Happy New Year! Have you made a new year’s resolution? Are you one of the millions of women or men who has decided that in 2011 they will try to improve some part of their life, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually? Are you considering perhaps some type of enhancement of your appearance, your face, your skin, your body? And how do you choose where to obtain that service?

Finding the best plastic surgeon in New York City is no easy task. Is Dr. Olivia Hutchinson one of the best? She has been named as one of the best plastic surgeons and listed in numerous directories of best doctors, so what does that mean? In fact, there are many wonderful, experienced, competent and knowledgeable physicians in the city. The choice is really to find the best plastic surgeon for YOU. And there may well be more than one.

Where do you start? First, the basics. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

1. Check the physician’s credentials. Is your physician licensed in New York State? Is he/she board certified? And most importantly, by which board? The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the ONLY board that certifies plastic surgeons, and does so according to specific educational and training requirements. Are there any sanctions or disciplinary actions against the physician (check the Office of Professional Medical Conduct)?

2. What type of plastic surgeon are you looking for? Many surgeons specialize in some aspect of surgery, such as aesthetic, hand, or craniofacial. If you are looking for an aesthetic plastic surgeon, look for membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Where did the surgeon train? Did he/she do any fellowships or additional training? How long has your surgeon been in practice? What procedures does he/she most commonly perform?

3. Where does the physician practice? Where does he/she operate? In a hospital, ambulatory surgery center (or surgi-center) or in their office operating room? Is the operating room certified (by AAAASF “quad A”)? Where does the surgeon have admitting privileges at a hospital? What happens if you need to be hospitalized after your surgery?

Most, if not all of the above information may be obtained prior to your initial consultation. If you are comfortable with the answers you get to these questions, you may wish to schedule you visit with the plastic surgeon.

Next, the consultation. As the patient, you should feel comfortable with your choice of plastic surgeon, and you should trust your judgement as well as your instincts. When you go to the plastic surgeon’s office, you should expect a thorough and detailed consultation with the physician and their staff. Make sure all your questions have been answered, even if this requires additional visits, telephone calls and emails. Make sure you are a good candidate for the surgery you are choosing, and that you have discussed alternatives. Make sure you understand all that is involved with your pre-operative and post-operative care. In surgery there are no guarantees, no surgery is without potential risks and complications, and no surgeon has a zero complication rate unless they’re not operating.

Cosmetic plastic surgery can produce wonderful results, and many patients benefit from having undergone any one of the myriad procedures available today. Good luck finding the best plastic surgeon for you! If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hutchinson, you may contact us at (212) 452-1400.

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