Cosmetic surgery has come a long way over the years, with procedures becoming safer, more sophisticated, and more versatile. If you’ve decided to get a cosmetic procedure, finding the right surgeon is one of the most important aspects of your cosmetic surgery journey. A successful procedure can lead to a more confident self-image, but the wrong outcome could mean unnecessary stress, expenses, and additional time on your part.
Every successful cosmetic surgery starts with a one-on-one consultation with the cosmetic surgeon. You want to know as much as possible about the surgeon’s credentials, skills, and experience, as well as what you should expect before and after the procedure. Do not leave your consultation until you’ve asked the following questions and gotten satisfactory answers.
Are you board-certified?
The U.S. government does not have any specific requirements for training or expertise in cosmetic surgery. In fact, any licensed physician can legally perform cosmetic surgery. To ensure your procedure will be performed by an expert in a safe setting, you want to choose a surgeon certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS).
A board-certified surgeon has finished accredited education and training and is committed to continuing education. Also, they can only work in fully accredited, state-licensed surgical facilities.
How much experience do you have with this procedure?
Different cosmetic procedures require different training and expertise. You can imagine how operating on breasts is different from operating on a nose with cartilage, bone, and breathing passage. When a cosmetic surgeon has specialized in certain procedures, it could mean that they’ve done it hundreds of times and are skilled in the latest surgery techniques.
A good cosmetic surgeon is willing to share before and after photos of their work as well as patient testimonials. These will give you an idea of their aesthetic style and quality of work.
What will my recovery be like?
The recovery process is as important as the surgical procedure itself. Recovery could take weeks or months, depending on the type of procedure you have. Asking this question allows you to make plans before your surgery. You want to avoid a situation where you think you’re going to return to your normal activities within a week, only to realize you’ll have a full month of downtime.
Ask your cosmetic surgeon how much time you’ll need to take off work, exercise, or childcare, and if you might require some help around the house. You’ll also want to know about physical restrictions, how much pain you can expect after the procedure, and what medications you’ll need to take.
What type of anesthesia will you use?
Anesthesia is an important part of cosmetic surgery. The anesthesiologist should be as experienced and skilled at their work as your surgeon is. That said, be sure to ask about the type of anesthesia recommended for your procedure (local, regional, general, or IV sedation), the risks and benefits of this type of anesthesia, and whether you have a choice on the type of anesthesia administered.
What are the risks?
All types of surgery involve some level of potential risks and complications. Bruising, swelling, and discomfort are some of the common side effects, and patients must be informed of them. Although rare, other complications may occur. This may include infection and bleeding. Your cosmetic surgeon should educate you as to the risks associated with your specific procedure.
How much will it cost?
Since cosmetic surgery is typically considered elective by insurance companies, you’ll likely have to take care of all fees out of pocket. There is a lot more to the total price of your surgical procedure than just the surgeon’s fee. There are operating room fees, lab fees, anesthesia fees, and other materials used, such as breast implants. The total price differs from one patient to another, depending on specific goals and needs.
Be sure to ask for a detailed, itemized fee quote to help you understand what you’re paying for and avoid any ugly surprises when it’s all said and done.
The Bottom Line
It’s normal to feel intimidated by the idea of questioning your cosmetic surgeon. However, asking important questions allows you to be your own advocate when it comes to your safety and expected outcome. A good cosmetic surgeon will be open, honest, and happy to answer any questions you have.