The very first thing a patient needs to be certain of when considering plastic surgery is whether they not only want it but need it. Do they believe they can be happy if they continue to live with what they believe is a grievous physical flaw? Like all surgeries, cosmetic surgery comes with risks, and complications may follow. Whether you’re going under the knife for hidradenitis suppurativa treatment or for a tummy tuck, there’s a small chance that there could be complications.
Another thing to consider is cost. Cosmetic surgeries are expensive. Health insurance usually doesn’t pay for cosmetic surgery. Does the patient have the money? If not, can they get the money without putting themselves too heavily in debt? Do they have the time to recover from the surgery? Some surgeries can take as long as a year before the patient not only sees the improvement in their looks but feels “normal.” Some surgeries require weeks of downtime. Can the patient afford that down time?
The patient must also be sure that they are undergoing the surgery for themselves. It is not enough to have cosmetic surgery to save a failing marriage, get a job or look like a twin of a favorite celebrity.
The person who wants cosmetic surgery has the luxury of shopping around for just the right surgeon. Sometimes, the patient’s general physician can recommend a good plastic surgeon. They can also find a plastic surgeon in their area by contacting the specialty board such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery and arranging a consultation.
During the consultation, the surgeon must be caring, compassionate, knowledgeable and forthright. They should let the patient know what can and can be done via the surgery they seek and lay out the risks and possible complications of the surgery. They should be willing to discuss payment or financing options with the patient.
The patient should have a list of questions for the doctor. It’s best that these questions are written down so that they’re not forgotten. The doctor should be eager and able to answer the questions put to them by the patient. Questions include:
- Is the surgeon board certified?
A good plastic surgeon doesn’t necessarily have to be board certified, but a board certified doctor has passed a written exam and thus is at least somewhat knowledgeable about their chosen field.
- How long has the surgeon been performing the surgery the patient is interested in?
The longer the better is a good answer, though doctors who have just started to practice should not be automatically discounted. Since they have more recent training, they might be more aware of cutting-edge techniques.
- Does the surgeon have hospital admitting privileges for the patient’s surgery?
Hospital privileges allow the doctor to admit the patient to a hospital. The patient should ask for a list of the hospitals their doctor has admitting privileges at.
- Where will the operation be performed?
Some cosmetic surgeries are done in a hospital while others are done in a clinic or even the doctor’s office.
- Is there anything the patient must do before the surgery?
There is usually a long list of what the patient must do before the surgery such as giving up smoking or discontinuing certain drugs. The doctor will go into detail about each patient’s needs.
- What happens during the surgery?
Since the same types of surgeries can have different techniques, it is important for the patient and doctor to discuss this. For example, there are several types of abdominoplasty and a few ways to perform breast implant surgery.
- What should the patient expect during their recovery?
Some surgeries require more healing time than others, and patients need to be aways of their limitations in the upcoming weeks and months.
by: Kevin Faber