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Summer is the peak time for people having cosmetic surgery. Here’s what you need to know before agreeing to surgery.

Posted on Tuesday, 18 December 2018

What you need to know about cosmetic surgery

Transforming your look is a major decision, it takes time to heal, taking you away from work and family commitments and it can also be costly. It’s a decision you want to get right the first time and to know that you are in safe hands.

Before proceeding with any cosmetic procedure, it’s essential to follow these steps to be as informed as possible about the procedure, the likely outcome and the training and qualifications of your treating provider so that you can base your decision off more than just price.

Step 1: Choose a Specialist Plastic Surgeon

When considering a cosmetic procedure whether surgical or non-surgical, there is no substitute for safety, which is why it’s important to choose a highly skilled and appropriately qualified medical practitioner 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 those who are registered by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as a Specialist Surgeon are qualified with the appropriate surgical training and recognised by the Australian and New Zealand Governments. 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).  Visit AHPRA’s website to find out if your practitioner is registered as a Specialist Surgeon.

When it comes to non-surgical procedures ensure that your treating practitioner has the training to perform the specific treatment you are requesting to achieve an optimal outcome.  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 important to do your homework and base your knowledge on credible information sources.  You want to be armed with the most accurate information available.

Make a list of questions before your consultation and take notes during your appointment.  Your SpecialistPlastic 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.  This is the appropriate time to go over any questions you may have that will help you make informed decisions. 

The Specialist PlasticSurgeon should review your personal concerns and your desired aesthetic goals and work with you to devise a customised plan based on your specific needs.  Each suggested treatment option should be explained in a way that you understand, describing the extent of the procedure and the anticipated results, as well as any possible side effects or risks.  You should discuss any requirements for anaesthesia and how long recovery might take, and the expected outcomes associated with each procedure as this will all need to be factored into any commitments you have in your life.

Ask your Specialist PlasticSurgeon how many times he or she has performed the procedure you’re interested in and request before-and-after photographs of the actual results achieved.  Your overall health and any medical conditions you have should also be discussed.  Before proceeding with treatment, informed consent is a must.  Even if you’ve had the same procedure in the past, your consent is required each and every time.

Questions to consider asking

  • 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

The good thing about choosing a Specialist Plastic Surgeon is they usually 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 support, geographic location, as well as the training, experience and reputation of your Specialist PlasticSurgeon, can significantly impact his or her fees.  Make sure you understand all the costs involved before agreeing to have your surgery.

It’s important to note that price shouldn’t be 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.

Choose an ASAPS Member to ensure Excellence in Cosmetic Surgery.

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