Over the course of their lives, most people consider having corrective surgery on visible blemishes on the body which they were either born with or have developed over time. Of course, then the “best cosmetic surgeon” or the greatest “beauty doc” is the one who should perform the surgery – namely the one who is most qualified to do so. After all, the procedure should be a success and not end in disappointment. That is entirely understandable. Therefore, you should gather precise information before deciding to have the procedure.
To start with: Any doctor can call themselves a “cosmetic surgeon”. The term “cosmetic surgery” is not protected and therefore any doctor – even psychiatrists – can refer to themselves as “cosmetic surgeons”. Some even make public appearances as “beauty surgeons”!
However, the term “plastic surgeon” or “specialist in plastic and aesthetic surgery” is protected. Only those who have earned a medical degree, completed a residency in plastic surgery – which generally lasts six years – and subsequently successfully completed an examination conducted by the medical association (Ärztekammer) are allowed to use the title of “plastic surgeon”. Then you are officially a plastic surgeon. This means you have a certain amount of experience and knowledge in the field of reconstruction as well as aesthetic surgery. Four hospitals in Munich offer a residency program for plastic surgeons.
Moreover, the experience of plastic surgeons is very important: How long have they been practicing? What are they specialized in? How many procedures have they already performed? In the field of aesthetic surgery (cosmetic surgery) this includes topics such as breast enlargement, breast lift, nose corrections, facelifts, liposuction, eyelid corrections (e.g. blepharochalasis), etc. Of course nose corrections can also be reconstructive, for example a hooknose following an accident, breast reduction to reduce the weight thereof or an upper eyelid lift if the field of vision is restricted. Intimate surgery, such as vaginal tightening or labia reduction, is generally regarded as belonging to the medically indicated plastic surgery field due to a functional impairment.
Recognizing additional aspects regarding the experience or expertise of plastic surgeons in their specialized fields includes questioning whether they have conducted scientific research on their topics. Have they researched the topic, held lectures, published articles or even books? Which specialist societies (e.g. Deutsche Gesellschaft der Plastischen, Rekonstruktiven und Ästhetischen Chirurgen – German Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) have they joined and finally what kind of references do they have? You can also view these by checking online reviews, even though many of the sites are easily manipulated. Make sure you are provided with before and after pictures. Please note that displaying these pictures online is not permitted in Germany, but they can be viewed during your personal consultation.
Ultimately, it is your decision. If you have a good feeling and have looked into the above-mentioned topics, then you have done everything in your power and can trust your doctor in good conscience.
Perhaps we have even been included on your shortlist and we would look forward to welcoming you in our practice for plastic surgery located in the heart of Munich!
Kind regards, Prof. Dr. Gress