If your friends won’t tell you that you look tired, the mirror will. That’s what happened to me. I didn’t feel tired but I looked into the mirror and didn’t like what I saw.

I placed my palms on my face and pulled back my skin; that’s what I would like to look like. It was clear that only plastic surgery would help.

Although my husband is a vascular surgeon, I preferred to find my doctor on my own. There is nothing unethical about advertising, and magazines are a good place to start your search for a surgeon.

First of all, the surgeon must be board certified. Don’t even think of going to a doctor who is not, and don’t assume that all doctors who do plastic surgery are board certified. On the contrary, only a minority are. To be quite sure, call the American Society of Plastic Surgery at 708-228-9900. Then go see the doctor of your choice. Many will not charge far the first visit, but don’t be deterred if they do.

A good physician always listens carefully to the patient. This holds true for the plastic surgeon as well. The difference is that the prospective patient doesn’t complain about an illness or pains but presents a wish list. That’s natural.

The surgeon will explain what can be done and what improvements can realistically be expected. He will show you “before” and “after” photos of patients that have come with requests similar to yours. No responsible surgeon will suggest procedures that are not likely to have satisfactory results even if doing them would result in a higher fee. After all, he wants the patient to be happier after the operation.

I cannot suggest a fool proof method of testing the plastic surgeon’s approach but I am sure any prospective patient will instinctively feel whether the suggested procedures are appropriate and the appraisal of the results realistic. It is better to accept reasonable expectations than to be plied with promises barely short of the miraculous.

In addition to explaining the results, a good plastic surgeon will explain the procedures in detail, list the risks, they are minimal with the modern techniques and antibiotics available today, tell you about inevitable swelling and bruising, expected pain that too is minimal), and how soon you can expect to reappear at work and in public. He will explain the advantages of having the procedure performed at the surgeon’s office, where most operations are performed, or in the hospital, which is indicated in special cases only.

If the proposed procedure is a face lift, make sure the surgeon is familiar with the new techniques and how often he has used them. New techniques have great advantages over conventional methods because unlike the old method, the new method does not disturb the natural relationship between skin, muscle and fat, and maintains normal blood circulation. The inconspicuous result is a completely natural, younger, not operated on, look.

Do I look half my age? No, but I do look younger and feel better about myself. Even my husband, who showed no great enthusiasm for my decision to have plastic surgery, admits it. Instead of hinting that I look tired, people now ask me whether I have lost weight.

Not that I am reluctant to admit that I’ve had successful surgery. I am even ready to share who my surgeon is. He is Dr. Mordcai Blau, a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices at 12 Greenridge Avenue in White Plains, NY, 914 428-6148. Give him a ring.