Looking for a plastic surgeon? Watch for red flags

- Thinking about cosmetic surgery? Morehouse Healthcare plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Dzifa Kpodzo says take your time, and choose your surgeon carefully.

"You have to know that that person is going to be there with you through thick and thin," Dr. Kpodzo says.  "If there is a problem, they're going to be there to resolve it."

Kpodzo says there are some red flags to watch for that may be a sign the surgeon is not a good fit for you.

A big one?  The doctor isn't actually a board-certified plastic surgeon.

"Don't be embarrassed about this, because I know so many who are intellectuals, lawyers, even other doctors, who have entered my office and have had a procedure and they'll tell me the name of their surgeon, and I'll look them up, and I will say, 'Well, did you know this person was an OB/GYN? Or that they were an ER doctor,'" Kpodzo says. "It's so easy making that mistake."

"I always talk about the fact you need to make sure your doctor is a board-certified plastic surgeon or at least a board-eligible plastic surgeon, who is going through the process."

Another red flag: you feel pressured

"(Be wary of) anybody who is trying to rush you into the operating room, without really learning much about you," Dr. Kpodzo says. "If someone feels like they're being very, very pushy, that ought to be a red flag."

Sometimes a doctor's staff will perform the initial consultation.

But, if you haven't actually met your surgeon, and your operation day is fast approaching, Dr. Kpodzo says that's a problem.

"If you have not seen your surgeon, and no one will let you see your surgeon before your surgery, that should be a huge red flag," she says.  "Again, this is a two-way relationship of trust, and your surgeon really should at some point evaluate you before your surgery."

Kpodzo says the surgeon should be the one who sits down with you and talks about whether you are a good candidate for plastic surgery, and what your options are in terms of procedures.

And, she says, the surgeon should be very clear about the risks involved, and the plan should there be a complication.

"Anyone who tells you there are zero risks and problems when it comes to surgery, they are being disingenuous," Dr. Kpodzo says.  "Because we all have complications. So you have to know, what are the risks and what are the benefits."

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