When planning for any type of plastic surgery procedure, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and forget about crucial facts which can impact your overall experience significantly. Before trusting a doctor, it is best to prepare a list of questions to ask during the consultation to maximize your chances of getting the best possible outcome.
Here are the 10 most important questions you need to ask your surgeon:
1. Are You a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon?
Determining whether your surgeon is a board certified plastic surgeon is the first thing you should ask your potential doctor. Make sure your doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery. These are accredited organizations ensuring your doctor is properly trained and has the experience performing the cosmetic procedure you are interested in.
2. What are My Expected Costs?
Plastic surgery prices vary wildly. Depending on the location, the doctor’s experience and the extent of the procedure, prices could jump by thousands of dollars. Take liposuction for example. The cost of this procedure varies widely from $2000 to $10,000 dollars so it is important to get an idea what your payments will be as early as possible.
3. Do You Have Before and After Photos of Your Previous Patients?
Looking at photos of previous patients not only gives you an idea of what type of results the doctor is able to provide, it also shows how experienced the doctor is with the procedure. Chances are, the more before and after pictures there are, the more experienced the doctor will be.
4. What Are My Options for Anesthesia?
Knowing what type of anesthesia you can use in the operation is often overlooked, and can have severe consequences. Depending on the procedure you are having, you have the option of using local, regional or general anesthesia. It is important for the anesthesia to be administered by a board certified anesthesiologist or a registered nurse anesthetist to minimize safety risks as much as possible. General anesthesia is perhaps the riskiest option since it can cause brain damage, as well as death, if applied incorrectly. It is essential to address this during your consultation.
5. What Complications Do I Need to Know About This Procedure?
It is common for people to view plastic surgery as a cosmetic enhancement that is much like going to the beauty salon. But make no mistake this is a surgical procedure with very real side effects. Some of the most common health risks with plastic surgery include: hematoma, nerve damage, infection, infection, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, scarring, organ damage, seroma and excessive blood loss.
6. What Should I Expect During Recovery?
Besides asking how long your recovery will be, it is important to know the details regarding what type of assistance you will need and if there will be any food restrictions during your healing period. You want to get everything you need ready and prepared before you go for the operation to ensure a smooth recovery experience.
7. Where Will the Surgery Be Performed?
Using an unaccredited facility for the operation can be unsanitary and unsafe. Make sure the doctor will be operating on you in a hospital or other accredited surgical facility to ensure you get the highest standards in service and safety.
8. Do You Have Hospital Privileges?
In case your surgery goes awry, you ideally want the same surgeon to continue treating you once you’ve been admitted to the hospital. Otherwise, you will likely be turned over to a different doctor who knows nothing about the specifics of your case.
9. When Can I Expect to See Final Results?
Depending on the procedure, your recovery time may not be the same as when you will see the final results. As an example, the swelling and bruising from a facelift procedure typically subsides within a few weeks but final results could take as long as 3 months to be visible. Always ask your doctor what your expectations should be.
10. What Happens If I’m Not Satisfied with Results?
Although most plastic surgeons require you to return for a follow-up visit to monitor your recovery, it’s important to learn more about their revision policy when you go for your first consultation. Ideally it is best to go back to the same plastic surgeon for a revision since they will have prior knowledge about your case and may even give you a reduced cost or free service depending on the practice.