8 Questions To Ask Your Cosmetic Surgeon
When you decide to have cosmetic surgery, your very first step should be to find the perfect surgeon. You want to select someone who specializes in performing the procedure you’re interested in, and you want to ensure that your surgeon is as experienced and reputable as possible. To help guide you through the decision making process—which should include interviews and consultations with several surgeons—here are ten questions you should ask.
1. Are you board certified?
We hear this a lot—board certified plastic surgeon—but what does this mean? And, is it really important? The answer is: absolutely. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and in fact, it’s are the only organization they recognize to certify plastic surgeons. Be sure your surgeon is certified and by the ABPS.
2. How long have you practiced?
This should be your second question simply because experience leads to expertise. This is not to say that newly certified surgeons are inferior; many will have training in the latest procedures and technologies. However, a seasoned surgeon will have a successful track record on his or her side. Plus, a surgeon with more experience is likely to know best how to handle problems should they arise during your procedure.
3. How much of your work comes from patient referrals? And, do you have a solid record of satisfied patients?
Ask to see reviews; before and after photographs; testimonials from past patients; and inquire about the origins of his or her patients. If most are coming from positive word of mouth, that’s a good indicator that he or she is a solid surgeon.
4. Have you ever worked in another state?
It’s possible your surgeon received his or her license in a state other than yours. Be sure your doctor meets all necessary state requirements.
5. Who will conduct my consultation and perform my surgery?
It isn’t uncommon, especially in larger practices, for nurses or plastic surgery coordinators to perform your consultation. It’s possible that an assistant will also help with the surgery, closing incisions, for example. Although trained to do so, many people prefer for their surgeon to be the sole provider of examinations and operations.
6. Have you ever been involved in or settled a negligence or medical malpractice suit?
If the answer is yes, first ask for an explanation. However, there are many scrupulous, skilled and experienced surgeons who never experience this throughout their entire careers. Lean more toward these when looking for a plastic surgeon.
7. Tell me about your re-operation rate.
It’s important to know that the results achieved through most cosmetic operations don’t last forever. Many women who have breast augmentation, for example, must revisit the procedure to maintain appearances as early as five years post-surgery. It is possible for results to last a lifetime, but it isn’t too common. Surgeons with a lower re-operation rate usually perform more thorough, sound and advanced operations.
8. What does your post-operative recovery plan look like?
The healing process is one of the most difficult steps involved with cosmetic surgery, and the plan will differ depending on several factors: your procedure, your body, your surgeon, your medications. Ask what prescriptions you will be given; inquire about the duration of recovery and ask for tips to expedite it; ensure you know exactly what to expect following your surgery in order to heal optimally.
For many people, a cosmetic surgery is both an exciting and daunting prospect. Be open with your plastic surgeon (or potential plastic surgeon). Ask questions; take notes; talk candidly about complications, costs and what reasonable expectations look like. The experience will go more smoothly and successfully if you are educated, comfortable and confident with your choice of surgeons.