Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Being prepared for surgery, both mentally and physically, will make the whole process less formidable.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) offers these Guidelines for consumers considering any cosmetic surgical or nonsurgical procedure:

Credentials

Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) ensures in-depth surgical training in all aspects of plastic surgery. Membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and/or American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) means a surgeon is ABPS-certified and has met additional requirements for continuing education and experience in cosmetic surgery. Anyone can claim to be a doctor, cosmetic surgeon or plastic surgeon. It is important to verify these claims with a reliable, independent source.

Choosing an ASAPS or ASPS Member Surgeon ensures that you have selected a physician who:

  • Has completed at least five years of surgical training with an additional two years (or more) in plastic surgery.
  • Is trained and experienced in all plastic & cosmetic surgery procedures, including breast, body, face and reconstruction.
  • Operates only in accredited medical facilities.
  • Adheres to a strict code of ethics.
  • Fulfills continuing medical education requirements, including standards and innovations in patient safety.
  • Is board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Consider the setting

Prospective patients should be cautious about receiving cosmetic procedures outside of a medical setting, such as in a private home, SPA, or at a “party.” If undergoing a surgical procedure outside the hospital, the facility should be accredited by a recognized national agency such as the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). All facilities should be state-licensed or Medicare certified.

The advantages of accredited facilities

Plastic surgery performed by board-certified plastic surgeons in accredited ambulatory facilities - also known as outpatient surgery centers or same day surgery centers - has an excellent safety record. Accredited ambulatory facilities have been documented, through research and the compilation of required reporting, to have:

  • An extremely low rate of serious complications (less than half of 1 percent)
  • An extremely low mortality rate (less than one in 57,000)
  • The advantage of lower costs

Accredited facilities: A consumer guide

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) requires that member surgeons use surgical facilities that meet established standards for quality and safety. All procedures, other than those requiring only local anesthetic and/or mild oral sedation, must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF)
  • Accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)
  • Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO)
  • Certified to participate in the Medicare program under title XVIII
  • A License by the state in which the facility operates.

In general, accreditation or the equivalent requires a facility to

  • Allow surgery to be performed only by an American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified or board eligible surgeon who has privileges to perform the same procedures at a local, accredited hospital. Non-board certified surgeons would not have those privileges at an accredited hospital.
  • Provide anesthesia by a board-certified or board-eligible anesthesiologist or certified nurse anesthetist.
  • Maintain a staff of certified surgical technicians, registered nurses or licensed practical nurses who are trained in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and to recognize the signs of cardiac or respiratory distress.
  • Adhere to all local, state and national regulations including sanitation, fire safety and building codes.
  • Adhere to all federal laws and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations including blood-borne pathogen and hazardous waste standards.
  • Use and practice advanced monitoring for patient safety during surgery and immediate recovery.

Check on the doctor’s hospital privileges

If a cosmetic surgical procedure is to be performed in an office or ambulatory surgery center, the surgeon should have privileges to perform the same procedure in an acute care hospital. When choosing a member of the Aesthetic Society or ASPS member you have the peace of mind in knowing that all members have these privileges.

Informed Consent

Make sure your Physician has given you a thorough evaluation and fully understand all aspects of the procedure. Before any medical procedure, patients should provide their medical history, and be examined and evaluated for the specific treatment or procedure. You should receive detailed information about the procedure’s benefits and risks as well as any post-surgical care requirements.

Plan on follow-up care

A reputable doctor will be available for necessary follow-up care of patients undergoing any cosmetic procedure.


Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

All Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and ASPS have the following credentials, training and certifications. If you receive a referral or are unsure of the surgeon’s qualifications here is a general list of questions to ask:

  • Are you a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery?
  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Where and how will you perform my procedure?
  • Do you have hospital privileges to perform my procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
  • Is the surgical facility accredited by a nationally or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?

Procedure-related questions

  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • Are there other options for me?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • What is the length of the recovery period, and what kind of recovery help will I need?
  • Will I need to take time off work for my recovery? If so, for how long?
  • Are there alternative procedures I could consider? What are their pros and cons?
  • What risks and complications are associated with my procedure and how are they handled?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome?
  • Do you have before and after photos that illustrate this procedure and show results that are reasonable for me to expect?

Injectable-related questions

  • Is the injectable procedure I have chosen sufficient for the result I am trying to achieve?
  • What can I expect in terms of swelling, discomfort, and recovery time following the injectable treatment?
  • Is the injectable material approved by the FDA?
  • If my injector is a nurse or physician’s assistant, will my plastic surgeon be on site and supervising the procedure?
  • Am I aware that injectable procedures do not provide permanent results?

Safety

Plastic surgery is real surgery. Yet any licensed physician can claim to be a cosmetic surgeon. How will you know if your doctor meets the highest standards for education, experience, and ethics?

Choosing a doctor who’s a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) or American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) is the first step to ensuring that your plastic surgery is safe plastic surgery, with quality care and outcomes. Members of the Aesthetic Society are board-certified, operate out of accredited facilities and follow a strict code of ethics.

If you would like to verify any information about Dr. Jensen, please see the following contact list below:

National and State Medical contact information

  • American Board of Medical Specialties: 1-866-275-2267 or http://www.abms.org
    Verify a doctor’s certification in any recognized medical specialty.
  • Federation of State Medical Boards: 1-817-868-4000 or http://www.fsmb.org
    Verify a doctor’s medical license and check for disciplinary action.

Surgical Facility Accrediting Organizations

Verify surgical facility accreditation and safety meeting nationally recognized standards.

Medicare Listened Facilities

  • American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities: 1-847-949-6058 or http://www.aaaasf.org
  • Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care: 1-847-853-6060 or http://www.aaahc.org
  • Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations: 1-630-792-5000 or http://www.jcaho.org

Always remember: Surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures are medical procedures and should be undertaken only under the care of a trained specialist.

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