What Questions Should I Ask My Plastic Surgeon?
When considering plastic surgery, one of the most important steps in the process is choosing the right surgeon. Your plastic surgeon should be a qualified, experienced professional who can help you achieve the results you want while minimizing the risks and complications associated with the procedure. To ensure that you are making the right choice, it is important to ask your surgeon the right questions. Here is a list of the 16 most important questions you should ask your plastic surgeon before you agree to surgery:
1. Tell me about your education and experience? Are you board-certified? If so, what board certified you?
It is important to know where your surgeon went to school, where they completed their residency, and how long they have been practicing plastic surgery. Additionally, you should ask if they are board-certified and, if so, what board certified them. Board certification ensures that your surgeon has met specific requirements and has passed an examination demonstrating their knowledge and expertise in the field. You want a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can look up your surgeon with ABPS here.
2. Are you a plastic surgeon or a cosmetic surgeon?
Many people do not realize that there is a difference between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons. Plastic surgeons have studied a specialized field that involves reconstructing or repairing physical defects and improving appearance. There is a significant commitment of time and money to become a plastic surgeon. By contrast, a cosmetic surgeon can be any medically licensed professional with minimal continuing education. You should ask your surgeon if they are specifically trained in plastic surgery.
3. How long have you been performing plastic surgery?
Experience matters when it comes to plastic surgery. The longer a surgeon has been practicing, the more procedures they have likely performed, and the more expertise they have developed.
4. How frequently do you perform the procedures I want to get?
Different plastic surgeons specialize in different procedures, and it is important to choose one who has experience in the specific procedure you are interested in. Asking how frequently they perform the procedure will give you an idea of their expertise.
5. Am I a good candidate for my procedure of interest? If not, why?
Your surgeon should be honest with you about whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure you are interested in. If you are not, they should explain why and offer alternative solutions. Don’t become discouraged if a surgeon says you are not a good candidate. This generally is the mark of a surgeon who puts the patient’s needs and safety above the profit they can make by performing the surgery you are requesting.
6. What are your BMI requirements?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is an important factor to consider when it comes to plastic surgery. Your surgeon may have specific requirements related to your BMI that you need to meet before undergoing a procedure. These guidelines are for your safety. Every surgeon has a point at which they are not comfortable, generally this is a BMI under 30. If your prospective surgeon says “no problem” when you have a BMI of greater than 30, you may want to get a second opinion on whether or not you are a good candidate.
7. What specifically do you believe you can correct, and what do you think will be a challenge?
It is important to have a clear understanding of what your surgeon believes they can correct and what challenges they may encounter during the procedure. This will help you set realistic expectations for the outcome. A surgeon who really cares about their patient will let them know honestly when there is something that may be more difficult than with the average person. Don’t just go find a surgeon who says they can do it with no problems – make sure they can show you similar cases – which leads us to our next point…
8. Have you performed these procedures on patients who are physically similar to me and have similar concerns? If so, could you please show me before and after photos so I can better understand what you can do for me?
Looking at before and after photos of previous patients can give you a better idea of what to expect from your procedure. Additionally, finding patients with similar physical qualities and concerns can help you understand what results you may be able to achieve.
9. What are the risks associated with the procedures I’m asking you about?
All surgical procedures carry some level of risk. Your surgeon should be upfront with you about the potential risks associated with your procedure. Some procedures are lower risk, while others, such as BBL surgery, carry a much higher risk even under the best circumstances.
10. Where will the surgery take place? Is the surgical facility accredited?
The surgical facility should be accredited and meet the highest standards for safety and cleanliness, and the people who work there must also be in good standing with a number of overseeing organizations. You should also ask where the surgery will take place and ensure that it is a location that you are comfortable with.
11. Do you have hospital privileges? If so, where?
Having hospital privileges means that your surgeon has been granted permission to perform procedures at a hospital. This is important in case any complications arise during the procedure. Be wary of surgeons who do not hold hospital privileges. There may be a good reason that they don’t have them, and it could affect your outcome.
12. Who will perform my anesthesia and what are his or her qualifications?
Anesthesia is a crucial component of any surgical procedure. It is vital to know who will administer the anesthesia and their qualifications. An anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) should be present during the surgery. They should be trained in administering anesthesia and monitoring the patient’s vital signs throughout the procedure. Inquire about their experience and training to ensure they are qualified to administer anesthesia. Most people do not realize that anesthesia is one of the most dangerous parts of any surgery. Be certain to check on your anesthesiologist’s credentials.
13. What type of anesthesia is required for this procedure?
Different procedures require different types of anesthesia. Some procedures may only require local anesthesia, while others may require general anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon should discuss the type of anesthesia required for your specific procedure and explain the potential risks and benefits. Some surgeries can be done with local anesthesia and mild sedation while other more extensive procedures require general anesthesia.
14. What would you do if an emergency were to happen during my surgery?
Even the most experienced surgeons encounter unforeseen complications during surgery. It is crucial to know how your plastic surgeon would handle an emergency situation. Ask about their emergency protocols and their experience dealing with unexpected complications during surgery. This is where hospital privileges can be super important.
15. How often are your follow-up visits? Are they in person or over Zoom?
After surgery, follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor your recovery and ensure that the healing process is progressing as expected. Ask your plastic surgeon about the frequency of these follow-up visits and whether they will be in person or conducted over Zoom. This information will help you plan your recovery and ensure that you receive the proper care and attention.
16. What questions have I forgotten to ask you that you think I should have asked?
Finally, ask your plastic surgeon if there are any questions that you may have forgotten to ask. They may be able to provide additional information that could help you make an informed decision about your surgery.