually disappointed and even upset over their new breast shape (and / or size). And not to mention those who regret their decision of going under the knife due to all the horrible health complications they experienced (or are still experiencing!) as a consequence!

This isn’t really a surprise because the list of expected side effects and possible risks is enormous. Lots of things can go seriously wrong during the operation itself, as well as later on in the recovery period. In other words, the surgical road to sexier and more attractive cleavage is oftentimes much longer than most women would think, and is almost always filled with pain, blood and frustration, especially during the first post-operative week

Since the plastic surgeon has incredibly big impact on many aspects of the breast lift surgery (including end results, length of the recovery period, amount and intensity of side effects and complications experienced, how well the scars heal in the long run, …) it’s cruical for you to choose the right one – otherwise you risk turning your life into a living nightmare!

Seven things you should pay attention to
when choosing a plastic surgeon for your breast lift surgery…

After researching the breast lift surgery in great details, I’m absolutely certain that the choice of surgeon is the most important decision you are going to make as far as your cosmetic operation is concerned…

This decision is either going to make you which means you’re going to get the breasts you have always wanted. Or break you which means you’re going to end up with deformed-looking breasts and / or with severe health complications…

Now the question is: How do you choose the right plastic surgeon for your breast lift surgery?

To be honest with you, the answer is not simple. However, there are still ways to recognize good doctors from bad doctors. If I were in your shoes, I’d make sure my surgeon meets the following criteria:

(1) Is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery…

ABPS (American Board of Plastic Surgery) is the certifying board for plastic and reconstructive surgeons with the highest requirements in the United States. It is the only plastic surgery board recognized and endorsed by the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties).

The certification by ABPS is not mandatory, but it does indicate that particular physician has graduated from an accredited medical school, went through ABPS’s lengthy residency training program (with the focus on plastic surgery), completed certain number and types of surgical procedures, as well as passed ABPS’s written and oral certification tests. The board certification can therefore serve you as a proof that certain doctor has gone through several years of training to become plastic surgeon, is responsible, ethical, up to date with the latest procedures (the certification is only valid for ten years which forces surgeons into continuous training and education) and performs all surgical procedures only in accredited ambulatory surgical center.

Almost every »board certified« plastic surgeon is also a member of ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) and / or ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) so look for these credentials as well.

With that said, you should avoid physicians who are certified by other »boards« or are members of other »societies«, but not the ones I mention above (unless you’re located in Europe, Australia or any other country in the world – in that case look for your country’s equivalent of the ABPS). This is because doctors without ABPS’s certifications are not properly trained to perform the surgical procedure you want to undergo. And if you let them operate you, there’s a significantly bigger chance you’ll end up with serious complications.

(2) Performs surgical procedures in certified medical facilities only…

Breast lift surgery can be performed either in a hospital or in a private operating facility (such as surgery center, ambulatory facility, surgery suite, surgical office facility, …).

In case your surgical procedure takes place in a private operating facility, make sure it is certified by one of the following four independent accrediting organisations: AAAASF (American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities), TJC (The Joint Commission – formerly known as JCAHO or Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care) and IMQ (Institute for Medical Quality).

The reason is, private surgical facilities which are certified / accredited by one or more of the listed organisations are properly licensed, in compliance with all the strict safety regulations and thus safe to be used for surgical purposes. This also means that surgeons and anasthesiologists are board certified, the nursing stuff is properly trained, the operating room meets all the safety standards, and all the equipment (safety and monitoring instruments and devices) is up to date.

In addition, the listed accreditation agencies perform inspections on regular basis to ensure that private (outpatient) surgical facilities maintain the required safety and quality standards.

The good news about being operated in the private surgical center is that you have more privacy, get more attention from medical stuff, and the chance of getting one of the hospital-aquired infections is normally much lower. However, you should still visit the place in advance and check for yourself whether everything looks alright. It’s also worth contacting your state’s health board and asking them whether private surgical facility in question has had any problems in the past.

