As more and more women seek vaginal rejuvenation surgeries, the field is attracting an increasing number of medical professionals. However, not all of these medical professionals bring the same level of expertise to the table. Many surgeons in other fields can take weekend courses to become certified in a wide range of cosmetic procedures, including vaginal rejuvenation. However, a weekend course is not the same as years of training and practical expertise.
If you’re considering a vaginoplasty, labiaplasty, or similar procedure, it’s vital that you take the time to find the right surgeon. A skilled doctor will reduce your risk of complications and help you achieve the best results. But how can you know who is qualified and who just seems qualified?
Understanding Board Certification
Many people will tell you to find a board-certified surgeon. But what does that mean? What board should your vaginal rejuvenation surgeon be a member of?
The American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons (ABCS) certifies cosmetic surgeons based on a variety of criteria, including the completion of a 1-2 year fellowship, at least 300 procedures, and their level of knowledge. The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASPS) has similarly high standards. However, the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) doesn’t currently recognize the ABCS or the ASPS. In fact, they don’t certify cosmetic surgeons at all.
Many vaginal rejuvenation surgeons who are certified through the ABMS for other specialties can take a weekend course and call themselves a cosmetic surgeon without getting an ABCS or ASPS membership. In other words, it doesn’t matter how many boards your surgeon belongs to. Pay attention to which boards they belong to.
For vaginal rejuvenation, in particular, look for surgeons who are certified with the ABMS, and an additional cosmetic surgery board like the ABCS or ASPS. You should also look for a surgeon certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). This ensures that your surgeon has a thorough understanding of the anatomy involved for your specific needs.
Tips for Choosing a Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgeon
Of course, there’s more to choosing a vaginal rejuvenation surgeonthan just making sure they are certified by the correct medical boards. You want to find a surgeon with practical experience in the type of surgery you want performed and who understands your needs. Consider the following when researching surgeons:
- Check their training and credentials – In addition to board certification, find out what kind of training the surgeon has. Do they have experience both as a plastic surgeon and a gynecologist? How long have they been practicing medicine and/or performing vaginal rejuvenations?
- Look into their facility – Not all facilities are created equal. Make sure that your surgeon operates at an accredited facility. Find out where the surgery will be performed. If it isn’t performed at a hospital, then make sure your surgeon has privileges at a nearby hospital.
- Find someone who specializes in vaginal rejuvenations – Just because a surgeon can technically perform a vaginal rejuvenation, that doesn’t mean they are skilled in doing so. Find a physician with extensive experience performing exactly the type of surgery you’re looking for. That will guarantee you the best possible results.
- Look to how active they are in their field – Prominent and practiced surgeons seek to stay on top of the best practices and cutting-edge science in their fields. Find out if your prospective surgeon speaks at any conferences, is published in any journals, or has administered any studies.
- Check out reviews – Do they have any testimonials on their website? What about reviews on sites like RealSelf and Zwivel that help pair patients with doctors?
- Look at photos – Many surgeons will have before and after photos on their website, often accompanied by testimonials.
Make the Most of Your Consultation
Just because your prospective vaginal rejuvenation surgeon looks good on paper, that doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you. Always meet with a surgeon before committing. Not only will you be able to work out the details of your procedure, but you’ll also be able to get a feel for their attentiveness, bedside manner, and more. When you go in for your consultation, pay attention to the following:
- Facetime – How accessible is your surgeon? If you find that you’re spending more time in the consultation talking to nurses of assistants and less time with the actual person who will be performing the surgery, then consider it a red flag. You want to make sure that the person in charge of your well-being is available for questions, concerns, and more.
- Patience – Avoid surgeons who are trying to upsell you. If the surgeon tries to convince you to take on additional unnecessary procedures or seems to be pressuring you into making a decision, then keep shopping. You want a surgeon who will guide you toward the right surgery, not one that’s eager to make a buck.
- Nuance – There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cosmetic surgery. During your consultation, your prospective surgeon should listen to your needs and help you design a surgery that suits your unique situation. This is the best way to ensure a positive outcome.
- Facility – Get a feel for the office. Is it clean and tidy? Does it seem professional and inviting? This is especially important if the surgeon runs the office.
- Staff – Along these same lines, look to the office staff. Are they courteous? Helpful? Do they know their stuff? The facility’s level of customer service could speak to how responsive and attentive they’ll be during the whole experience.
Factoring Cost into Your Decision Making
Let’s address the elephant in the room. When shopping around for just about anything, one of your major considerations will be the cost of vaginal surgery. This is especially understandable when it comes to cosmetic surgery, considering how expensive it can be and the fact that insurance is unlikely to cover it. However, it’s important that you don’t base your decision solely on cost.
You’ve likely heard the familiar adage “you get what you pay for.” This couldn’t be more true when it comes to cosmetic surgery. The cheapest cosmetic surgeons are probably cheaper for a reason. They may be less experienced, have poorer facilities, or perform rush jobs so they can cram more in and undercut other surgeons with their prices.
On the other hand, you also want to avoid “celebrity” doctors that charge ridiculously high prices for their services. These doctors are also less likely to have your best interests at heart. They are usually just interested in cashing in and moving on.
At the end of the day, remember that this is not a simple procedure; it’s a journey. There may be multiple consultations before and multiple follow-ups after your procedure. You’ll likely be calling or emailing with questions and concerns. Therefore, you’re not just looking for someone to perform a one-time surgery. You’re looking for someone to share in the journey with you – someone you like and trust.