Social marketing and media have become a very big thing on the Internet. Observed one advertising pro: “Social marketing is your relative’s doctor recommendation, writ one thousand times larger.”
But consider: social media speaks so loudly because it’s an industry run by professionals who want people to buy lots of things.
However, in cosmetic plastic surgery, it’s tricky.
Somebody recommending a surgeon on Instagram or Facebook may report that Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Smith is great because he is “board-certified.” Actually, that’s a fraction of a thumbs up.
Sure, Dr. Smith may be board-certified, but there are many, many boards in medicine. That Dr. Smith may even be board certified in gynecology.
You won’t know unless you check a doctor’s background and training. The picture becomes even muddier because some cosmetic surgery boards are member boards that don’t test surgeons.
Other boards are certifying boards that do test and check on surgeons’ training.
For instance, compare the differences and requirements between the American Board of Plastic Surgeons (ABPS) and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. (AACS.). The boards sound similar, don’t they?
ABPS: Doctors must complete six years of surgical training after medical school; three of those years must be in plastic surgery residency training. The surgeons must also pass rigorous testing, or “boards.”
AACS: Offers weekend courses to doctors already in practice. Certifies physicians who pass a primary board certification in a surgical field including general surgery and some cosmetic surgeries. Must also finish a one-year cosmetic surgery fellowship.
In your first meeting with a cosmetic plastic surgeon, here are some typical questions in-the-know patients ask:
- How many patients in the procedure I want have you done? Best results come from surgeons known as “super-specialists.” Those surgeons have many years of training in just a handful of procedures and have performed them at least weekly — if not daily – for at least ten years. (Learn more about super-specialization.)
- Do you have access to patients before and after surgery pictures?
- Where did you train in cosmetic surgery?
- What happens if there are complications?
- Are any of your former patients available for me to chat with?
- Where would my surgery be performed? And is that facility certified by, say, the Joint Commission or another certifying body?
- Where do you have hospital privileges locally? (This is a key question; hospital administrators quickly learn which surgeons leave happy patients and which surgeons are all thumbs.)