You’ve decided to get cosmetic surgery – this is probably an exciting time for you. In our opinion, the most successful outcomes begin with a detailed consultation – the first consultation you have with your cosmetic plastic surgeon.
Every day, patients come into our office for initial consultations and to us, the best consultations start with a patient who asks lots of questions. If you’re prepared and have all of your questions handy, you’ll get the most out of your consultation. Not only that, but the more information you have when you walk out of your consultation, the more satisfied you’ll be with the choices that you end up making.
While there’s no such thing as a “wrong question,” there are definitely some critical questions that you should ask during your consultation with a potential plastic surgeon. The answers to these questions will help you be confident that when you choose a particular surgeon, you’re in capable hands.
1. Is the surgeon board-certified in plastic surgery?
When you learn that a surgeon is board-certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery, you confirm that he or she has completed extensive written, oral and clinical certification in plastic and reconstructive surgery. In the United States, the two national medical committees that offer approved training programs in plastic and reconstructive surgery, include: the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). To learn more about board-certification, click here.
2. How much experience do you have performing the procedure I want?
You should ask this because you want to make sure the surgeon has a lot of experience performing the procedure you’re considering. There is a BIG difference between a new surgeon who’s performed 100 procedures, versus a surgeon who’s performed the same procedure more than 1,000 times. Like anything in this world, skill is gained through repetition and hours and hours of experience. Ask the doctor to show you their before and after photos for the procedure that you’re interested in.
3. What type of anesthesia is involved?
Surgery is a serious matter and you should be well-informed before you make any decisions. The type of anesthesia and how it will be provided are important considerations. When you are clear on your anesthesia options, you can physically and mentally prepare for a safe procedure.
The type of anesthesia depends on the type of procedure, as well as the patient’s individual needs. The goal of anesthesia choice it to keep the patient comfortable and safe and help the surgeon perform the surgery without distractions. Most minor procedures may be performed under local anesthesia or light sedation. More extensive procedures or procedures on patients who are more anxious or prefer not to be aware of the procedure may need more deeper sedation or general anesthesia.
4. What is the recovery like?
Before you schedule a surgery, you need to know all about the recovery – how long it is, what you can and cannot do, when can you return to work, and how much it will limit your daily activities. For example, if you want to have a Mommy Makeover but you are only able to take three days off work, you’re not going to have enough time to recover. When you have insufficient time (and help from friends or family) to recover, it places your health, safety, and results at risk.
You must ask how long you’ll need to take off work, how much help you’ll need with childcare, and how long before you can return to your normal exercise routine. Depending on the procedure, you could be “out of commission” for days, if not weeks.