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The decision to undergo facelift surgery is a deeply personal choice that should only be made with ample research and consideration. One of the most daunting aspects of the procedure is choosing the right surgeon for you. You may feel inundated with possibilities, as nowadays there are so many highly qualified professionals to choose from in all areas of the country.

While it may be tempting to lean on one factor more heavily than others, such as your facelift surgeon's gender, their personality, their before and after photos, or their pricing, it's important that you take a multifaceted approach, considering all the variables that go into establishing excellence in a plastic surgeon.

Below, we will explore 5 key factors that you should consider when making your choice. Remember that this is just a place to start. There may be many other criteria that will eventually inform your decision.


Is your facelift surgeon board-certified?

When seeking the best plastic surgeon for your facelift, you should choose someone who is board certified in Facial Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This ensures that your surgeon has undergone at least 6 years of rigorous training with at least 2-3 years under their belt specializing in facial plastic surgery. It means that they have passed demanding written and oral examinations and have demonstrated their abilities, their trustworthiness and their adherence to the highest ethical standards.

Make sure that you check your surgeon's credentials. Some may claim that they are “board certified”, but this doesn't mean that they are credentialed by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Do your due diligence and double-check your research. Undergoing a medical procedure at the hands of an unqualified individual can be life-threatening, not to mention it can lead to unsatisfactory aesthetic results.

Is the operating facility accredited?

In addition to vetting your plastic surgeon, you will need to research the facility in which your procedure is to take place. You should be able to find out ahead of time at which hospitals your surgeon retains privileges. If your surgery is performed at an ambulatory care center or your plastic surgeon's office, you will want to ensure that the location is accredited by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO). This accreditation guarantees the strictest of safety standards and the assurance that all staff and practitioners in attendance at your surgery are highly trained and experienced. At accredited facilities, the rate of serious complications is less than half of 1%, and the mortality rate tends to be less than 1 in almost 60,000.

Woman with serious expression on her face

Is your plastic surgeon trying to up-sell you?

People undergoing facial plastic surgery are in a vulnerable position, as they are putting their trust in a medical professional who is also a judge of aesthetics. You may be susceptible to certain surgeons suggesting additional procedures that you didn't originally ask for. When a plastic surgeon who is in a position of authority comments negatively on your appearance, you may be tempted to sign up for treatments that you are led to believe can help you to look better. Beware of this scenario, and go elsewhere if this happens. Up-selling a client is a definite red flag when it comes to plastic surgeons.

Of course, if you are interested in complementary treatments, then by all means allow your surgeon to explain these procedures to you in detail. The point is that you are leading the discussion and you are empowered to choose only those treatments in which you are genuinely interested.


Do you feel comfortable with your plastic surgeon?

This may seem obvious, but it's important that you feel comfortable talking with your surgeon, asking questions and requesting information. Choose someone who sets you at ease and seems genuinely caring and attentive, giving you personalized attention. After all, facelift surgery is a partnership between you and your doctor. Trust is the underlying foundation that must be established in order to support a successful result.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I feel comfortable discussing my fears and concerns with my surgeon?
  • Do I trust my surgeon’s recommendations?
  • Do I feel confident that my surgeon will be able to take care of me should an emergency arise?
  • Do I feel comfortable with the staff?
  • Am I receiving all the information I need to make an informed and empowered decision?
  • Does the surgeon have the necessary experience in facelift surgery that I seek?

Do you like your surgeon’s before and after photos as well as their testimonials?

As much as you like your surgeon, if you are not seeing the type of results you seek in your doctor's before and after portfolio, it may not be the best fit for you. You should definitely be able to see clients with similar concerns and view photos of their final result that you find inspiring. Likewise, you should feel relieved by reading testimonials of former patients. Checking on websites such as RealSelf can help you to connect with a community and discover real people who have previously undergone treatment with your plastic surgeon. This is a vital part of the process. On RealSelf you can even ask former patients questions about certain aspects of the procedure, such as recovery, preparation, or follow-up visits.


What is the takeaway?

Choosing the right plastic surgeon takes a great deal of patience, research and faith to get it right. The combination of the surgeon’s training and skills, artistry, demeanor, results and availability will all factor into your decision. Rest assured, if you take the time to consider the 5 key questions posed in this article, your facelift will be less stressful and more successful.

Dr. Andrew J. Miller, MD and Dr. Elliot Heller, MD both perform strategic, nuanced facelift surgery at Associates in Plastic Surgery in New Jersey and are available to speak with you and answer any questions or concerns you might have. We are excited to help you take this important step forward in realizing your aesthetic goals and living your best life.

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