You should also make sure that your plastic surgeon has admitting priviliges at least at one local hospital in close proximity to private medical facility. This is just in case if life-threatening emergency arises during the operation, but it also confirms that certain surgeon has all the needed credentials to perform the plastic surgery (hospitals check surgeons in great details prior to allowing them to become part of their personnel).

With that said, women with certain health issues (such as diabetes, hemophilia or high blood pressure for instance) and / or higher risk of complications (more complex and lengthy procedures) are almost always operated in the hospital.

(3) Works with anesthesiologist who is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology…

As I’ve already discussed here, breast lift surgery can be performed under different types of anesthesia. The most commonly used is general anesthesia, but local anesthesia with IV sedation (so called »twilight« anesthesia) is becoming popular among some plastic surgeons as well.

Anesthesia is usually administered by either a physican anesthesiologist (M.D. or D.O.), nurse anesthetist (RN, BSN or CRNA), and sometimes even by the operating plastic surgeon.

Ideally, you want a physican (M.D.) anesthesiologist who is board certified by the ABA (American Board of Anesthesiology), who has several years of experience and who has worked with your surgeon on countless surgical procedures in the past to worry about your vital signs. This is because such board certified anesthesiologists have the highest levels of education, training and practice when it comes to delivering and monitoring the anesthesia. They are therefore the most qualified to control the risks of sedative agents and drugs as well as solve any emergency situations which do happen from time to time (remember Michael Jackson?).

Alternatively, you could also settle for a very experienced (!) certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or even a registered nurse (RN) anesthetist, but only if you’re having the surgery in a hospital where board certified anesthesiologist is supervising the administration of anesthesia in the operating room or is just moments away from it.

With that said, never let your plastic surgeon to be responsible for giving the anesthesia. This may not only compromise the end results, but can also significantly increase the risks of complications because it’s pretty much impossible to keep track of both the surgery and the sedation at the same time.

And when you find the right surgeon with the right anesthesia provider, verify the credentails through the department of professional regulation.

(4)Specializes in breast lift (and augmentation) procedures and knows all the different techniques inside out…

There are doctors who perform breast enhancement surgeries and nothing else. And there are doctors who do all sorts of aesthetic surgical procedures: from eyelid surgery, chin surgery, body liposuction, butt lift and arm lift surgery to breast reduction, breast augmentation and breast lift surgery.
Both type of plastic surgeons have been properly trained to operate in a safe way (assuming they are board certified). However, the main problem with those surgeons who can do anything from eyelid surgery to breast lift surgery (so called »jacks of all trades«) is that they can never become true masters in just one area of aesthetic surgery.

Instead of focusing on just breast enhancement surgery and mastering all the procedures and techniques to perfection, they do whatever comes their way…

They may perform five breast lifts in January (for instance) and then not a single one for the next two or three months. As a consequence, they don’t have nearly as much experience in surgical breast enhancement as those surgeons who perform such procedures on a regular basis. That’s why you should forget about the surgeons who fit the description of being the »Jack of all trades« and choose an experienced specialist instead.

An experienced specialist performs hundreds and hundreds of breast lift and enhancement surgeries every year. He or she is familiar with all the different procedures and techniques in great details simply because he or she practices them all day and every day.

Working with an experienced plastic surgeon who specializes in breast enhancement may increase your chances of getting exactly what you want: Your dream cleavage with almost invisible scars. Plus it may minimize the risk of potential complications and speed up the recovery phase as well!

(5)Has happy past patients…

When you find a qualified doctor whose past patients are extremely happy with his or her surgical work, you may be one big step closer to finding the right person for your breast lift surgery.

