Ask Dr. Burstein: What Should I Look for in a Plastic Surgeon?

Ask Dr. Burstein What Should I Look for in a Plastic SurgeonDouble board-certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist Dr. Fernando Burstein is devoted to performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures ranging from cleft lip and palate repair to aesthetic rhinoplasty and even ear surgery on men and women of all ages.  In our ongoing blog feature, Ask Dr. Burstein, you will have the opportunity to hear him answer some of the most frequently asked questions he receives about facial plastic surgery.

QUESTION:  As a woman in her early forties, I have found myself growing increasingly concerned with various signs of aging that have started to show in my face and neck.  My face seems to be losing fullness, my cheeks appear sunken in, and the skin around my eyes has started to sag and wrinkle.  I believe that I could possibly benefit from some form of facial plastic surgery, and am considering perhaps Botox® or even a facelift. To be honest, I am a bit overwhelmed by the number of choices available and simply don’t know where I should begin. What would you recommend that I look for when choosing a plastic surgeon?  Am I too young to even be considering these types of procedures?  Please help!

ANSWER:  Great question and let me reassure you that you are not the first woman or man to come to me with these concerns. In my opinion, you are certainly not too young to start considering some form of cosmetic plastic surgery or non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures.  Many people can actually begin to show noticeable signs of facial aging much earlier than their forties, and it has always been my facial rejuvenation philosophy that taking a gradual approach, where I intervene with minimally invasive procedures early on in the process and only graduate to more comprehensive plastic surgery procedures as they become necessary, produces the most subtle and natural-looking long-term results.

When choosing a plastic surgeon, patients are generally happiest when they find someone with whom they can feel most comfortable with.  Being able to communicate freely and share honest information about their concerns helps ensure that not only everyone involved understands exactly what the goals are, but also what the procedure can realistically achieve.  I would also recommend that you get as much background information as possible.  Make sure your doctor is board-certified in the field of plastic surgery.  Many doctors in unrelated specialties manage to gain a minor, supplementary certification in “cosmetic surgery,” but they simply cannot match the years of specialized training beyond medical school and residency or the thousands of hours of hands-on surgical experience that define a true board-certified plastic surgeon. Finally, ask to see before and after pictures of a surgeon’s work, particularly of patients who have received the same sort of procedure that you are interested in having done.  Examine the outcomes and ask the surgeon to explain how individual idiosyncrasies might apply to your specific case.  All of this research may seem time-consuming, but it will result in a much higher level of satisfaction in your final plastic surgery results.

About Dr. Fernando Burstein

Dr. Fernando Burstein is a well-respected Atlanta facial plastic surgeon with board certifications in both plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery.)  With nearly thirty years of experience specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures, Dr. Burstein has served as both the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery and the director of the Center of Craniofacial Disorders at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as well as a clinical professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Emory University.  He has authored and published more than 100 articles and book chapters on facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and has been honored as one of the top plastic surgeons in Atlanta by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a national organization founded in 1991 to help guide consumers to the highest quality healthcare, for the past eight consecutive years.