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How to Find the Right Cosmetic Surgeon for You

Your choice of cosmetic surgeon will be a choice you live with for years, if not your entire life. A successful procedure will make you feel more like yourself and give you greater confidence for years to come. On the other hand, ending up in the hands of an inexperienced surgeon increases your chances of having poor results, which can lead to additional costs, time, and heartache

Make sure the cosmetic surgeon is board certified

Many people think they can depend on state medical boards to ensure that surgeons are qualified to perform the procedures they advertise, but that fact is that the government does not require a surgeon to be specifically trained in the procedures they offer. This problem is most acute in the area of cosmetic surgery, as many doctors with general surgery or other medical training hop on the cosmetic surgery bandwagon in pursuit of greater profits.

Our view is that patients need a dependable way to know if their surgeon is properly trained and experienced in cosmetic surgery. That’s why we at the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) formed a board exclusively dedicated to cosmetic surgeons’ education, training, and certification.

Confirm the surgeon’s experience in the specific procedures you want

Each area of cosmetic surgery requires different skills: you can imagine how operating on a nose with bone, cartilage, and breathing passages would be quite different from operating on a breast, which is primarily comprised of soft tissue. Given this, cosmetic surgeons can have subspecialties within the field. Choose a surgeon who is board certified in cosmetic surgery and has substantial experience in the procedure you are considering

Choose a surgeon whose aesthetic sense appeals to you

We all know that what one person finds beautiful may be unattractive to another. For this reason, you can’t just trust a friend’s recommendation or solely depend on the cosmetic surgeon’s experience. You need to look carefully at the results for each surgeon you interview.

Insider Tips for Finding a Plastic Surgeon You Can Trust

Victoria Cross, a 57-year-old from Montgomery Village, Maryland, considers her breast reduction the best thing she’s ever done for herself. “When I woke up from the surgery and sat up, it was the first time in a very long time that I didn’t feel any pulling in my chest and my shoulders weren’t hurting,” she tells SELF. Cross, who had the procedure at the age of 45, was a D cup in high school and a G cup by the time she had her surgery. Now she’s a proud C cup and has never looked back.

But one of the reasons she waited until her 40s for the procedure was because of the difficulties involved in finding the right surgeon for the job. “Part of the reason for the length was convincing some of the offices that I wanted to ‘interview’ the doctor,” she explains. In other words, she wasn’t willing to sign the paperwork and meet her handler while she was lying on the operating table. This, experts agree, is a very important part of the process, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

The number of women and men having plastic surgery is on the rise, with over 17.1 million cosmetic procedures taking place in the year 2016 alone, which means more and more people are trying to get into the aesthetics game. But you have to be careful about choosing the right professional to do the job. As plastic surgery attracts a growing base of eager patients, a number of unqualified physicians and even non-physicians are jumping on the cosmetic bandwagon, donning white lab coats and all. In addition to meeting the surgeon in person, it’s also strongly encouraged to check their background to make sure they’re certified to handle the exact procedure you’re looking to have.

Talk to friends, family members, and acquaintances who’ve had work done to get recommendations.

First, consider those close to you. Has anyone had work done? If you’re comfortable, reach out to him or her for advice. “A trusted friend or family member can give you an honest rundown of the entire process, from the consultation with the doctor and the surgery itself to the recovery process,”

Do your homework by reading up on reviews of surgeons in your area.

As one does this day in age, Issy Ryan, 38, of New York City, took to the Internet before settling on a surgeon to carry out her liposuction procedure. “For me knowledge is power, so I read review after review to get a sense of previous patients’ experiences and help me get to know a little bit about how each surgeon ‘operated,’ both in and out of the operating room,” she tells SELF.

Choosing the Right Cosmetic Surgeon

These guidelines can help you find the right cosmetic surgeon for your needs. First, you should interview two or three surgeons whose specialties match your needs.

There may be qualified surgeons in other professional organizations, but these are the primary groups that certify that doctors are qualified to perform cosmetic surgery.

Personal recommendations are important. Ask friends for referrals if they have gotten a similar procedure. Get opinions from your family doctor and other doctor acquaintances. Surgical technicians and operating room nurses are an excellent source for information about a surgeon’s skill in the operating room

Remember, cosmetic surgery is a highly competitive field. Don’t be confused by groups claiming to be “the only” or “the best” because this excludes many surgeons who may be better choices for your particular issues. Ask about their fellowship training — specialized training in specific procedures. Check with your state’s medical board to verify the surgeon’s board certification, education, and license. And check whether disciplinary action has been taken against the surgeon.