You see, having happy past patients is usually a pretty good sign that particular plastic surgeon pays close attention to what you say and can therefore accurately determine what you want to get out of the surgical procedure. What’s more, satisfied patients also prove that the surgeon is trained, skilled and experienced enough not just to understand your vision of firmer, perkier and uplifted breasts, but also to bring it to life and make it a reality for you…

If you don’t know how to figure out whether certain doctor’s past patients are delighted with the end results of the surgery, here are a few useful hints that can help you out with that:

  • Research the surgeon online. Nowadays it’s very easy to find lots of useful information that can help you decide whether specific doctor is right for you or not. All you have to do is fire up your web browser and do some research on the internet. In particular, you should look for reviews and testimonials published online by the surgeon’s past patients. This should give you a pretty good idea of how happy patients who were operated by a specific surgeon really are. You can start by searching for the physician in question on websites like www.realself.com, www.yelp.com and www.realpatientratings.com.
  • Examine surgeon’s before and after pictures. Pay close attention to surgeon’s before and after pictures. Ideally, you would want to examine those which show patients who had the same procedure you’re about to have and whose pre-operative body frame (height and weight) and breast appearance (size, shape and degree of sagging) matches yours. Then ask yourself whether end results look too fake. See how well scars are healing over time (you’ll need to look at more than just one »after« picture). Try to detect any asymmetries in shape, size or position of the breasts. The more pictures you can find the better. This way, you’ll be able to assess the quality of surgeon’s work and the degree of his or her artistic talent more accurately. You can find some before and after photos online (on the surgeon’s website for instance). And you can request to see more of them during the initial consultation with the doctor.
  • Talk to surgeon’s past patients. Another great way to find out what past patients think about certain surgeon’s work is to find them and talk to them. There’s several ways to get in touch with women who have already been operated by a particular doctor. One way is to just ask the doctor to provide you references. You’ll probably get a few phone numbers this way, however, keep in mind that none of the surgeons will want you to speak with unsatisfied patients. Nonetheless, you should still contact the references you get, but try to find other past patients as well. For instance, you could speak to women in the waiting room who had their surgery several weeks or even months ago and are there for one of their post-operative appointments. Or you could send a message to women who left a (negative) review online and ask them for more details.

There’s a chance you’ll have a hard time figuring out all this information because sometimes the information just isn’t so easily available. For instance, you stumble upon certain surgeon’s ad in the local yellow pages and decide to google him for more details…

You fire up your web browser to see what his past patient’s have to say about his work, but then realize that he has no reviews posted. Then you visit his website and find only three pairs of before and after photos for a breast lift operation published there. Then you call his office and ask them whether you could get a couple of phone numbers of women who have already had a breast lift done by the surgeon. Unfortunately, they can’t help you because their policy forbids them to give personal details of their past patients to third parties like you.

Despite the fact that you’ve invested lots of time and effort into the research, you still don’t have enough information to determine how talent particular plastic surgeon really is and how happy are his past patients with the end results of his surgery…

In such cases, you can either keep researching and perhaps schedule an initial consultation with the doctor for more information. Or you can move on to other surgeons who have tons of (positive) reviews published online and much more before and after pictures.

(6) Is located as close to your home as possible…

I noticed that lots of women decide to have a breast lift surgery abroad. These women are willing to travel hundreds and even thousands of miles to a foreign country to be operated by a plastic surgeon they’ve never met before and know nothing about – just to save some money.

It’s true, breast enhancement procedures abroad (in countries like Taiwan, Colombia, Brazil, and South Korea) can be significantly cheaper when compared to prices in USA, UK, Canada or Australia. However, it’s also true that plastic surgery abroad can be much riskier…

In most cases, there are no pre-operative and post-operative consultations with the doctor. You don’t get to see before and after pictures. You don’t get the opportunity to talk to doctor’s previous patients. You don’t know whether operating room meets all the required safety standards. And you can’t do any research on your own because you don’t speak their language. There’s no way for you to make an educated guess on how trained, skillful and talented the person who is going to operate you actually is. While saving a few thousands of dollars may sound appealing, you need to remind yourself that your health and safety is much more important.

