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Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

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Plastic surgery in Toronto is a competitive business that is growing and changing every day. With all of the various practitioners of cosmetic surgery in Toronto, it's important to choose your Toronto plastic surgeon carefully.

If you would like to meet with Dr. Rival, request a consultation online or call us toll-free at 1-866-229-FACE (3223). He serves patients in his three conveniently located Toronto area cosmetic surgery offices.

Board Certification

An important first step when considering plastic surgeons in Toronto is to choose one who is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in a surgical specialty. Until recently, any physician could call him or herself a surgeon. In June 2009, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario made changes that allow only Royal College certified surgeons to use this term. The 3 main specialties that generally perform cosmetic surgery in Ontario are:

  • Plastic surgeons perform plastic surgery on the entire body.
  • Oculoplastic surgeons (usually certified in ophthalmology) perform plastic surgery on the structures around the eye.
  • Facial plastic surgeons (usually certified in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery) specialize exclusively in plastic surgery of the face and neck.

All 3 specialties spend 4 to 6 years after medical school training in an accredited surgical training program. Cosmetic surgery is 1 component of the training; however the main focus is on treating disease. That is removing a growth, repairing deformity related to trauma or congenital anomaly and then reconstructing the defect. The top cosmetic surgeons in Canada have all trained in reconstructive surgery in their area of expertise.

In facial plastic surgery, in addition to Royal College certification some surgeons choose to apply to the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS). The ABFPRS is the only organization in North America that certifies surgeons exclusively in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and neck. Surgeons must first have completed an accredited residency in otolaryngology -head and neck surgery or plastic surgery, and then have performed over 100 facial plastic surgical procedures in order to qualify to take this exam. Next, they must pass a rigorous 2-day written and oral examination. Dr. Richard Rival is 1 of only 13 surgeons in Ontario who has received this certification to date.

Board certification is an important prerequisite for any surgeon you may consider. However to find the right plastic surgeon in Toronto for you, it is perhaps more important to consider what the surgeon has done after his or her training. Board certification ensures your surgeon has met a certain standard. It does not evaluate your surgeon's aesthetic sense, compassion for patient well being, and most importantly his or her ability to deliver excellent results.

Before-and-After Photos

Perhaps the most important factor in choosing your facial plastic surgeon is that he or she is experienced and can produce excellent results in the surgical procedure you are considering. This usually implies performing hundreds of cases of the particular surgery over many years. It is not unreasonable to ask your plastic surgeon how long he or she has been performing cosmetic surgery and how many of the procedures you're interested in he or she has performed.

One way of judging your surgeon's aesthetic sense and quality of results is to see examples of his or her work. Any surgeon who has extensive experience in the surgery you want should have many before-and-after photos of previous patients for you to see. This is really the only way a prospective patient knows the surgeon is capable of producing excellent results.

Of course showing good results in photos does not guarantee your result will be the same. Everyone's facial structure is different and the final result will depend on how you heal as well. Many say that the surgeon will only show his or her best results. This may be true but often these photos represent only patients who would allow their face to be shown. As you can imagine most people do not wish to have others see their face on a web site or in a plastic surgeon's photo album. Even if these photos do represent your cosmetic surgeon's best results, at least you have some evidence that he or she is capable of producing good results that fit your own aesthetic sense.

Safety, Comfort, and Communication

Above all else when considering an elective cosmetic procedure safety is the most important factor. Make sure your surgeon performs surgery in an accredited hospital or surgical facility. If your surgeon is able to do your surgery in a hospital, it means that he or she has been accredited to do this procedure. In Ontario, hospitals will only allow surgeons to perform procedures that they are trained to perform.

It is important your surgeon is someone you feel comfortable talking to. Facial plastic surgeon Dr. Rival takes pride in being compassionate and truly listening to his patients' concerns. If your surgeon does not understand your goals, then no matter how skilled, you may not end up with the result you want. Remember your surgeon is a doctor not a salesman, he or she should be able to diagnose the problem and suggest the most appropriate treatment. He or she should tell you all the risks, benefits and limitations that apply in your particular case. You should never feel pressured or forced into something you don't feel comfortable with. Overall, trust your inner feelings and if you don't feel it's a good fit then move on.

To learn about how Dr. Rival meets these qualifications and what else sets him apart, please visit our Why Choose Dr. Rival page.

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