STEP 2: Schedule appointments
- Is the doctor certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- What is the doctor’s area of expertise?
- How much is the initial visit?
- Can I have a surgical estimate for the total price? (Be sure this includes surgery fee, operating room, anesthesiologist, etc.)
STEP 3: The Consultation
After you’ve found several doctors who are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, you’ll want to set up appointments to determine which plastic surgeon you’re most comfortable with. Be very specific about what you want changed and how. Look for confident but realistic answers.
- What are my choices in techniques and procedures?
- What usually happens during the surgery? How long does the procedure last?
- Where will the incisions be made?
- How often do you perform these procedures?
- What type of anesthesia is used? If general anesthesia is to be used, who will be my anesthesiologist? Are they certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) or the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)? What are the side effects of the sedation? (The three types of anesthesia used are general, sedation and local. With general anesthesia you are in a deep sleep, with sedation anesthesia you are awake but relaxed and drowsy, and with local anesthesia you are mentally alert but the area being worked on is numbed).
- Where will the procedure take place? (If in the doctor’s office, ask to see the surgical room)
- If at the doctor’s office, is the surgery center affiliated with a hospital or licensed by the state or accredited? (See Check Credentials).
- How much pain can I expect after surgery?
- What are the risks involved with this procedure? What are the possible complications after surgery? How common are these complications? Have you ever had a patient with these complications? How was it handled?
- Can I speak with your previous patients? (While doctors want to respect the privacy of their patients, they should be able to provide some contacts. You will only be referred to patients with a good result, but it can be helpful.)
- Can I see before and after pictures of your other patients? (Request pictures of patients who have had the same procedure as you are planning. You may only be shown their best results. This is still informative, as you’ll get an idea of what your doctor’s best work is).
- How long is the recovery period? How will it be before I will be able to: be seen in public, return to work, resume exercise, etc.?
- How long does it take to see the full effect of my surgery?
- How long will my results last?
- When can I schedule surgery?
- How involved are you after surgery?
- What are the costs and payment terms? What fees will I be charged by other facilities (hospital or facility fee, anesthesiologist, medical tests, etc.)? Are there extra fees for before and after pictures?
- What happens if the results don’t match my expectations? Will I be charged for any revisions? How likely is it that I will need another surgery? Are only surgical fees waived or are all fees waived (operating room, anesthesia, etc)? Revisions due to deformity or asymmetry done in the first year are commonly free of charge; ask about additional fees for anesthesia, hospital stay, etc. According to The Smart Woman’s Guide to Plastic Surgery, “Following rhinoplasty or liposuction, 15-20% of patients seek revision. Following face-lift or eyelid surgery, revision is sought by fewer than 2%…many deformities self-correct as they mature.”
- What type of medication (antibiotics/pain relievers) will I be on after surgery? For how long? What are possible side effects, reactions, and complications of the drugs?
Consider finding another surgeon if:
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- the plastic surgeon tries to convince you to have a procedure that isn’t related to the area or problem you’ve come to him for
- the plastic surgeon dismisses the risks involved in surgery or isn’t open about possible complications
- the doctor guarantees results
- the doctor doesn’t recommend a preliminary physical examination
- the doctor refuses to show before-and-after pictures of other patients
- you do not feel you can ask questions freely
- you are not treated courteously or respectfully
- the doctor is willing to submit fraudulent paperwork to your insurance company
- you do not feel comfortable with the staff
View Before and After Photos