Questions to Consider Before Selecting Your Cosmetic Surgeon

At this point, you may have narrowed your choices to one or two cosmetic surgeons

Tips to Pick the Right Plastic Surgeon

What is the doctor’s training and certification? Any practicing physician may call him- or herself a cosmetic surgeon or may advertise that he or she performs cosmetic procedures. Only physicians who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have received years of specialized training in plastic surgery (both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery) and have passed rigorous examinations to demonstrate their competence in the field. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons Web site has a feature to help you locate plastic surgeons who are board certified in the field.

What is the doctor’s experience with the particular procedure you are considering? Ask how many times he or she has performed the procedure and if he or she has received specialized training in the particular area. How long has the physician been performing the particular operation? Remember that not all surgeons will be experts in every area. A doctor who is an expert in breast augmentation surgeries may have little experience with nose reshaping.

At which hospital does the doctor perform the procedure? Are you comfortable with being treated in this hospital? Is the hospital accredited?

Does the doctor ask you about your reasons for having the procedure, and are you comfortable talking openly with this doctor? A good cosmetic surgeon will explain all alternatives to the procedure and will not pressure you into making a rapid decision.

Does the doctor answer all your questions clearly and fully? Your doctor should be frank about issues such as recovery time, potential side effects, risks, and realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure. While “before and after” photos make a convincing statement, be sure to ask if the photos represent typical results.

Tips for Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

A Personal Decision

Having reconstructive or cosmetic plastic surgery is a big decision. It can change your life by correcting a defect or improving the way you look and feel about yourself. Choosing a plastic surgeon is one of the most important decisions you can make. How do you find the best plastic surgeon who is right for you? Here are some important factors to keep in mind.

Get Referrals

Start by asking your primary care doctor for a referral list of plastic surgeons. You can also ask family, friends and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. As you narrow down your list, call each plastic surgeon’s office to see if he or she is accepting new patients. If so, ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the plastic surgeon.

Research the Plastic Surgeon’s Credentials

Board certification is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing a plastic surgeon. It tells you that the doctor has the necessary training, skills and experience to perform plastic surgery. Also confirm that the plastic surgeon has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the plastic surgeon’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.

Consider the Plastic Surgeon’s Experience

Experience matters when you’re considering plastic surgery. The more experience a plastic surgeon has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be. Such experience allows the plastic surgeon to prevent surgical complications and promptly recognize them if they occur. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the plastic surgeon has treated. If you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the doctor has performed and find out about complication rates—complications the doctor has encountered as well as your own risk of complications.

Consider Gender

It’s important to feel comfortable with your plastic surgeon’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. When it comes to plastic surgery, your own gender is also an important consideration. Cosmetic plastic surgery has traditionally focused on female patients. However, men also seek the benefits of plastic surgery and their needs are often different. Ask the plastic surgeon about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.

Chronic Back Pain Management

How to Manage Your Multiple Sclerosis Pain

Each person with multiple sclerosis has a different pain story. You might not have any at all. Or you could feel a tingle, stab, or spasm.

Why Does MS Hurt?

The pain can affect different places in your body. It depends on the cause:

Damage to the neurons in your brain and spine

Aches in your bones, joints, and muscles

Lots of things affect what you feel, including how long you’ve had MS, your age, and how active you are.

All-Over Pain

Your feet, legs, and arms might burn and ache. In the early stages of the disease, you might feel a tightness around your belly or chest that gets worse at night, after exercise, or with changes in temperature. It’s called the “MS hug.” It could make surprising things uncomfortable, such as the feel of your bedcovers or getting dressed.

Treatment: Your doctor will consider what kind of medicine you need. You might take a pain reliever like acetaminophen or use a skin gel with a pain reliever like lidocaine. Your doctor could prescribe medications for seizures or depression. They affect how your central nervous system reacts to pain. You can also try warm compresses or pressure gloves. They help change the pain to warmth.

On Your Face

It might feel like a terrible toothache. Or it could be a stabbing pain in your eye, cheek, or jaw. It can happen when your chew, talk, or brush your teeth. It may last from a few seconds to a few minutes. But it isn’t a problem with your teeth. Instead, it’s the result of nerve damage.

