Once you have made the decision to move forward with cosmetic surgery, attending a consultation visit with a selected plastic surgeon is often the next first step. This initial consultation visit is important so you can learn more about what you need to do to effectively prepare for the surgery, discuss the treatment options, and understand the recovery process. Below is a list of key questions that you should ask your plastic surgeon during this initial visit.
Are you board certified?
It helps to learn whether the surgeon you plan to work with is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This is an independent organization that vets professionals to ensure that they adhere to the highest degrees of safety and professionalism. If a surgeon is not certified, ask if they are in the process of doing so. Membership with professional organizations such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is an added bonus.
What is your experience level?
Not all plastic surgeons are the same. A practitioner who is very experienced in Brazilian butt lifts and other body reshaping procedures may not necessarily be the best person for a facelift. You want to learn more about the kind of experience the surgeon has in the precise cosmetic surgery that you want to have. Did they just get started recently or have they performed dozens or even hundreds of successful procedures? Ask to see before and after photos of past patients. You may even want to read reviews from other patients on third-party platforms such as Yelp and Google Reviews.
What type of anesthesia will be used?
It is important that you are involved in choosing the type of anesthesia to be used during your surgery. This will allow you to effectively prepare for the surgery and be ready to deal with any side effects. Local anesthesia is typically used for less invasive procedures and is known to entail a shorter recovery time. General anesthesia, on the other hand, is utilized during complex procedures such as deep plane facelifts and tummy tucks. This type of anesthesia is more invasive and comes with a number of side effects.
Where will the procedure be performed?
Plastic surgery procedures may either be performed in an outpatient setting or in a hospital setting. It all depends on the type of surgery. For instance, treatments such as mini facelifts, breast augmentation, and even rhinoplasty are performed in the plastic surgeon’s operating room. The patient is usually allowed to go home on the same day as the surgery for recovery. More comprehensive treatments such as mommy makeovers and breast reconstruction often need to be performed in a hospital where the patient can stay for a night or two. Regardless of where your treatment will be administered, the key is to confirm that the facility is certified (for safety) by relevant state and federal bodies.
How much will the procedure cost?
Health insurers typically do not cover the cost of plastic surgery procedures that are considered elective in nature. This means you might have to pay for the treatment from your own pocket. During your first consultation visit, make sure to request an individualized cost breakdown for your treatment. Ask the surgeon whether they offer any financing options that might help you break down the costs of the surgery. This way, you’ll be better prepared to shoulder the financial burden.
What is recovery like?
Recovery is an important concern for patients who are planning to undergo plastic surgery. How much time is required off work? What recovery supplies do I need to purchase? These are some of the questions to ask your plastic surgeon. You also want to understand what side effects you might deal with, and what is required from you during the recovery process. This will allow you to plan ahead of time to ensure a smoother and uninterrupted recovery.
The above questions are a good place to start when engaging your plastic surgeon. However, you shouldn’t stop there. The idea is to make sure that you have all the information you need. Don’t hesitate to take your time.