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10 Questions You Should Ask Your Cosmetic Surgeon

Aug 17, 2007
More and more people these days are having some type of cosmetic surgery done to enhance or keep their youthful appearance. As with any type of surgery, there are benefits and risks to consider. Before you decide on that face-lift or tummy tuck, you should find a reputable cosmetic surgeon and prepare a list of questions to ask before making a final decision on the procedure. Here are the top ten questions you should ask your cosmetic surgeon:

1. For your specific needs, what type of procedure would your physician or surgeon recommend?

Although you may think you need liposuction or breast reduction, your physician may determine that type of procedure is not appropriate for you, your body type, or possibly due to other health related issues you might have.

Once your doctor has decided on the type of surgery to be performed, make sure the procedure is clearly explained to you: how it will be done, what techniques will be used and what should you expect afterwards.

2. What is the surgeon's expertise in this type of procedure?

Most cosmetic surgeons have an area of expertise in which they practice. It's important to find a surgeon who is an expert in the field of the type of procedure you will be having done. Ask him about his experience with this type of surgery, what the success rates are, what type of complications he may have encountered, and where the procedure will take place.

You should also ask where the surgeon has studied where he received his training, education or certification.

3. Ask for brochures, leaflets and websites.

Do not just take the surgeon's word for it; ask for informative brochures, leaflets and websites specific to the type of procedure you are considering before you make such an important decision. If your surgeon is reputable and honest, he will appreciate the fact that you need more information to determine if the surgery is something you want to have done.

4. What are the risks involved?

Your surgeon should be able to tell you all of the risks involved with the type of procedure you're having done. These risks should include what could happen during and after the surgery. Ask how common the complications are, and if complications do occur, how they will, or can, be treated.

5. Ask for referrals
Similar to asking for references during a job interview process, you should know what past patients have experienced with the results of the surgery, or the surgeon. A good surgeon will be happy to provide you with a list of his patients who have had the type of surgery that you are considering. If the surgeon denies your request, ask him why. If he is not willing to provide references of past patients, you may want to consider another surgeon.

6. Ask to see before and after photos.

By seeing real photos of past patients, you will gain a better perspective of what the outcome will be for your specific procedure. It will be helpful to see the differences.

7. What is the recovery process?

Procedures vary in terms of wound recovery time and length of rehabilitation programs. You should know the long-term program before your surgery to plan for time away from work and household responsibilities.

Determine if your procedure will require you to stay overnight at a hospital, or if it will be performed as an outpatient procedure. Ask if medications will be necessary, and how long before you can resume normal routines. Ask your surgeon what to expect, such as bruising or swelling, how long it should last and what to do if the pain or swelling persists after the determined recovery period.

8. What are the cost or payment options?

Before you decide to have the surgery performed, you should know what your options are for the cost of the procedure. Ask your surgeon how much it will cost, if your insurance will cover the type of surgery you are having done, and if not, are there any financing options available through his practice, or can he refer you to a financing company. If you need to finance your surgery, make sure you know the terms of the contract, the interest rate, how much your monthly payments will be and whether or not you can afford to make those payments each month.

9. What kind of anesthesia is required for the procedure?

Determine if the procedure will be performed under a local or regional anesthetic and the risks involved. Ask if there are any sedatives or other medications that you will be required to take prior to or after the procedure.

10. What are my alternatives?

Not everyone is a good candidate for cosmetic surgery, and depending on your medical history, you may need to consider an alternative. Your surgeon will be able to provide you with some effective alternatives, or he may refer you to another physician who will be able to best fit your needs.
About the Author
Dr. Lycka is one of North America's foremost authorities on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. You can find out more at http://www.barrylyckamd.com and http://www.restoringyouthonline.com. He is founder of The Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association (http://www.ecsaonline.com).
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