A good choice for a Rhinoplasty Surgeon, at the very minimum, should be appropriately credentialed in the specialty of Facial Plastic Surgery or General Plastic Surgery. That means that the surgeon has passed a minimum standard involving a record of training and a rigorous oral and written examination process. But, once that standard is met, there is unfortunately noone watching over the surgeon’s shoulder while he operates.
You can find the really ‘bad eggs’ by checking your state medical board for multiple and major judgments or other board actions against a doctor. Any surgeon, even a great one, can have a complication or a poor outcome rarely but a record of consistently poor outcomes should raise a red flag. Other websites that rate doctors can be helpful, but only to a degree. One unhappy patient can populate these sites with a lot of negative ratings, so be critical of what you are reading. We have even heard reports of doctors or their staff posting negative ratings for a ‘competitor’ or excellent ratings for themselves. So, don’t trust one source and take in all of this information as just a small part of your due diligence in researching your potential surgeon.
Most Rhinoplasty surgeons who are labeled as ‘bad’ are not maliciously hurting people. They may be marginally trained in the procedure, and may be under the impression and truly believe that they are doing good work. This is because of the healing process in Rhinoplasty. In many cases, most anything can be done to a nose and it will look acceptable or even good for a time after Rhinoplasty. But, it is Time that separates the wheat from the chaff in this operation. And, if surgeons are not seeing their patients long-term, then they are not seeing these problems arise. This is why Rhinoplasty has one of the highest rates of revision for poor outcomes of any cosmetic procedure.
So how do you find the right surgeon for your nose? Obviously, appropriate training and Board Certification is critical, but that is only an admission ticket to the complicated world of Rhinoplasty. The most important thing to look for in choosing your surgeon is to find one who is very experienced in Rhinoplasty, who is passionate about the procedure and about your hopes and aspirations, who gives you his time in an unpressured environment, who listens to what you want, who tells you the honest truth about what can or can’t be done, whose aesthetics you really like, who is open about potential negatives, and who shows you many examples of long-term results (over one year) that demonstrate lasting positive changes. There are many sad examples of patients who had surgery with nice guys and smooth talkers….and wish they hadn’t.
Rhinoplasty is so uncompromising a procedure that it will take you a special effort to find the right surgeon. Is a surgeon who has done 5,000 Rhinoplasties better than one who has done 500? Maybe…maybe not. Sure, both are a better choice than a surgeon who has done 10. Rhinoplasty is too difficult an operation for a surgeon to just dabble in once a month and expect to do it really well. But, the more ‘experienced’ surgeon may do lots of Rhinoplasty, spend very little time doing the same thing during each one, and never see you again afterwards. How does a surgeon like that learn anything more from his 5000th case than from his 1st?
So, absolute numbers don’t tell the whole story either. The real outcomes from Rhinoplasty are only apparent after one year or more; so the true student of this challenging operation takes as much time as is necessary during surgery getting it just right the first time, takes detailed notes of what was done, and follows his results for years afterwards with a critical eye towards self-improvement. Only then can his approach evolve to one that ensures predictably good results for a lifetime.
Whomever you choose, listen carefully, make a connection, do your homework and ask around, and then go with your gut. It’s usually right…
Good luck with your choice.