Here’s what you need to know before agreeing to surgery.
Changing the way you look through cosmetic surgery is a big decision. It takes time to heal. It requires downtime from your work and family commitments, and it can also be costly.
To make the right decision, you want to know all of the surgical risks. You also need to be informed about the realistic outcome your doctor can achieve. You need to be sure that the training and qualifications of your doctor mean they are suitable to perform your surgery safely.
After all, it’s a decision you want to get right the first time.
Before proceeding with any cosmetic procedure, follow these simple steps to ensure you are in safe hands.
Step 1: Choose a Specialist Plastic Surgeon
When considering cosmetic surgery, there is no substitute for safety. That is why it’s crucial to choose a highly skilled and appropriately qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon that you can trust.
Finding a surgeon is easy, but finding the right one who can help you achieve the goals you are aiming for can be downright confusing.
Not every person calling themselves a surgeon is an accredited surgeon.
Only doctors who are registered by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as a Specialist Surgeon have completed the accredited surgical training.
These surgeons have the letters FRACS after their name that suggests that they have completed a Fellowship through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). RACS is is the only training program recognised by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.
Visit AHPRA’s website to find out if your doctor has a Specialist registration.
When it comes to non-surgical procedures, ensure that the doctor or nurse treating you has the training to perform the specific treatment you are requesting.
You are electing to put yourself in this position, after all, so you want to make sure they get it right.
Step 2: Research your procedure
With so much information available to patients these days on the internet, it’s often difficult to discern between fact and fiction.
It’s essential to do your homework and base your knowledge on credible information sources, to arm yourself with the most accurate information available.
Make a list of questions before your consultation and take notes during your appointment.
Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon should be able to answer any questions you may have about your particular procedure.
Step 3: Arrive at your consultation prepared
During your consultation, your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will ask about your aesthetic goals before recommending specific treatment options.
It’s at this time you should go over any questions you may have that will help you make informed decisions.
Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon should:
- Review your concerns and your desired results and work with you on a customised plan based on your needs.
- Explain each treatment option so that you understand the limitations of the procedure and the anticipated results, as well as any possible side effects or risks.
- Discuss any requirements for anaesthesia. How long recovery might take, and the expected outcomes associated with each procedure. Their advice should help your decision about when surgery might best fit in with any other commitments you may have in your life.
- Obtain informed consent. Even if you’ve had the same procedure in the past, your consent is required every time.
Questions you should ask:
- How many of these types of procedures have you performed?
- Can you show me your before-and-after photos?
- Is there anything you recommend I do before my procedure to ensure better results or a quicker recovery?
- What are the risks associated with this procedure?
- Are there any alternative treatments?
- What preparation is required the day before and the morning of my procedure?
- Should my regular medications be taken on the morning of my procedure?
- What time should I arrive? Should someone drive me?
Step 4: Understand how much it will cost
A Specialist Plastic Surgeon should provide you with an itemised quote before you agree to surgery (also known as Informed Financial Consent). So there shouldn’t be any hidden costs or nasty surprise bills that arrive after your surgery.
Many variables affect the total cost of a procedure. The complexity of the surgical procedure, private health insurance cover, geographic location, as well as the training, experience and reputation of your Specialist Plastic Surgeon.
Make sure you understand all the costs involved before agreeing to have your surgery.
It’s important that the price isn’t the only consideration when selecting your surgeon.
The most critical factor in choosing a surgeon is that you trust him or her to deliver your aesthetic goals with your safety as their primary focus.