What sets our cosmetic surgery practice in California apart is the Santa Barbara Experience, in which we provide a program of personalized care structured for each cosmetic surgery patient. Before committing to cosmetic surgery, you will want to know what to expect at each step of the process. Fortunately the processes and procedures are well established, because millions undergo cosmetic surgery each year.
For the first-time cosmetic surgery patient, the usual steps are:
- Select a cosmetic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
- Schedule a complimentary consultation with the surgeon.
- Schedule the cosmetic surgery.
- Prepare for cosmetic surgery.
- Undergo your cosmetic surgery and brief recovery.
- Return for several post-operative examinations.
Our staff here at Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center will discuss these steps during the initial consultation for your cosmetic surgery experience. Many first time cosmetic surgery patients visit us from surrounding areas, such as Bakersfield and Ventura.
Selecting Board-Certified Surgeons, Staff, and Facilities
Perhaps the most important decision you will make is your choice of a qualified cosmetic surgeon, his operating team, and surgical facilities. All of our surgeons, anesthesia staff, and nurses are board-certified and our cosmetic surgery practice is qualified to take care of your individual needs. Our surgical center is routinely inspected and is certified by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF).
Aesthetic, Cosmetic, and Plastic Surgeons
Even with little or no experience in cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, unfortunately any physician licensed in California may claim to be a “Plastic Surgeon.” Occasionally doctors who are qualified in a different specialty (such as general surgery, obstetrics, gynecology or family practice) take short courses (like a weekend in liposuction) so that they can call themselves “Plastic Surgeons.”
For a person considering cosmetic surgery, it sometimes can be difficult to “sort out” who is legitimately well-trained and who is marginally trained. Fortunately there are helpful criteria that one can review.
With the explosion of medical knowledge, it’s understandable that no single physician can maintain expertise in all areas of medicine. In fact, keeping current on the latest advancements in even one area of specialization is a challenge. But as consumers of medical services, how do we know that a physician is an expert in our area of need? The medical profession has responded with rigorous and formal programs to train and certify highly skilled, specialized physicians – thoracic surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and plastic surgeons, among others.
What Makes a Plastic Surgeon?
To become board-certified as a Plastic Surgeon, a physician must undergo several years of additional educational training after completing medical school. The usual path is three to five years of General Surgery residency training, followed by two to three years of Plastic Surgery residency. After about two years in practice, the surgeon must pass rigorous written and oral examination and testing to become a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. Then he or she can elect to serve all patients with plastic surgery needs or to further specialize in reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, or cosmetic cases.
The American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) as the only organization authorized to certify plastic surgeons. Cosmetic surgeons Wesley Schooler, MD and David Buchanan, MD have both been board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Not All Physicians are Board-Certified
In many states, century-old laws still allow any physician to solicit and perform surgeries of any kind. That means unaware patients can and do find themselves under the knife of an untrained and non-certified physician. Obviously, it is important for your cosmetic surgeon to be board certified in cosmetic surgery. Additionally, you should confirm that the anesthesia provider is certified and that the operating facility is accredited. Contact our cosmetic surgery practice in Santa Barbara for a qualified surgeon today.
What You are Entitled to Know about Cosmetic Surgery
When interviewing sources for cosmetic surgery, ask questions of the surgeon and his staff to confirm:
- The surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) – no substitutes. You can verify board certification with (ABPS) or the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
- Once you are comfortable with the surgeon’s credentials, ask his office staff for the name and credentials of the anesthesia provider for your procedure.
- If the surgeon operates in a surgical center, ask the staff about accreditation for the facility.
The preliminary cosmetic surgery consultation at the Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center is an integral part of your comprehensive care. It is during this meeting that you share your thoughts and concerns with Dr. Buchanan or Dr. Schooler. They in turn will complete a thorough examination. By viewing before-and-after photographs, watching explanatory videos, and utilizing the computer imaging system, you and Dr. Buchanan or Dr. Schooler together can decide which cosmetic surgery procedures are appropriate.
The goal of the consultation is to provide information and to answer questions regarding your desired cosmetic surgery. Dr. Buchanan or Dr. Schooler will explain the risks and possible complications of your procedure. Photographic documentation is obtained and becomes a confidential part of your medical record. Your photographs will never be published without your written consent. In order to be prepared for your consultation, we recommend calling our office in advance and requesting information regarding your areas of interest. You will be given the opportunity to meet privately with our Practice Administrator to discuss financial arrangements.
Making Cosmetic Surgery Affordable
Once you have decided that a cosmetic procedure is right for you, there is no better time to schedule surgery. We believe that the benefits of cosmetic surgery should be made available to those who seek it. That is why our practice provides several payment methods to meet the financial situations of most everyone.
We accept personal and cashier checks or cash, as well as money orders and most major credit cards. There are also many sources for loans – private parties, banks, credit cards and loan companies. Some patients arrange private loans from family, friends and employers. Others arrange loans from their bank or credit union. Many credit card companies will increase limits to accommodate surgeries. Fortunately, low interest rates are making cosmetic surgery more affordable than ever. As with most medical procedures, payment must be arranged before surgery is scheduled.
Financing Programs are available for as low as 0% to qualified applicants. Call or email Kristi Clark here at our practice for more information.
Contact Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery
If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons, please contact Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery today.