Miami-based plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Careaga talks to INDULGE about the number one element to consider before updating your look

In today’s media-obsessed world, physical looks are on the minds of many people. A perfectly symmetrical nose, glowing wrinkle-free skin, and a smooth tummy are some of the beauty standards that have crossed beyond Hollywood’s silver screens and become what the average person would like to see reflected back at them in the mirror.

Although it is becoming the norm to go under the knife, plastic surgery has risks that even the most eager of patients need to consider.

Recent news continues to shed light on the risks of plastic surgery at centers that lack high safety standards. Dr. Daniel Careaga, founder and Double-Board Certified plastic surgeon at Careaga Plastic Surgery, a surgical center and med spa, tells patients what they should look for in a surgeon and in a facility, in order to safely navigate through the process of plastic surgery.

Knowledge is power

The award-winning, Miami-based plastic surgeon, who has performed nearly 10,000 successful procedures, says the most important part of all surgeries happens before the patient goes under. According to Dr. Careaga, choosing the right doctor and facility often comes down to four things: 1) the consultation, 2) the doctor’s accreditations, 3) before and after pictures, and 4) the surgical center itself.

Before choosing a doctor, suggests Dr. Careaga, patients should schedule consultations with several surgeons in order to make sure their vision is aligned with the doctor they choose. “The consultation gives the patient and the surgeon a chance to get to know each other, and make sure they are on the same page about the patient’s needs and desired outcomes” he says. “This is when the surgeon determines if there are any issues that can affect the surgery and ultimate results—and when the patient decides if he or she feels comfortable putting their appearance and their health in the hands of this physician.”

Photo by Chris Carter

Safety zone

Besides getting to know your surgeon, the consultation also serves as a time for patients to ask questions about the procedure as well as inquiries regarding the doctor’s and facility’s accreditations. “A doctor is not required to be board-certified, and completing the extra training and evaluation necessary to become board-certified” says Dr. Careaga. “However, selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon is the only way to be sure the doctor has the appropriate training and experience to perform a surgical procedure.”

Those looking into the possibility of plastic surgery should note the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. Although many surgeons are certified by the American

Board of Cosmetic Surgery, it’s important to keep in mind that this board is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties; plastic surgeons have more training and experience than cosmetic surgeons.

According to Dr. Careaga, a board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the minimum standard—and double board-certification in general surgery and plastic surgery indicates a physician is even more extensively trained. “Less than one-percent of plastic surgeons pursue double board-certification, and this is a solid indicator that you are in good hands,” he adds.

Face up to it

Although accreditations are a great way to gauge a doctor’s experience, before and after pictures also serve an imperative role in the process by providing an understanding of the doctor’s style and techniques. “Doctors should always have a current gallery of before and after pictures” says Dr. Paul D. Durand, co-surgeon at Careaga Plastic Surgery. “A good doctor will show you their best work; a great doctor will show you before after photos of patients with similar body or facial features, in order to offer a more realistic understanding as to what the patient’s results will look like.”

Similar to board certification, surgical facilities can voluntarily seek accreditation from several organizations. “In addition to a board-certified surgeon, an accredited in-office surgical suite or outpatient surgical center should be a top priority,” said Dr. Careaga. “This is assurance that the facility is equipped to handle any unexpected events during surgery.”

Patients should look for accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF) or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which is the organization that oversees hospital operating rooms and has the most stringent requirements for accreditation, according to Dr. Careaga.

Careaga Plastic Surgery, the state-of-the-art surgical center and med spa located in Coral Gables holds the coveted Gold Seal from JCAHO.

To find out more about (CPS), call (305) 910-2847, or visit