With that said, a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who lives and works in your local community may be a much better choice for you. Here’s exactly why:

  • Lower risk of post-operative complications. In reality, each and every cosmetic surgery can result in complications. This holds true even if you’re being operated by the best plastic surgeon in the world. However, these risks are much lower in those countries with higher safety standards and better trained doctors.
  • Faster handling of post-operative complications. If a complication arises (infection for instance), it’s cruical to address it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it can rapidly get much worse and mark you for life. When you have a breast lift abroad, it takes you days or even weeks to get back to the plastic surgeon. On the other hand, a qualified local surgeon is just a few miles away from you and can thus help you out much faster.
  • Faster recovery and better end results. There are several reasons why qualified plastic surgeons insist on consultations with you before and after the surgery. First of all, they want to know exactly what you would like to achieve. But they also want to properly prepare you for the surgery as well as for the recovery period, so you can be back on your feet faster and enjoy better end results. Unfortunately, the majority of plastic surgeons abroad don’t have any consultations with you. You meet them once on the day of the operation and then you’re pretty much on your own.
  • Less stressful and less painful experience. A breast lift surgery can be less stressful and less painful for you (especially right after the procedure) if you’re being operated in the city you live in. You don’t have to spend hours driving home. You don’t have to book a hotel and stay there all alone until you’re strong enough and until it’s safe for you to get on a plane and fly home. You don’t have to hire a nurse to take care of you, feed you and help you go to the bathroom either. Instead, you’re just minutes away from home. And you have your family and friends right beside you.

One simple way of finding an experienced and qualified surgeon is to speak with your personal physican and ask him or her which plastic surgeon would they recommend to their family member who is considering having a breast lift surgery. You could also call your local hospital(s), speak to anesthesiologists working there and ask them the same question…

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find an experienced and qualified breast lift specialist who is just miles away from your home – especially if you live in a smaller city, town or village. There’s just so many of them out there. In that case, continue searching in the nearest cities. And if you still don’t have any success, consider expanding your search in the nearest states. It’s still better to do some traveling to be operated by one of the best doctors in the country than it is to settle for mediocracy.

And as far as having a breast lift surgery abroad is concerned, I don’t really recommend it. You may get a cheap deal in a foreign country, but you may also be setting yourself up for a disaster!

(7) Is trustworthy and genuinely cares about your health and wellbeing…

A trustworthy plastic surgeon always puts your best interests infront of his or her own interests. He or she genuinely cares about your health and wellbeing and would do everything in his or her power to protect you from risks of surgery and help you get the desired result.

There are different ways to tell if certain doctor is trustworthy or not…

First of all, you should double check and make sure that the doctor in question meets all the above listed criteria (board certified, certified medical facility, happy past clients, etc…)…

Secondly, you should make sure that the plastic surgeon:

