Monday, June 8, 2009

Plastic surgery: which surgeon is best for you?

Plastic surgery is no longer a taboo. An ever-increasing percentage of the population is electing to have cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance. If you have recently decided to take the plunge and have some work done, chances are you still have to pick a plastic surgeon for the job. So, how exactly do you go about doing so? We have compiled a list of dos and don’ts that first time plastic surgery patients may find useful. These include:

1. Do not look for your plastic surgeon in the Yellow Pages. If you are looking to rent a limo or thinking of having your carpets industrially cleaned the Yellow Pages is a great place to look. When you are having invasive cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, this is not such a good idea. Reputable surgeons do not need to advertise in the Yellow Pages.

2. Keep an ear out. Ask around. If you have friends who recently underwent surgery and were happy with their results, then this is a great place to start. If you would prefer an impartial opinion however, you may think about joining some online discussion forums.

3. Three is a charm. Once you have identified a number of possible plastic surgeons, the next step is to organise at least three appointments with different doctors. This will not only give you an opportunity to meet the individuals in question, it will also serve as a learning process. The more you speak to different surgeons, the more information you are likely to gain. One thing though never, EVER sign anything before you have made your decision.

4. Ask and you shall receive. Your initial consultation with any plastic surgeon is your opportunity to ask questions. Ask a lot of them and keep meticulous notes. Keeping these in a binder will make your selection process a lot easier. Some questions to keep in mind are:

• Are you a board certified surgeon?
• How many times (if any) have you performed this procedure?
• Where will the procedure take place?
• How many (if any) staff will be assisting you during the procedure? May I please have a list of their names and credentials?
• What type of anaesthesia will be administered during the procedure? What are the risks associated with this type of anaesthesia?
• May I see some before and after photos of previous patients on whom you performed this procedure? May I also have five references of previous patients that I may call for personal accounts?

5. Worth a thousand. Before you go in for a consultation, go on the internet and find some examples of before and after pictures that you like. This will give the plastic surgeon a good indication of what you want and whether or not they will be able to achieve the results you expect.

6. Check it out. You may feel strange about checking out a plastic surgeon’s credentials or phoning up previous patients to get a review, but the truth of the matter is that any form of cosmetic surgery has its risks and you have the right to know.

7. Trust your gut. It can be easy to ignore emotional responses when you are making decisions that involve both a sizeable amount of money and invasive surgery, but it is never a good idea to go against your gut. If you didn’t feel comfortable with a certain surgeon or felt that they weren’t treating you as though you mattered you shouldn’t ignore it.

These are a few rules of thumb that should prove helpful in identifying the surgeon that is best for you. Any type of cosmetic surgery has its risks and you should take the proper precautions to ensure that your plastic surgeon is not one of them.

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