As a followup to my previous articles on how to search for a plastic surgeon and how to find a good cosmetic surgeon, let me address a related issue: how to talk to a cosmetic surgeon so that your expectations are realistic and you are not surprised with anything.
Have you noticed that when you visit a doctor and ask about the risks and dangers of a drug or a surgical procedure, they often use a tone that makes it appear that thing will not be so bad. Well, there is a reason for it. While a doctor is legally bound to tell you everything exactly as it is, they do not want to scare you either – a tough balance to keep.
This gets worse in case of cosmetic surgery since almost all the procedures are elective and plastic surgeons make huge profits from their clients. Thus, while they have to tell you the risks and problems, they don’t want you to change your mind either if they tell you too much. This attitude is what explains the recent outcome of a survey in which four out of ten plastic surgery patients said that they should have been more proactive in learning about potential side effects and complications before surgery, according to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Many of these patients were surprised with the the amount of pain, the bleeding, the time to recover, and the results.
So what can you do that so you know what to expect?
ASPS says that patients should get answers to the following questions during their physician consultation and by reading the educational materials provided:
- What are your credentials and training experience?
- How many procedures of this type have you performed?
- Are there alternatives to surgery?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What do I need to do to prepare for surgery?
- What are the risks involved with my procedure?
- What type of anesthesia will I need?
- How can I minimize post-surgical side effects and complications such as nausea, vomiting, pain, infection or blood clots?
- How will complications be handled?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery period?
- Will my recovery keep me away from my usual, daily activities such as work? If so, how long?