Data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that cosmetic surgery is rising as nearly 18 million people underwent cosmetic operations in 2018. This figure is up by almost 250,000 since 2017. Like millions of others, if you are considering cosmetic surgery, you should know the right questions to ask before going through the process.
Here are the top 5 questions to ask a doctor about aesthetic surgery.
1. What Is the Doctor’s Experience?
The doctor you see should be board certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Any doctor with a license to practice is legally able to do cosmetic surgery procedures, but that doesn’t mean you should go to just anyone.
Certified surgeons must go through at least 12 months of training for elective aesthetic surgery.
Board-certified doctors often declare specialties and might be more experienced with one procedure than another. Before making your decision, ask practices how many operations like yours do they see in a year.
Are patients happy with their results? Can you see before and after photos of past clients?
If you’re looking for a qualified doctor in Maryland, check out double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Rottman, a Top Doc in 2021.
2. What Are the Risks vs. Benefits?
Any time you undergo a medical procedure, even if it is minor, there is risk involved. Here are some questions:
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- Is there anything about my medical history that puts me at a higher risk for complications?
- Do I need to stop any medications or supplements before the surgery temporarily?
- What are the immediate or short-term risks?
- Long-term risks?
Outcomes can be great for years after surgery, but in rare cases, such as with breast implants and BIA-ALCL, complications can occur years after.
If the surgeon is withholding, dismisses your concerns, or doesn’t tell you about the risks when you ask, this could be a sign to go elsewhere.
3. What’s the Pre-surgery Protocol?
Know what type of anesthetic you’ll receive and whether or not you’ll need someone to drive you home. Make plans with a friend or a loved one to help you at home for the first few days of recovery.
Buy supplies for wound care so you have them on hand when you’re doing post-op care at home. Anticipate taking a few days off of work to rest and heal. Drugs, alcohol, and smoking should be avoided before any surgery.
Your surgeon should supply you with a list of pre-op instructions which you must follow.
4. What Should I Expect After Surgery?
Find out whether your surgery is outpatient or if you’ll be staying overnight in a hospital room for evaluation. When will your follow-up visit be? How will you know if there are any complications (excess bleeding, infection, etc.)?
Perhaps most importantly, get the contact information for someone at the cosmetic surgery office to reach out to with questions.
5. What Are the Costs and Payment Options?
Your cosmetic surgeon should be upfront with you about the cost of everything from consultations to the procedure, follow-ups, and revisions. A surgeon has nothing to gain from hiding the truth about costs. Get the prices of everything in writing and keep copies of your receipts.
Revision policies will be different from office to office. The fees you pay may depend on how soon after surgery you request a revision or whether the complication was avoidable or not. Doctors may waive their prices, but you’ll still be responsible for other costs.
Suppose a complication arises because a patient didn’t follow the proper post-care instructions or attend follow-up appointments in a timely fashion. In that case, the doctor is justified in charging their fee.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask These Cosmetic Surgery Questions
Your questions about cosmetic surgery need to go beyond “Am I a good candidate?” There are many other details to discuss when considering this type of medical procedure, including the surgeon’s experience, risk factors, care instructions, expectations, and costs, to start. A quality surgeon will answer all of your questions and make sure you feel comfortable and safe.
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