Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
What does the term board-certified plastic surgeon mean? Aren't all plastic surgeons "board-certified"?
Unfortunately, there are physicians calling themselves "plastic surgeons" even though they have not had formal training as a surgeon.
 
Only a fully trained plastic surgeon who has also been officially certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)is recognized by the medical community as "board certified". The ABPS is the only board authorized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify physicians in the full range of plastic surgery - including all cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. The ABMS oversees the board certification of all the physicians in the United States such as obstetricians, neurosurgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons. To become an ABPS board certified plastic surgeon, medical school graduates must first compete to be accepted into an approved surgical training program, including a special residency in plastic surgery. They must then successfully complete this training process which ranges from 5-10 years. Following that, they must pass comprehensive written and oral exams in plastic surgery over a two year period.
 
Physicians who are trained in plastic surgery and board-certified by the ABPS will choose to perform cosmetic surgery procedures in surgicenters, hospitals or in their offices depending on what they decide is most appropriate for a given procedure or patient. However, only board certified plastic surgeons will have hospital privileges at accredited hospitals. You should ask about - and check on - your plastic surgeon's credentials and hospital privileges before undergoing any treatment or surgery.
 
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) maintains a special website which allows patients to verify any doctor's ABPS certification status - www.certificationmatters.org
 
 
Should I get a "second opinion"?
Getting a second opinion is always of value when contemplating having a cosmetic procedure.  We thoroughly recommend and support this idea.  To have the greatest degree of confidence in these opinions, be sure to choose a Plastic Surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).  The American Board of Medical Specialties maintains a special website which allows patients to verify any doctor's ABPS certification status - www.certificationmatters.org.  Within our local area, there are 5 ABPS Board Certified Plastic Surgeons that we often recommend as resources for second opinions:
 
  1. Gary M. Brownstein, M.D.
  2. William C. Franckle, M.D.
  3. John Gatti, M.D.
  4. Evan S. Sorokin, M.D.
  5. Bhupesh Vasisht, M.D.
 
 
How does smoking affect my surgical result?
Smoking disrupts the healing process and increases the risks of developing complications after surgery. Most plastic surgery procedures are particularly vulnerable. Chemicals from smoking circulating in the bloodstream prior to surgery or during the fragile healing process can lead to infections, wound breakdown and even the "death" of skin and tissue, called "necrosis". Unattractive scars can also be a result of smoking.
 
Because of these significant dangers, we require all of our patients to stop smoking for 2 to 4 weeks before surgery and remain tobacco free for 2 to 4 weeks afterwards.
 
 
What are the risks and complications?
As is true for any surgery, plastic surgery carries some uncertainty and risk, including the possibility of infection, bleeding, blood clots, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and other postoperative complications. These can occur no matter how skilled and experienced the surgeon.
You can reduce your risks by choosing a qualified, board certified plastic surgeon and closely following their advice, both before and after surgery. Dr. Back and our staff take the time to inform each patient about their procedure, including unexpected problems that could arise - patients need to be well-educated about these possibilities before surgery.
 
There are medical conditions that could cause particular problems during or after surgery, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, bleeding problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars. These have to be discussed and plans tailored accordingly. Be sure to tell your surgeon if you are taking any drugs, medications, or over-the-counter products, including herbs, since some of these can affect bleeding, bruising and swelling leading to dangerous complications or affecting your final result.
 
Because smoking increases the chances of developing complications and disturbs the healing process, you will need to stop smoking 2 to 4 weeks before a surgical procedure and for 2 to 4 weeks afterwards. 
 
 
What is the difference between reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery?
The goal of reconstructive surgery is to correct defects (as in breast reconstruction after cancer surgery) and to restore form or function to a part of the face or body which is considered to be outside the range of normal.  Cosmetic surgery procedures are designed to enhance a part of the face or body which is actually within the range of normal, but there is a personal desire to improve upon it in some way.
 
 
What can I expect with the recovery from my surgery?
For most cosmetic surgical procedures, there will be minimal activity restrictions for 2 to 4 weeks following surgery, but good results and avoiding complications depends upon following them carefully.  Dr. Back and our staff will explain the specific restrictions for your procedure, but the procedure descriptions on this website should provide a general idea of what to expect. It takes time for the visible signs of healing to subside. Plan your work and social activities to allow sufficient time for recovery.
 
