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Plastic Surgeon Shopping: What Patients Really Look For

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Houston plastic surgeon researchShopping around for a plastic surgeon requires a lot of homework, and it can be hard to know where to begin.

But study results recently released by the Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Institute may help make your decision-making process easier by offering some insight into what other patients consider when choosing a plastic surgeon.

According to the 111 patients ages 19-72 (51 average) who were surveyed by the APSI, a doctor’s board certification status is the most important consideration in choosing a plastic surgeon.

This may be surprising to some who believe that cost is the most crucial or deciding factor for patients considering plastic surgery, however this study shows that cost is actually the least important consideration in plastic surgeon selection.

In addition to board certification status and cost, study participants were also asked to measure the importance of other decision-making factors, including:

  • Method of referral
  • Travel distance from home to office
  • Office décor
  • Experience, or number of years in practice

The study asked 10 men and 101 women which of these factors was most important and found that the average importance of a plastic surgeon’s board certification status was nearly 40%, followed by method of referral at 23.5% and travel distance from home to office at slightly over 13%.

Of least importance on average were office décor (9%), experience, or number of years in practice, (7.5%) and procedure cost (7.2%).

Plastic surgery organizations, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, have long underscored the importance of selecting a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures, and the results of this study indicate that patients seem to have taken notice of education efforts.

Cost, of course, is an important consideration for everyone in the current economic climate, but most plastic surgeons also agree that it should be the final consideration in the plastic surgeon selection process.

“It is much more expensive to try to fix a bad result than to get it done properly the first time. So make […] prices a part of your decision process, but definitely not the top priority,” advises Seattle plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Rand.

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