It’s important to do due diligence when selecting an aesthetic medical professional, but what does that actually mean? Dr. Sam Assassa, world-renowned non-invasive and aesthetic cosmetic surgery specialist and founder of The American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery, offers this in-depth advice for anyone in the search or validation process.
What type of due diligence should be done prior to selecting an aesthetic medical professional?
There are a few key steps that everyone considering aesthetic medical care should be aware of and be diligent with. It’s important to be an educated consumer with anything and especially when it comes to your body, face and skin.
If I had to create an easy-to-remember list of the most important things you should do before selecting a medical professional, it would be the following:
- Verify the professional’s credentials. You can find these a few ways, and I always recommend validating the information in at least two different ways: verbal or visual confirmation and a third-party validated source. Does the office staff mention the schooling and credentials? Are there plaques with schools mentioned on the walls of the office? Then, search the medical professional online to look for reviews and other validation. One of the reasons I created The American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery (AAAMS) was to create a source of truth where aesthetic medical professionals can experience the best training and, more importantly, be vetted and verified by some of the best professionals in the country.
- Explore how experienced and artistic they are. Bring a list of questions with you to your first consultation (and you should always have a consultation before anyone performs any sort of procedure or service). Ask the medical professional what is unique, different and/or areas of concern on you specifically. Focus on your face and body to see how they can adapt their expertise.
- Check their results. It is important to see what they are capable of and have done in the past. Of importance, when viewing before and after photos, confirm these are their patients and this is their specific work (versus someone else in the office or practice).
- Probe online reviews. We live in an age where people can review any company or business. It is especially important for services which are medical in nature to know that you are literally in the right hands. Many times people select a medical professional based on word-of-mouth referrals and that is a good source of professional validation. I suggest always taking it a step further and researching online review sites, like Yelp or Facebook Review to what specific words patients use to describe them. Do they use words, like: passionate, personable, reasonable fee, etc…? These may be important clues as to how they run their practice and treat their patients. It’s important to know what is essential to you when looking for an aesthetic medical professional.
Remember, aesthetics is EVERYTHING and noticing attention to that detail on their website, social posts and in the very team they work with matters. Trust your gut — if something doesn’t feel right, ask more questions, push back or look for a different professional to work with.
How can someone “know” if this is a person that should be doing injections? Are there accreditations to look for?
Aesthetics is combining science with art and training performed by an accredited association is of vital importance. You wouldn’t trust a teacher who didn’t have the correct accreditations or training, nor should you trust someone in the medical field who doesn’t have proper training.
It’s important to educate potential patients and customers about what proper training looks like and what an accredited association is.
The rapid demand and acceptance of the public for aesthetic medical services such as dermatology and cosmetic surgery substantiate the importance and the need to standardize aesthetic surgery training. Many untrained practitioners are performing cosmetic surgery procedures without acquiring proper surgery training, knowledge, depth and level of experience that this discipline deserves. The American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery (AAAMS) is committed to training medical professionals on the art of aesthetic medicine and surgery through a practical, clear-cut approach with safety in mind. Comprehensive aesthetic certification programs include medical aesthetics, aesthetic surgery and aesthetic practice management.
In addition to validation, simply look at their work. Do you know someone who has used this individual? You should look at any portfolio opportunities and identify impressive artistry versus “ballooned” faces or lips.
What types of questions should you ask prior to undergoing any sort of procedure?
1. How long have you been practicing?
2. How many cases, like the one I’m seeking, have you performed?
3. Benefit vs risks
4. What is the downtime (bruising, swelling, healing time)
5. Pre and post instructions and restrictions
6. What are your fees?
7. If complications occur how do you handle it?
8. What is your refund policy?
Are there any “red flags” to be aware of when doing research?
Here is a quick and easy list to reference to be aware of red flags. Keep these as your “go tos” when researching:
- Medical Board complaints
- High number of legit and consistent online negative reviews
- Staff, bad phone manner ( rude, lack of knowledge about the practice services and the credentials of the practitioner)
- If they never return a call. Statistics show that people whose calls aren’t returned will NOT call back.
- Low fees aren’t always in an aesthetic medical professional’s best interest. When fees are “too low,” it may reflect quantity versus quality and that isn’t a good thing.
What is the AAAMS and why is it important to the industry?
Since 2006, The AAAMS (AAAMS) has been committed to training physicians, nurses and other allied practitioners in the art of aesthetics and non-invasive cosmetic surgery through a practical, clear-cut approach with safety in mind.
AAAMS was developed as a specialty board that can set the standards for aesthetic and cosmetic surgery training. It serves as a leading accredited association dedicated to raising the overall level of knowledge, skills, and standards in the field of aesthetic medicine and cosmetic surgery worldwide. AAAMS provides the most comprehensive hybrid learning environment by combining online learning with supervised hands-on training by highly qualified renowned educators to drive global learning outcomes. The goal of the association is to ensure uniform excellence in the care of patients
What are your personal philosophies related to aesthetic medicine (things you wish every person in your field followed)?
I have very strong thoughts on this and have spent years being able to outline and communicate these. It is essential to our field and to the health and safety of all patients. It is essential to both the success of our industry and the safety of all patients, that we all follow the Aesthetic Practitioner Qualifications. I prioritize and recommend the following — and these are also key to AAAMS:
- Possess Thorough knowledge of facial anatomy and aging process.
- Excellent clinical skills to properly analyze, identify, and correct the anatomical modifications that occur during facial aging. Look at the face as a whole unit and do not micromanage the face
- Balance and harmony more important than symmetry
- Proficiency and Artistic talents in applying a global and integrated approach called “The 4R’s of Facial Rejuvenation” with safety in mind.
- Passion, Patience, Compassion, Sense Of Beauty, Knowledge And High Energy:
- Passion: Love And Enjoy What You Do
- Compassion: Share The Burden Of Someone Else. Minimize Pain And Feel For The Patient.
- High Energy: Calm And Peace In Your Voice And Action
What is your definition of true beauty?
This is easy for me to anwer, “Beauty is all about Balance and harmony. ”
I like the following quotes that define beauty:
“Beauty is worse than wine, it intoxicates both the holder and beholder.” -Immerman
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” -Audrey Hepburn