The search for the right plastic surgeon is not a process you should rush. Cosmetic surgery can be life-changing but it’s also a serious procedure, which means you’re going to have a few questions – and you should.
If this is the first time you’re considering cosmetic surgery, it’s essential that you prepare for your first consultation. As much as your consultation should be about discussing your concerns and your surgery options, this is also the ideal time to ask your surgeon some key questions.
Questions to Ask During Your First Plastic Surgery Consult
What are your qualifications?
The first thing you want to hear your surgeon say is that they’re board certified. Your surgeon should always be a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Members of ASPS go through years of training to receive their certification, so you can be sure they are qualified enough to help you achieve your results, safely.
What is your experience with this procedure?
Not every plastic surgeon has experience with the procedure you have in mind. Even if they do, you still want a surgeon to have enough experience with the procedure you have in mind before you go under the knife. Patients think they’re being rude by asking how many times a surgeon has performed a specific procedure but you have every right to ask.
Where will my surgery be performed?
Your procedure should only ever be performed in an accredited facility. Whether this is the clinic’s operating rooms or a hospital, find out more about where your surgeon operates. The complexity of your procedure will determine where it’s performed. You can also ask what measures are put in place for your health and safety during surgery.
Who will be assisting you?
Next, find out more about who forms part of your surgeon’s surgical team. In other words, who will be assisting him during his procedure – this includes the anaesthetist. It’s important to remember that if medical students or residents will be assisting your surgeon, it doesn’t indicate your care will be substandard.
What anaesthesia will be used?
Along with understanding the risks associated with anaesthesia, you should also find out more about the type of anaesthesia that will be used for your surgery. One of the reasons for this is that general anaesthesia requires a trained specialist and you will need someone to drive you home after surgery too due to the effects.
Can I see some photos of past procedures?
Photos can give you a good idea of what you can expect after your procedure. Your results will never be identical to another patient but before and after photos will prove your surgeon has the necessary experience. Look for results that are consistent and natural – this will indicate you can trust your surgeon.
What risks should I be aware of?
Every type of surgery carries some degree of risk but it helps to know more about the risks associated with your specific procedure. Swelling, bruising and redness are some of the common risks associated with most types of surgery but sometimes, there are risks that are unique to your surgery that you should know about. You can also ask your surgeon how many complications they’ve had with your particular procedure. Overall, asking about risks and complications is not designed to scare you, it’s to help you feel more prepared and informed.
Would it be possible to contact a few past patients?
Your surgeon may not be able to provide you with the names of past patients, but you can still ask for some references. Many former patients are more than willing to speak to people who are considering a similar procedure. Asking for referrals is a way to be proactive about your healthcare.
What will this procedure cost?
Lastly, ask for a breakdown of the fees associated with your procedure. It’s important to understand what your surgery will cost and how much of it might be covered by insurance. A detailed breakdown is better because it eliminates surprise costs later on.
Planning Your Surgical Procedure
It’s normal to feel reluctant to ask all these questions for the fear of offending a surgeon. However, you are responsible for your health and wellbeing and have every right to have all the information you need. The right surgeon won’t hesitate or feel irritated by the questions you’re asking. A surgeon who acts defensively or can’t answer all of your questions probably isn’t the right fit for you.
If at any point you feel unsure about your surgeon’s qualifications or capabilities, it’s best to get a second opinion. You should always feel comfortable with your surgeon prior to any surgical procedure. They will be guiding you through a life-changing process, after all.