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Before Your Procedure: Plastic Surgery "Do's and Don'ts"

Oct 9, 2007
Well, the New Year is finally here and now it's time to put into action all those great resolutions you made! Is this the year of the "new you"? For many of you that will include a new diet and a little more exercise to get in better shape. For others this may be the year that you take that big step and you finally make that appointment with Dr. Back's office and find out what all this plastic surgery stuff is really all about!

Perhaps I can help you before you even come in. Scheduling an appointment with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon may be the biggest and possibly most important step in you'll take in seeing what cosmetic surgery can do for you. How about a few "tips" before you come in for that appointment?

1) Do make sure your plastic surgeon is Board Certified in Plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Unfortunately, there are many physicians who might advertise or promote themselves as Board Certified but they don't necessarily mention what they are specifically Board Certified in. (These are not the doctors you should be going to for Cosmetic Surgery!)

In addition, The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the most respective, definitive and legimate certifying body of plastic surgeons in the U.S. Beware of "sound-alike" imitations such as Board Certified "Cosmetic Surgeon". Only the most qualified plastic surgeons have earned the right to call themselves Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and would not use such a designation.

2) Don't enlist the services of a physician who does not have operating room or admitting privileges at a local accredited hospital as a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. If the physician you are contemplating seeing doesn't have these privileges, it means the hospital or surgi-centers in his area don't recognize his qualifications as being good enough to be on their staff. The Plastic Surgeon you want will have proper qualifications and have these privileges.

3) Do ask to see before and after photos of the doctors' work on other patients. A busy and popular Plastic Surgeon will probably have before and after photos very similar to yourself. Even better: A patient that has had this procedure within the past year or so that might be willing to talk to you about their experience. Computer simulations are great but they are just "simulations". Before and after photos will show you what the doctor has actually accomplished for other patients.

4) Do get a second opinion consultation. Different doctors have different styles and sometimes different approaches to the same problems. You should make sure you have a nice comfort level with the plans and options that have been reviewed with you. More importantly, you should have a comfort level and confidence in the doctor and his staff.

5) Don't make a decision solely on the basis of price. It may sound trite but this will only get you into trouble. Qualified surgeons will all have prices in a very similar range and will generally be very fair in making sure their charges reasonably reflect the amount of work you are considering having done. Beware of the pricing that seems like a bargain - you may want to recheck those credentials on this one.

6) Do ask what facility your doctor will perform your surgery in. The safest and most reliable surgicenters will be high quality, accredited and state licensed facilities. These facilities have the best equipment, the most qualified staff and nurses and the appropriate systems and equipment to deal with potential emergencies.

7) Do ask your doctor about estimated recovery times and restrictions with respect to your particular procedure. If you do not have the ability to organize your business and social or familial obligations or might not be able to limit your physical activities as your doctor recommends, you are only going to be short-changing yourself on the quality of your recovery and possibly the overall level of success with your surgery.

Beginning your journey on your cosmetic procedure already knowing that you're going to compromise and take "short cuts" for the instructions in your after care is a major mistake. Any doctor who minimizes the after care needs and tells "you'll probably be ok... ..Don't worry about them" may be doing himself a favor but is giving you bad advice.

8) Don't ask for multiple complex procedures at once, like they do it on the "Extreme Plastic Surgery Makeover" TV shows. In the real world (meaning not on TV), people have jobs, children, social obligations and responsibilities that go beyond their cosmetic procedure needs. It is unlikely after your cosmetic procedure that you will be placed in a Three Star hotel for the next two months with your every meal and need catered to and no other responsibilities other than appearing on camera.

You should be more focused on recoveries that will be simple, straight-forward and limited. It is much more realistic and much less risky to limit the amount of surgery you are having so that you will ultimately have a reasonably quick and uncomplicated recovery to enable you to get back into the swing of your normal life in a stream-lined way.
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