Undergoing any plastic or cosmetic procedure has the potential to dramatically effect your life. Such decisions should be made only after obtaining the proper information and consulting with professionals. Before scheduling your procedure, Dr. Siegel recommends you consider some of the following things:
Having a consultation for cosmetic plastic surgery can be intimidating. It is important to be prepared and to have done research before you go. There is no point in going on numerous consultations only later to find out that the credentials of the surgeon aren’t acceptable. The importance of evaluating the physician’s credentials can not be over emphasized. Most people don’t realize that, not all Plastic Surgeons specialize in the same procedures, and that the results after surgery will vary from doctor to doctor. Make sure you visit doctors that specialize in the area of the body that you seek to improve.
Before you make a decision to have surgery, you should seek more than one opinion, preferably three. Once you have done your research and selected a physician for a consultation, you need to be prepared with a list of questions. This written list is extremely important because it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and forget what you want to ask. Remember that the reason for a consultation is for you to be evaluated and for you to have a complete explanation and understanding of what is involved including all the risks. The doctor should spend a good amount of time with you during the consultation. If the doctor concludes that you are a good candidate for the procedure, different treatment options should be discussed. You should be prepared to ask these questions.
You should be prepared to tell the doctor about your complete medical history. This includes any allergies you may have and any medications you are on, including birth control pills, vitamins, herbs and natural supplements, as well as any other over the counter medications.
You should feel comfortable with the answers and not feel coerced into any procedure you do not want. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel good about the physician or what he is telling you, seek out a different doctor. A good physician will not talk you into a procedure that has nothing to do with the part of the body that is troubling you. Unless, for example you go in for a face-lift and the doctor explains to you that you need a neck lift as part of the procedure. That would be a reasonable suggestion. But if the physician recommends a nose job or a breast augmentation when you haven’t even mentioned it, I would be extremely wary. If you’re offered computer imaging it may be interesting. However, remember the computer is not doing your surgery, the surgeon is. What you see, may not be what you get!
It is important to ask where your surgery will be performed. Cosmetic procedures can be preformed in a hospital, surgical facility, or in the office. There are pros and cons for all. Having your surgery in a hospital will guarantee the best resuscitation equipment, anesthesia given by a qualified anesthesiologist and an operating room that meets strict hospital standards. The negative side of having your surgery in a hospital may be the increased cost.
If you have the surgery in an outpatient setting there are important things to check. You should verify that the facility is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) or the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF). Such accreditation guarantee that the director of the facility is board certified in a surgical specialty and has hospital privileges. Also, you will have your anesthesia given by a board-certified anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist. Accreditation also means that the facility where you will have your surgery met strict safety and sanitation standards. The academies also accredit the site depending on the type of anesthesia that is used. These are Class A (local or topical), Class B (local, topical and intravenous) and Class C (topical to general- all forms). If you decide to have outpatient surgery make sure that your surgeon’s facility is certified in the type of anesthesia that you were told that you were going to have.
If after the consultation you are excited and feel as though you definitely want the surgery, try not to schedule that day. You should go home and think about it. Remember, you should see other physicians for consultations, preferably two or three, and if you decide to have the surgery, you should see your selected surgeon at least one more time before the surgery to go over your concerns.