Plastic surgery is a specialty which deals with the correction of problems in appearance. When these problems are caused by trauma, burns, disease, or birth defects, the procedures are generally known as reconstructive surgery. Because a plastic or reconstructive surgeon may be called upon to remold nearly any external part of the body, he or she should be highly educated. One possible indicator of excellence is when a doctor is a 'diplomate' (DIP-loe-mat) of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Such a board-certified physician has undergone thorough training in plastic surgery and close scrutiny by his or her peers. If possible, try to locate a doctor who has additional training or special experience in the procedure you need. For example, some surgeons may sub-specialize in breast surgery or procedures to repair a cleft palate (PAL-et). Always check a doctor's credentials. Just because an M.D. claims to be a specialist doesn't necessarily mean he or she has training in a particular area. It's also important to see photos of the surgeon's work. Finally, evaluate how you feel after meeting with the doctor. Was he or she able to answer all your questions satisfactorily? You should come away from the consultation feeling well-informed and confident in the doctor's abilities.
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