Whether you’ve only just started giving serious thought to undergoing cosmetic surgery, or you’ve made your decision and are now looking for a clinic and surgeon, the reality of whatever treatment or procedure you’re looking at is that a successful outcome begins with your initial consultation.
When you find a clinic or surgeon and go for your consultation, this is your opportunity to ask as many questions as possible, to put your mind at rest about any concerns you may have, and to understand everything there is to know about what’s going to happen. The answers to these questions will help you to understand whether cosmetic surgery is right for you, and also whether that specific surgeon or clinic is where you want to undergo your treatment or procedure.
Here’s the five most important questions you should be seeking answers to during your consultation.
1. What Qualifications and Certifications Do You Have in This Type of Surgery?
Believe it or not:
- It is not illegal for a doctor without formal surgical training to complete a cosmetic procedure if a patient agrees to undergoing the operation*.
- Not all cosmetic surgery procedures take place in accredited clinics.
While this sounds incredible and unbelievable, it means that you need to take charge of finding out what qualifications your surgeon has, and the accreditation level of the clinic you are visiting. Find out how long the surgeon has been working in this field, when they qualified, and ask about their experiences. On top of this, ask questions about the clinic and its history.
When asking these questions, be sure to make it clear you’re asking specifically about the procedure you’re considering for yourself. Many doctors may be trained in cosmetic surgery but be far more experienced in dealing with some operations than others.
2. How Often Do You Perform This Procedure?
While the answer may depend on the location of the clinic as well as the popularity of a specific procedure – breast augmentation for women is far more popular than ‘man boob’ reduction for men, for example – ideally you’re looking for plenty of specific and recent experience in carrying out the procedure you’re considering.
If you’re visiting a clinic or a surgeon that specializes in what you’re looking for, then you can be confident in a positive outcome for your own treatment. As well as asking the question, many surgeons and clinics will have a portfolio of before and after pictures of patients. Ask to look at these too to understand what the outcome of the treatment may look like for you.
3. What Anesthesia Will I Receive?
This question is an important one both for putting your mind at rest but also so you can understand the anesthetist cost that will be incurred on top of your surgery. Once you have the details around anesthesia – and perhaps have some different options if there’s flexibility and choice – you can move forward happy.
We would recommend:
- Choosing the anesthetic that you’re most comfortable with in your own mind, if given a choice. Don’t simply opt for the one that is cheapest!
- Asking about the anesthetists at the clinic and information about their qualifications and experience.
4. What Does the Post-Treatment Recovery Look Like?
Although cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever before, some people still don’t realise the impact the post-treatment stage can have on your life. Even if you are undergoing a relatively simple procedure, you could have a period of weeks or even months afterwards where you need to take things easy or avoid certain situations.
Ensure you ask about specific restrictions and rules you need to stick by. Ignoring your doctor’s advice at this stage can lead to complications and even illness depending on your procedure.
When it comes to recovery, don’t base your expectations on something you may have read online. We’re all different, and as such your doctor will give you a tailored recovery plan. In some cases, for example should you be undergoing bariatric surgery, then you’ll be given a very specific plan of what you should eat and when, as well as other guidance to ensure a safe and speedy recovery.
Listen carefully to the guidance you are given here; if you need to take extra time off work for your recovery, for example, then you may need to schedule your treatment for a later date.
5. What is the Total Cost?
Before committing to any surgery, you need to know the cost. Your initial consultation will usually be free, but after that your pre-surgery appointment, as well as the surgery itself and the anesthesia, will need to be paid for. When asking this question, ask to what extent any post-treatment visits or follow up treatment is covered in the cost. The last thing you want to do is to pay out $10,000 for a procedure and then have a future unexpected bill for $3,000 in a few months’ time for something you thought was covered under the initial cost.
Be sure to ask these questions and explore your options to ensure you find the best clinic and surgeon to meet your needs.
Disclaimer: This article contains general comments and recommendations only. This article has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before taking any action you should consider the appropriateness of the comments made in the article, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If this article relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular credit product you should obtain and consider the relevant disclosure documents before applying for the product.
*Reference: Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Inc.