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Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 29 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Plastic Surgery Cosmetic Surgery

If you are considering a facelift, boob job or even relatively simple thread vein removal, it's important that you get the best care available. That's why finding the right surgeon is paramount - he or she will make life-changing decisions for you that will stay with you forever. But what questions do you need to ask before you jump in?

Questions to Ask When Choosing the Surgeon

Are you certified? Make sure you only use a surgeon who is a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, The General Medical Council or The British Association of Cosmetic Surgeons. But be careful and verify any information they give. Some practitioners may give names of organisations that sound eerily similar to the real thing, but aren't. Ask about their training as well, to make sure they are fully qualified.

Can I look at before and after photos? If the answer is no, then leave. If the answer is yes, scrutinise them carefully. Be aware, however, that surgeons will only put their very best work on display. Do your research beforehand and know what to look for. It all depends on you!

How many times have you done this particular procedure? You wouldn't go to a dentist for a haircut, so why visit a surgeon who specialises in facelifts to have a boob job? Knowing that your chosen surgeon has loads of experience will give you peace of mind.

Can I speak to one of your patients? Having personal contact with someone who has had the same procedure carried out by the same surgeon will let you know potential drawbacks and advantages.

Who will actually be performing the surgery, be it a breast lift or liposuction? You may assume thatwhoever you have a consultation with will be the person carrying out your operation. That's not always the case. Ask.

Can you let me know your safety record and success rate? Most plastic and cosmetic surgeons should be able to give you a rough idea in percentages. If they balk, go somewhere else.

Questions to Ask Before You Have Surgery

Remember that every procedure is unique, with its own peculiarities. Once you have decided on the surgeon you wish to use, there are still loads of questions you need to ask. They include:

How long does the entire operation take? Consider every step so you'll know what to expect.

Do I have a choice with anaesthesia? Sometimes general is required, other times a local is all you need. Know before you go.

How painful will the procedure be? Every individual has a different pain threshold, but being forewarned about cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery is being forearmed.

When will I see the results? Some procedures have a minimum of swelling and/or bruising, while others require patients to wait weeks before seeing final results.

What is the recovery period like? You'll need to plan the rest of your life, so ask when you can go back to work, resume regular exercise etc.

Will I have scars? If the answer is yes, ask where and what kind. Some scars disappear in time, others are permanent. Don't get caught short.

What are the potential complications? Risks are a normal part of any surgical procedure, so don't be fobbed off. If a surgeon dismisses your concerns, go somewhere else.

How much will it cost? Get this in writing before you have anything done, and check first to see if anything would be available on the NHS.

Plastic surgery is not something to be entered into lightly, and your results could be determined, in part, by the more information you have at the very beginning. Do your homework beforehand, and don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. If you feel your surgeon resents your inquisitiveness, find someone else. After all, this is all about you!

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