Treatment: Your doctor may prescribe anti-seizure drugs or may give you a nerve block injection. If your case is severe and medicine doesn’t help, you may need minor surgery to block those pain pathways.

In Your Neck

You may feel a brief shock when you nod your head forward. It can travel down your spine and into your arms and legs.

Treatment: The simplest, treatment is to wear a soft neck collar to hold your head steady. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-seizure drug such as gabapentin, pregabalin, or lamotrigine to reduce pain.

Causes of Chronic Pain in MS

Neuropathic pain, is caused by damage to the nerve fibers from the inflammatory process. And that may cause burning, tingling, and painful pins-and-needles sensations. Sometimes, people even perceive a light touch as painful in certain areas of the body “Some people describe a sunburned feeling. It can be different in different people,It can sometimes feel deep; it can sometimes feel on the surface.

Spasticity is a common type of stiffness in people with MS that’s caused by damage to motor nerve fibers., “It can cause muscle spasms, cramps, and an overall achiness and tightness in the body parts that are affected. And the spasms can be very painful and debilitating for people with MS.”

Finally, immobility and fatigue can cause people with MS to compensate by using other muscles in ways that cause pain. This process commonly causes back or joint pain, even if your underlying mobility issues mainly affect another area of the body.

Treatments for MS signs and symptoms

Physical therapy for multiple sclerosis

Physical therapy can build muscle strength and ease some of the symptoms of MS.

  • Physical therapy. A physical or occupational therapist can teach you stretching and strengthening exercises and show you how to use devices to make it easier to perform daily tasks.
  • Physical therapy along with the use of a mobility aid when necessary can also help manage leg weakness and other gait problems often associated with MS.
  • Muscle relaxants. You may experience painful or uncontrollable muscle stiffness or spasms, particularly in your legs. Muscle relaxants such as baclofen (Lioresal, Gablofen), tizanidine (Zanaflex) and cyclobenzaprine may help. Onabotulinumtoxin A treatment is another option in those with spasticity.
  • Medications to reduce fatigue. Amantadine (Gocovri, Osmolex), modafinil (Provigil) and methylphenidate (Ritalin) may be helpful in reducing MS-related fatigue. Some drugs used to treat depression, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, may be recommended.
  • Medication to increase walking speed. Dalfampridine (Ampyra) may help to slightly increase walking speed in some people. People with a history of seizures or kidney dysfunction should not take this medication.
  • Other medications. Medications also may be prescribed for depression, pain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and bladder or bowel control problems that are associated with MS.

Managing pain in general

People with MS can manage their pain by doing light physical activities such as swimming, water aerobics, walking, and stretching.

Making some diet and lifestyle changes can also help reduce pain. Studies suggest that there may be an association between vitamin D deficiency and muscle pain. However, more studies are necessary to determine whether taking extra vitamin D can help with MS-related pain.

Vitamin D plays an important role in muscle function and maintenance. It also produces anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce muscle pain.

People can increase vitamin D and calcium consumption by increasing their daily intake of foods high in vitamin D and calcium.

Some of these foods include:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • fish
  • vegetables

Lifestyle plays a significant role in managing MS symptoms. Some natural pain remedies listed above focus on lowering stress, which can trigger MS symptoms.

Relaxing activities such as massage and yoga specifically focus on decreasing emotional stress by releasing physical tension within the body.

Other ways to lower stress include meditation, slow breathing exercises, and counseling.

Neurontin (gabapentin) for Pain Management in Multiple Sclerosis

Neurontin (gabapentin) is an anti-epileptic drug but it is also used to help multiple sclerosis patients control pain caused by MS lesions and spasticity. Gabapentin affects chemicals and nerves that cause seizures and some types of pain.

Neurontin is to be taken orally, usually three times a day, with or without food. It might help control the condition but will not cure it. Neurontin should not be stopped when symptoms are relieved or the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sleeping disorders, nausea, pain, and sweating.

Common neurontin side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, or headache. A generic version of Neurontin has been approved by the FDA, but may not be available due to patent issues or exclusivity for uses.

Pain can have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of people with MS. A combination of medicine and positive lifestyle changes such as exercising and staying active, massages, chiropractic treatments, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture may improve the patient’s the quality of life.

Regular analgesics are typically not enough to ease pain from nerve damage in the central nervous system, so drugs that treat seizures (phenytoin, gabapentin, carbamazepine) and antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline) and some benzodiazepines (clonazepam) are commonly first choices for pain management in MS.