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What to Ask Your Surgeon

What to Ask Your Surgeon For individuals considering cosmetic surgery, a thorough, informative consultation with a qualified surgeon is the best way to reach your ultimate decision—no matter what stage youre at in the game. When interviewing any doctor, certain questions are especially worth asking. We want to help you in your search, so were providing a convenient checklist that you can bring with you when interviewing a doctor. The important thing to remember is that this is a life-changing service, and the doctor should be convincing you of his/her abilities. Don't be afraid to ask questions!

About the Doctor

Are you Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery?

Doctors can be certified in fields that may not be pertinent to plastic surgery. To become board certified in Plastic Surgery, a physician must complete an approved residency that usually involves 6 to 8 years of general surgery and plastic surgery, and take both written and oral exams.

What associations are you currently a member of?

I.e. American Medical Association, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, etc.

What is your safety record?

Most plastic surgeons have a specific idea of their safety record and can give you a percentage.

What is your success rate?

Most plastic surgeons have a specific idea of their success rate and can give you a percentage.

What procedures do you specialize in?

Most doctors do have procedures that are their "favorites." While this does not mean the quality of a procedure that is not their specialty would be sub par, it's good to know a doctors area of specialization.

About the Procedure

How long does the entire process take, from start to finish?

Some procedures require lab work or more than one consultation. To get an idea of how long the process with take from start to finish, you'll want to consider every step.

What are my options for anesthesia?

Some procedures require general anesthesia, while local with sedation can be opted for with others. Certain doctors also use "twilight" anesthesia which is the newest form. If you have any questions or concerns about the anesthesia that will be used during your procedure, make sure you address them during your consultation rather than before the procedure.

What can I expect right after the procedure?

Specifically for patients requiring an extended hospital stay, you'll want to know where you will be staying after the procedure. The doctor or his patient coordinator can answer all of these questions for you. If the procedure will require at-home care, you'll want to discuss these terms with your doctor.

How much physical pain can I expect from the procedure?

With certain procedures, you may experience minor discomfort that can be alleviated with an over the counter pain reliever. Other procedures require a prescription medication or devices such as a "pain pump" to keep pain to a minimum.

When can I resume normal activities?

Normal activities are any steps taken during the course of a normal day...excluding exercise. Some procedures may restrict lifting of any sort or contact with the area. Bed rest can also be required for a certain period of time.

When can I go back to work?

Depending on the nature of your job, the doctor should give you an exact idea of when you can return to work.

When can I resume my exercise regimen?

On average, patients should allow for 2 weeks before exercising, but the doctor will give you specific information regarding your particular regimen.

What are the possible side effects associated with this procedure?

With any surgical procedure, there are risks. You'll want to make sure you understand these risks and how often they are associated with the procedure you're interested in. A well respected doctor will be forthright with this information and give you a reasonable explanation to this question.

How long will it take to notice full effects?

Some procedures involve bruising and swelling. Other procedures require a certain amount of time to settle and take on the final shape. Depending on the procedure, youre doctor will let you know how long it will take before you will see the end result.

Will this procedure inhibit any future activities?

The most common concern associated with this question is the ability to breast feed (breast augmentation) the effects of having children (tummy tuck) or loss of erection (penile enlargement). If you have any questions about the future effects of a procedure, always ask the doctor.

Payment Options

Does your office have financing available?

Different offices have different finance plans, along with terms and conditions. The doctor or a member of his office staff should give you any information you need, including any web site and doctor ID #'s for online approval.

Does your office provide other payment options, besides financing?

Some offices provide a "lay-away" plan that allows you to save for a down payment and work towards paying off the balance.

If Im paying out of pocket, what are your terms and conditions?

For patients who pay out of pocket, there are instances where a doctor will allow you to pay 50% of procedure, and then the other 50% at a specified point in time. Other doctors require that the full amount be paid up front.

Are there any incentives for paying upfront?

Some doctors give discounts for patients who pay up front.

If I decide to have more than one procedure done, will I receive a discount?

For patients interested in multiple procedures, many doctors will offer a discounted rate.

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