Choosing a dermatologic surgeon
While you may think the most important decision that you make is whether to have dermatologic surgery, the choice of a qualified physician is truly the key to success. There are two important factors to keep in mind when selecting a dermatologic surgeon, particularly for cosmetic skin care: clinical proficiency and personal rapport.
Selecting a proficient physician is the single most important factor for a successful medical procedure. Patients should ask the following questions before they decide if a doctor and a dermatologic surgery procedure are right for them:
- What are the doctor's credentials? Make sure your physician is Board-certified in dermatology. Ask to see his or her credentials. Inquire about his or her commitment to continuing education.
- How many of these particular dermatologic surgery procedures has the physician performed? Most dermatologic surgeons are well-versed in the full range of clinical solutions for a specific condition. In fact, dermatologic surgeons pioneered most of the skin surgery procedures in use today, but some doctors may specialize in a certain technique or technology.
- What results can you expect? Realistic expectations are very important to a positive outcome. Also remember that results will vary based not only on the skill and experience of the surgeon but also on the specifics of your condition, your age, your general health, and other medical and lifestyle factors. Ask to see before-and-after photos of similar procedures your surgeon has performed on patients with comparable conditions.
- What is the healing time and recuperation period? Some procedures require almost no down time; others may necessitate several weeks of recuperation. Know what you're getting into so that you can arrange your schedule accordingly.
- What are the risks? There are inherent risks with any type of surgery. While the risks of most dermatologic surgeries are minimal, you should discuss the pros and cons of any treatment with your doctor.
- What will it cost? You should understand up front your financial commitment and the doctor's terms of payment. In cases where multiple treatment options are available, cost can be an important factor in making your final decision.
Ultimately, the decision to have any procedure performed by a dermatologic surgeon is yours and yours alone. You have the right to obtain all the information you need to make an educated decision you are comfortable with. After all, it may well be the most profound step along the pathway to a lifetime of healthy and beautiful skin.