Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker

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14 Important Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

plastic surgeon

In the past year, in the United States, almost $16.7 billion was spent on cosmetic surgery. Both traditional and minimally invasive procedures continue to increase in popularity for individuals new to plastic surgery and those who have had previous procedures.

If you’ve decided that you’d like to have plastic surgery, one of the first steps after making that decision is to research a plastic surgeon. Like with any other significant step you take, you need to thoroughly research your plastic surgeon options before making your selection.

This guide will go over the questions you should ask when choosing a plastic surgeon. You should book multiple consultations with various doctors and ask these critical questions, so you’re empowered to make the right choice for yourself.

Are You Board-Certified and Licensed?

There are a few different certifying boards that oversee plastic surgeons, in addition to surgical societies that they can be a member of. You’ll need to confirm that they’re certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. If they are, this will give you more insight into their commitment to safety, experience, and training.

You may not know that any physician with a license can legally perform plastic surgery in the US, even if they don’t have any training. By selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon, you’ll ensure that your physician is qualified and has the necessary experience.

To be board-certified, a plastic surgeon needs to have:

  • A certain level of experience, training, and expertise in their specialty
  • Completed a year-long AACS certified fellowship
  • Participated in a surgical residency in a related specialty
  • Performed their procedures in state-licensed and accredited facilities

Make your consultations only with board-certified plastic surgeons. Ask them about their specific experience and training that they’ve undergone. If a plastic surgeon isn’t board-certified, you might want to expand your search.

How Often Have You Done This Procedure?

While everyone starts somewhere, you likely don’t want to be your plastic surgeon’s first facelift or nose job. You also probably wouldn’t want to be in their first 50 patients either. Typically, you’d want to look for a surgeon that’s performed your procedure at least 200 times.

In addition to perfecting their technique, your plastic surgeon will have more experience with patients who have different body types. They’ll know how to adjust their tactics instead of being experienced in a small number of types of bodies.

Don’t be embarrassed or think it’s not polite to ask your potential plastic surgeon this question. It’s better to question their experience than have unpleasant results from your procedure. A qualified plastic surgeon clinic will likely have encountered this question before, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Where Do You Perform Your Procedures?

Some plastic surgery procedures are performed at hospitals or in an outpatient center. Other types of procedures are performed in your plastic surgeon’s office. Your procedure’s complexity and any underlying health concerns you have should be considered when figuring out where your surgery will occur.

Who Will Assist You During My Procedure?

It’s crucial for you to know what support staff your plastic surgeon will have during your procedure. Ask your potential plastic surgeon the following questions during your consultation:

  • What team will be monitoring my anesthesia?
  • Who will you have assisting you?
  • Will there be emergency staff on-site in case of an issue?
  • If the cosmetic surgery is at a teaching hospital, will there be interns or medical students involved?

If medical residents or students are involved in your procedure, don’t automatically assume you’ll get substandard care. You might get superior care. Medical students are on top of their game and will pay you extra attention.

What Kind of Anesthesia Will I Receive?

What kind of anesthesia you receive depends on the type of procedure you’re getting done and your specific needs. Local and general anesthesia are safe options when a qualified individual administers them.

Local anesthesia has different advantages, like a shortened initial recovery. General anesthesia is typically needed for complex procedures, such as a full facelift, or when you’re having multiple procedures completed.

No matter what they recommend, you should always ask your potential plastic surgeon what staff member will be monitoring your anesthesia. That person needs to be a certified registered nurse anesthetist or a board-certified physician anesthesiologist.

Ensure you have a dedicated team that’ll continually monitor you throughout your cosmetic surgery procedure, so your surgeon can focus on helping you achieve your goals.

What Kinds of Risks Are Associated With My Procedure?

Everything in surgery and medicine has potential complications and side effects. There are more common ones, like bruising, discomfort, and swelling, and your plastic surgeon should talk to you about them.

Complications can occur, but they’re rare. All ethical and competent healthcare providers should speak to you about the risks associated with your procedure.

Can I See Before and After Photos of Other Patients?

Most plastic surgeons will offer before and after photos to you when you ask about them. Many of them include them on their website. If a plastic surgeon shows you stock photos, they’ll need to disclose that the individuals photographed weren’t their patients.

Can I Talk to Previous Patients?

If you’re talking to a plastic surgeon that didn’t come recommended to you by someone you know, ask them if you can speak to a previous or existing patient. You’ll want to talk to someone who had the same type of procedure that you did. This will help you learn more about their overall experience, the plastic surgeon, and their practice.

Is This Procedure Right for Me?

You need to clarify with your plastic surgeon at the beginning of your consultation if you’re a good candidate for the type of procedure you want. An ethical plastic surgeon will dissuade you from choosing a procedure that won’t yield the results you’re looking for.

If they believe that the procedure you want to have isn’t right for you, they should provide you with different options that’ll work for you. They’ll address your concerns and give you an educated recommendation based on their years of experience.

How Many Pre-Op Appointments Will I Need?

You might get focused on how many appointments you’ll have after your surgery, but what about before? Depending upon the type of procedure you have done, you could have a variety of appointments before the big day. This can include imaging and bloodwork.

Try to get a sense of what your timeline will look like once you book your procedure. You want to ensure that you can make the time commitment, especially if you have to ask for time off work.

What Do I Need to Do Before My Procedure?

Some procedures require you to stop your skincare routine a few days before your treatment. With a body contouring procedure, you might have to lose some weight first.

Whatever your treatment is, you need to know what your pre-operative guidelines and instructions are. This will help you determine how your procedure will impact your day-to-day life.

What Will My Recovery Look Like?

There are a lot of minimally invasive cosmetic surgery procedures that you can have done during your lunch break. However, most traditional procedures need at least a few days of recovery afterward.

Ask the plastic surgeon to outline what your recovery period will look like. You should also ask when you can expect to resume normal activities, like exercising or going to work. If you’re concerned about any physical limitations after your surgery, speak with the plastic surgeon about them.

Is There Someone on Call to Answer My Questions?

No matter how prepared you are for the post-op experience, there’ll likely be a few questions that come up while you’re recovering. Ask your plastic surgeon what their post-op communication plan looks like.

When Will I See Results?

Your healing process depends upon your body. However, your plastic surgeon can give you a general timeline so you know when to expect to start seeing your results. They should also let you know when you should see your final results.

With some procedures, you’ll see results almost immediately. Other ones can take over a year to fully see. You’ll need to know how to manage your expectations before heading into your procedure.

A variety of other types of questions will likely arise when you meet with potential plastic surgeons. These questions will help you determine what the experience, qualifications, and safety measures are of the physician you’re meeting with. Feel confident with whatever plastic surgeon you go with by thoroughly vetting them.

Connect With the Top Plastic Surgeons in the Atlanta Area

If you’ve recently searched for the “best plastic surgeons near me,” look no further than Atlanta Face and Body. Our offices are designed with your comfort in mind. We’ll answer all of your questions regarding your procedure, ensuring you feel safe and comfortable.

Contact us to schedule a private consultation.

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