Friday, November 6, 2015

Choosing a female plastic surgeon or a male plastic surgeon

I have always found it interesting why some women prefer a female plastic surgeon over a male plastic surgeon (or visa versa), and the reasons why.  When it comes to the gynecologist, I get it—there are just some things a woman may not feel comfortable sharing with a male doctor.  But what about a plastic surgeon?  Does it make a difference if it is a tummy tuck, breast augmentation or a facelift?

Let’s start with breasts. 

Do women have a preference?  I can honestly say in my experience that some of the women who come to me say they afraid that they will be too large and look “too fake” if they go to a male plastic surgeon. They tell me that they think a woman understand their desires better.  Of course, that isn’t necessarily the case. There are many male plastic surgeons who won’t make excessively large breasts and are good listeners.  There isn’t any published data from the manufacturers about the average size breast implants ordered from male plastic surgeons compared to a female plastic surgeon, but it might be a fascinating statistic.   I had a patient in my office a few weeks ago for a consult who told me that her friend tried to convince her to go to one of my male colleagues “because he makes really big boobs”.  As a trained plastic surgeon, I am here to listen to my patients and their desires, hopefully meet their expectations, advise them about what implants will fit their body, and what the long term effects will be with a particular size.  It shouldn’t matter if the surgeon is a male or female.

What about tummy tucks or facelifts?
I haven’t heard anything different from any of my patients about a preference when it comes to these procedures. Some patients might think a woman surgeon will understand better, but again, as a physician, we are all trained to listen and use our training to give the best advice to our patients and make a surgical plan.  With that being said, there is excellent published data to show that female doctors spend significantly more time with their patients, and perhaps that makes a difference.  Everyone has a personal bias about what constitutes “beauty”, and it would be na├»ve to say that biases don’t influence our surgical plan. 

So does it make a difference seeing a female plastic surgeon?

The answer is “that depends”.  Yes, I have my personal biases, and I tell my patients what my biases are so that they can make an informed decision.  Some of my perceptions of what makes a person beautiful are just simply my own preferences, and some of my preferences may be because I am a woman.  

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