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Questions You Should Ask About Plastic Surgery

Aug 17, 2007
It's not surprising that plastic surgery has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Popular television shows and celebrity surgeries have de-stigmatized plastic surgery to the point where it is considered an attainable and reasonable means of improving appearance for almost anyone.

The advancement of technology and increase in plastic surgery operations means that many procedures are now commonplace and relatively free of risk, however, no surgery is risk free and any person seriously contemplating plastic surgery should take the time to ask the following questions as a part of their research.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

While this may be the first question you thought of in reality you should only consider this after determining whether you should have surgery. Costs vary widely and should not be the basis for your decision. The qualifications of the doctor and your comfort with him or her are of far greater significance than the cost since you will undoubtedly pay more if you encounter complications or are unhappy with the results.

Are you having reconstructive surgery because of an accident or genetic problem? Depending on the reason for the surgery you may have some of the costs covered by insurance or state run medical programs. Cosmetic surgery (also called 'elective') is not deemed to be medically necessary and will not likely be covered by insurance.

WHY ARE YOU HAVING SURGERY?

Although the makeovers on television may give the impression that cosmetic surgery can improve your life it is vitally important that you have a realistic viewpoint of the impact of surgery.

When discussing cosmetic surgery with a doctor they should also tell you the options available and any alternatives to surgery. You shouldn't be pressured into unnecessary surgery. An informed consent document should be signed prior to surgery.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

All surgery carries risk. Even if your doctor is experienced in the surgery and the risks minimal you may develop a complication. Your health should be thoroughly reviewed before surgery is discussed.

A good cosmetic surgeon will take your reasons for surgery into consideration and should be open about the risks. Are you sure the risks outweigh the potential benefits? What, if any, follow up will be done by the surgeon? Will the doctor make adjustments if needed? How will complications be handled? How much time will you need to recover and what are the expected side effects of surgery?

IS YOUR DOCTOR ACCREDITED?

Not all surgical procedures need to be performed in a hospital so it is important to research the doctor to ensure they are accredited. They should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons (ABPS) or similar organization in your country.

Ask the surgeon if they have hospital privileges. Having hospital privileges means that a hospital committee has approved the doctor's training and competency to meet their criteria for performing a similar operation in their facilities. Even if your surgery is performed in an office, verify that there will be appropriate medical personnel on hand and that the facilities are clean and medical waste is properly disposed of.

You should ask your personal physician for referrals as well as discuss the need for surgery. It is also important to find a surgeon you feel comfortable with. You want to feel free to ask questions and certain they understand what you are hoping to achieve - after all, this isn't a hair cut, you want it right the first time.
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