Prospective patients should do their homework when deciding upon not only just whether or not to undergo a cosmetic surgical procedure, but also which cosmetic surgeon they want to perform the surgery. There can be an overwhelming number of physicians from which to choose, and all will claim to have many years of education, training, and expertise in performing a wide variety of cosmetic procedures.
Indeed, plastic surgeons’ websites are full of before and after patient photos, along with glowing testimonials, and possibly some patient education videos explaining various procedures. After a while, it may become very difficult, if not completely impossible, for patients to select the one cosmetic surgeon who will best meet their needs.
However, there may be a very simple tool to help patients narrow down their choices. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), which is the largest professional organization for cosmetic surgeons, provides a number of benefits to physicians that can make them stand out to patients as trustworthy.
The ASPS provides a number of outlets for cosmetic surgeons to earn continuing medical education credits toward maintaining their license. There is an annual meeting, with opportunities to present abstracts and research papers, along with other symposia and workshops throughout the year. There are a number of online educational resources on the ASPS website, ranging from videos, to lectures, to journal articles. The more opportunities a physician has to continue learning and keep up with the current trends in cosmetic surgery, the more prospective patients can be reassured that the surgeon they select is up to date and knowledgeable.
The ASPS also contributes to furthering the latest research in the field of cosmetic surgery. In partnership with the Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF) and other professional medical societies, the ASPS offers grants to medical students, residents, and established physicians who are conducting cutting edge research. The PSF has several critical topics for research:
- Allogeneic transplantation
- Stem and progenitor cells
- Allograft biologics in breast reconstruction
- Fat grafting
- Allograft dermis/epidermis for wound healing
- Composite tissue allotransplantation
- Safety and outcomes
- Acellular dermis
- Comparative effectiveness/cost
Although it may seem as though research does not affect patients, the truth is that it moves forward the state of the art in cosmetic surgery, resulting in better, safer procedures with fewer risks and side effects. A physician that takes advantage of these grants is benefitting the field as a whole, which will eventually filter down to the patient care level.
The ASPS has a number of networking forums, including networking for young practitioners and female physicians, as well as for several ongoing research projects. Physicians can collaborate, mentor, and offer advice to their peers.
A cosmetic surgeon who is a member of the ASPS has access to tools to help them improve their skills, help further research, and network with other physicians. Ultimately, this will all lead toward better patient care.
Contact Dr. John R. Griffin, who is a member of ASPS, to schedule a consultation.