  • Is honest to you. A surgical breast lift is a big thing. It can change your life either for the better or worse. That’s why you need to understand what you’re getting yourself into. And the only way to truly understand that is to discuss the procedure with an honest surgeon. He or she will explain each and every possible risk to you in details. And he or she will tell you whether the least invasive breast lift technique with the least amount of scarring is really sufficient enough to get you your dream cleavage.
  • Is highly responsive. There’s lots of things that can go wrong in the days, weeks or even months after the surgery. In case of any rapid changes, you need to call your surgeon and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Waiting several hours or even days can be too late. Unfortunately, there are offices out there who stop returning your calls and answering your e-mails the moment they receive your final payment – even if it’s an emergency situation. Obviously, you don’t want that. You want a doctor who acts fast even if you call him or her in the middle of the night.
  • Is friendly, compassionate, calm and (almost) never in a hurry. It’s good to have a surgeon who is friendly, compassionate and calm. This can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed in stressful situations. And breast enhancement surgery can definitely be considered as a stressful situation for pretty much everyone. Apart from that, make sure your surgeon is not too busy all the time either. A doctor who is always under pressure due to having too many surgeries in a day is more susceptible to making mistakes. And mistakes during surgery can be devastating. You either end up with deformed breasts or dead (in worst case scenario).
  • Works with the same caring and friendly stuff for years. The doctor’s stuff (everyone from the receptionist to the nurse and anesthesiologist) should be nice to you and treat you with care and respect as well – both before and after the surgery. They should call you the night before surgery and ensure that you’re getting a good night sleep. They should also call you once the procedure is over and you’re back in your home to make sure you’re all right. In short, you need to feel comfortable with everyone working in the surgeon’s office, not just with the surgeon.
  • Has a good reputation in the community. Each week I stumble upon at least one horror news story related to surgical breast enhancement. The list of doctors with suspended or lost licence is being updated and getting bigger and bigger each day. And the number of doctors being sued by their own patients is increasing daily too. It goes without saying that you don’t want to work with a plastic surgeon whose name is in any way associated with botched boob jobs. You also don’t want a plastic surgeon who has been suspended in the past or has medical malpractice judgements filed against him or her. Such medical professional just can’t be trusted anymore. You can check a doctor’s complaint records on his or her state’s medical board.
  • Prepares detailed and specific preoperative and postoperative instructions based on your medical history. What you do in the weeks before and in the months after the breast lift surgery may have a significant impact on the end result of the procedure as well as on the length of the recovery period. Do it right and you minimize the risk of complications, you get back on your feet faster, your cleavage stays uplifted, perky and firm for longer, and the scars on your breasts from incisions fade away almost completely in the long run. A good and trustworthy surgeon understands this. That’s why he or she insists that you religiously follow his or her pre-op and post-op instructions which are based on your current and past medical condition. On the other hand, unreliable surgeons pay little attention to what you need, should and must do before and after having the procedure.

Of course, you should also pay attention to your feelings (some call this as »sixth sense« or »intuition«) when determining how trustworthy a certain plastic surgeon is in reality. Basically, you need to feel like you’re in good, safe hands…

You need to feel like the doctor genuinely cares about you and is more than capable of delivering on his or her promises. You need to feel comfortable discussing your breast lift (and enlargement) related goals as well as fears with this person without holding yourself back. And you also need to feel comfortable getting naked infront of the surgeon and letting him or her touch your breasts.

Just ask yourself how you feel about these things when discussing your breast lift surgery with the potential plastic surgeons. The answers might provide you with some additional clues as well!

Take time to find all the answers before you choose your plastic surgeon…

Right now, you probably feel frustrated, ashamed, pathetic or even depressed every time you think of your breasts. They may look too saggy, too droopy, too deflated or even old to you. I can therefore understand that you may be in a big hurry to have a breast lift surgery. You’ve been struggling for so long and are finally ready to get the cleavage of your dreams and become more confident…

However, you should never just go ahead and pick up the first plastic surgeon that comes your way without doing a thorough »background check« on him or her. It’s just too risky. Because an unqualified doctor can turn your life into a disaster easier than you can imagine…

For instance, you can wake up from the procedure with deformed and weird looking breasts. Your scars may not heal properly and become very visible and unsightly with time. You may develop a nasty infection which needs weeks and months of treatment. You may need much more time to recover from the procedure. And you may even end up dead in the coffin!

Unfortunately, such disturbing situations can occur even if you’re being operated by the best aesthetic surgeon in the world. However, the difference is that they don’t happen nearly as frequently as in case you’re working with under-trained or under-experienced doctor.

While you’ll need to invest lots of your time and energy to find out whether certain plastic surgeon meets all the criteria I discuss above, it’s more than worth the effort at the end of the day. Armed with the gathered information, you’re in a much better position to separate butchers and con-artists from truly talented surgical artists who can make your dreams come true!

P.S.: Don’t forget that breast lift surgery is much more than just a simple beauty treatment. It takes months and even years before your body fully recovers from it. And ultimately, you’re getting yourself into a relationship with a surgeon (chances are you’ll need / want more than one aesthetic surgery throughout your life). That’s why you should choose wisely. Hopefully, my advice will help you do just that. Good luck!

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