 
What should I consider before making a decision to have plastic surgery?
The short answer: gather as much information as you can in order to make a well-informed decision that’s right for you.  Specific to plastic surgery, though, there are a couple of things to think about as you determine whether plastic surgery is an option for you: expectations and risk.
 
Expectations – Very often, plastic surgery can enhance your appearance and boost your self-confidence. But it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause others to treat you differently. Take some time and think carefully about your expectations, understanding that the circumstances and experience of every individual will be unique. Once you have made the decision to move forward, be sure to discuss your expectations in detail with Dr. Back, who can best help you understand the particular procedure you’re interested in and the results you can reasonably expect from it.
 
Risk – All surgery carries some degree of uncertainty and risk, including the possibility of infection, bleeding, blood clots and adverse reactions to the anesthesia. However, when performed by a qualified, experienced, and board certified plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Back, complications are typically less frequent and usually minor. You also play an important role in obtaining a good result and can reduce your risks by closely following Dr. Back’s advice, both before and after surgery.
 
 
How can I best prepare for surgery?
As you meet with our team prior to surgery, we’ll give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure, including guidelines on:
  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking (i.e., STOP!)
  • Taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications
Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly. In addition, Dr. Back and our staff will be available to answer any questions you might have or any concerns that arise. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.
 
 
What can I expect after surgery?
Within the first few weeks after surgery, you’ll see Dr. Back for follow-up visits (which will taper off in frequency over time) in order to check on the progress of your healing. Meanwhile, it’s important for you to keep in mind that healing, of any form, is a gradual process.
 
During the initial phases of recovery, you’ll experience some pain and discomfort along with swelling and bruising around the operative areas. This is normal. You’ll be given medications to handle the pain, and in time, the swelling and bruising will disappear. It’s also not unusual to feel depressed in the days or weeks following surgery. Again, keep in mind that this is normal and will subside as you begin to look and feel better.
 
Of course, if you have any unusual symptoms between visits, or questions about your recovery, don’t hesitate to call us. While some questions will need to be handled with a one-on-one visit with Dr. Back, most often they can be properly addressed through a brief telephone call.  We are available 24/7 through our emergency line, even if the office is closed.
 
 
How safe is plastic surgery?
Although hundreds of thousands of people have plastic surgical procedures every year without complications, no surgical procedure is completely risk-free. There is always at least some risk associated with any surgical procedure. However, as a patient, you can play an important role in reducing that risk.
 
Begin by choosing an American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) board certified plastic surgeon.  While credentials alone can’t guarantee a successful outcome, it certainly starts things off on the right note.  Inform your doctor of any medications you’re taking and your full medical history, so that a proper evaluation of your medical condition can be done and proper steps taken to help to protect you against potential complications.  Follow your doctor’s before and after instructions to the best of your ability. 
 
 
Do you offer financing?
We offer financing that allows our patients to more easily handle the costs of their procedures. We will do our best to meet your individual needs. We invite you to discuss all of your concerns so that we can help you achieve your desired results in a way that works and is convenient for you.
 
How can I pay for my surgery?
We want to make your payments to us as stress free as possible. We accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and certified bank checks.  Sorry, but we do not accept personal checks.
 
In the case of financing, we offer a number of different options.  We help you to decide what will be most comfortable for you. 
 
 
Can I get multiple procedures done at the same time?
Yes, it may be possible to do but it is not always advisable to do. Dr. Back believes that the best and safest outcomes are most often realized by limiting the risks and simplifying the recovery process.  Staying within reasonable limits of time in the operating room, and avoiding combinations of procedures that unnecessarily raise risk levels also helps lead to a streamlined and easy recovery.  Getting a great result with a safe, uneventful and quick recovery is more important than “getting it all done at once”.
 
 
When do I pay for my cosmetic surgery procedures?
To reserve an actual date for your cosmetic surgery, we will require a scheduling/booking fee.  Reserving a date is the only way we can guarantee you the date you have chosen.  The final balance of payment is due on or prior to the date of your preoperative visit (which is typically 3 to 4 weeks before your actual surgery date).