If you have already weighed the pros and cons and decided you really want to have labiaplasty, you are now faced with an even bigger choice: which surgeon to choose. As with any type of cosmetic surgery, the aesthetic results of the procedure literally rest in the hands of the surgeon. This is especially important to keep in mind when it comes to labiaplasty because tissue is being cut off, meaning it is next to impossible to replace. If too much tissue is removed, you can be left with an abnormally small labia (or in extreme cases, no labia at all) and have few options to reverse the procedure. Therefore, it is up to you to do your research and choose a surgeon you can trust. Here are a few simple things you can do:
- Make sure the surgeon is licensed in your state and board certified. Not all boards are created equal, though. The American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) oversees sub-specialty boards, and only 24 out of 100 boards related to plastic surgery have met their strict criteria. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is considered to be the leading body in this category. You can verify potential surgeon’s certifications by calling 1-866-ASK-ABMS (1-866-275-2267) or visiting www.abms.org/WC/login.aspx.
- Find out how many years of experience the surgeon has and how many procedures he/she does on a regular basis. Ideally you are looking for a surgeon who does a labiaplasty at least once a week (4-5 per month). A surgeon does not have to take special courses or even have a specific license to perform the procedure. Therefore, the more experience the surgeon has, the better at it he/she should be.
- Ask to see examples of his/her work. Viewing before and after photos of recent operations will not only help you have a realistic idea of the results you can expect from the procedure but will also allow you to evaluate the surgeon’s skills.
- Discover if there have been any malpractice lawsuits filed against him/her. Many state licensing boards have made information like this available online. For a list of links, visit www.floridamalpractice.com/linksotherstatebds.htm. You may have to go to the courthouse in the county in which the surgeon practices or the Superior Court Office in order to get this information. Remember, though, there are great surgeons who have been sued, just like there are horrible surgeons who have not been sued – or at least not yet.