A board-certified plastic surgeon should obviously be competent in his/her technical skills and apply them in the areas he/she is comfortable in. But what makes that surgeon stand from the rest lies in those areas that are not necessarily quantifiable or easily categorized.
I believe that when a surgeon takes on a patient it is done with total immersion in that case. I greet the person in the waiting room and escort them to the office where I personally take their relevant personal and medical history. I perform the exam myself and give my opinion and advice with options where appropriate and feasible. The advice should be truthful and realistic for the goals set by the patient. Honesty leads to trust for patient and doctor and fruitful communication. Listening to the patient’s concerns is critical to avoid miscommunication.
A plan of action is drawn and the patient is given written information about the procedure and asked to return to the office if interested. Financial programs are offered if needed. Arrangements are personally worked out by my office manager on all surgeries and procedures so that the patient has only one go-to person, avoiding any miscommunications with the rest of the office.
I see the patient a second time before surgery and preop the patient, obtaining consent and photographs myself. All prescriptions are given and the patient is invited to call or come in with any other questions. The patient is advised that I will call them the night before to make sure all is set.
The day of the procedure I see the person in the preop area and mark the patient as necessary. I explain what will happen and introduce the patient to the staff and the anesthesiologist. I prepare all aspects of the procedure myself in the OR, including placement of catheter if needed. I prep the patient myself. The surgery is performed by me from start to finish. I place all dressings myself and walk the stretcher to the recovery. I write all the orders myself. I call the person myself that night.
Follow-up is in my office where I take the initial dressings off and discuss the surgery. All subsequent office visits are with me only. I remove all sutures and answer all questions. I do not have a phalanx of nurses, PAs, or other personnel to stand between my patient’s concerns and my care. The patient is discharged from my care when all aspects of the results have been achieved.
These patients are paying hard-earned out-of-pocket money and deserve my undivided attention. The degree of care is what makes a plastic surgeon stand out.