We all get excited at the prospect of our ‘new look’ and how this will benefit our lives, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about the importance of safety and the processes involved. Before your surgery comes the consultation, and we’ve compiled a list of important questions you should always ask your surgeon to ensure a positive experience, pre, during and post-surgery.
1. What experience and qualifications do you have?
It’s imperative your surgery is performed by a fully-qualified surgeon found on the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery, who has been specially trained and can provide you with advice and guidance. They must also be insured to carry out the procedure in the UK.
Ask them how frequently they perform the surgery, success rates and how happy patients are with their performance. A surgeon who regularly performs the procedure will have worked with various body types and therefore know how best to operate on you. Viewing before and after pictures is a good idea too.
2. Where will the surgery or procedure take place?
We recommend you check that the hospital or clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates health services within England. The CQC warns against having a cosmetic surgery at a location that can’t prove they are registered with them. You can also research their quality of service by reading the latest CQC inspection report found on their website.
And obviously, you’ll need to ask this question so you’ll know where to go!
3. What will the surgery or procedure involve?
Ensure you fully understand the extent of your surgery, the method your surgeon will use and why they favour that one.
4. How long will it take?
This will help you plan your day effectively. For example, if you’re having breast surgery, you’ll have measurements drawn on your chest and pre-tests to complete before the actual surgery. Knowing the approximate length of your visit is good for pick-ups too.
You should also ask whether you’ll need to stay in hospital, and how long for.
5. What type of anaesthesia will I receive?
You’ll be told whether a local or general anaesthesia will be used and why this type is chosen for your surgery. You should also check that a qualified anaesthetist or nurse anaesthetist will be administering the anaesthesia for safety purposes. They’ll be with you throughout your whole procedure, monitoring and helping take care of you.
Knowing which type will be used will also help you prepare for recovery.
6. What results are reasonable to expect and how long do they last?
This is important to help you manage your expectations and decide whether the procedure is worth it, especially if it’s a costly one. Ask your surgeon to clearly define a ‘’significant improvement’’, how long these results will last and whether you’ll need repeat procedures in the future.
Ask if there’s anything you can do to prolong your new look too. For example, if you’re having a tummy tuck, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will keep you looking trim.
7. What are the benefits of the surgery?
Will it give you the result you want? Will you look younger/thinner/bigger? Will you feel more confident? What have previous patients stated? Talking to these patients and looking up online reviews can be useful too.
8. What are the risks and potential complications?
No surgery is 100% risk-free no matter how qualified the surgeon is, and it’s important you know what could go wrong. Ask your surgeon what the risks are, what you can do to reduce risk and what they’ll do, as well as the effects.
As is stated on the British Association Of Plastic, Reconstructive And Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)’s website:
‘’BAPRAS recommends… that you only visit a plastic surgeon who does not shy away from talking about the risks or potential complications for each procedure. All good plastic surgeons should dedicate time during your initial consultation to discuss this and should be able to answer any questions you have.’’
9. What medical conditions do you need to be aware of / Am I a good candidate for surgery?
You must tell your surgeon if you suffer from any health issues, such as:
- Heart or Lung Disease.
These issues could lead to a higher complications rate should you go ahead with the surgery.
Your surgeon should also ask you about your lifestyle: whether you smoke; your alcohol and caffeine intake; how regularly you exercise. This will help them determine your suitability, and provide you with advice on necessary lifestyle changes prior to and following on from surgery.
10. What can I do to minimize pain post-surgery?
Can you take medication? Can you recommend any home remedies? Should you wear/avoid wearing certain clothing?
For example, after a breast lift, enlargement or reduction, your surgeon may recommend you wear a breast surgery recovery bra to reduce any swelling and bleeding.
11. What aftercare is available?
This is especially important in case of complications. Ensure you know who to contact, what their support entails (e.g. check-ups) and how long their support lasts.
‘’BAPRAS recommends… that you only visit a plastic surgeon who can give you a detailed account of the aftercare that you are entitled to following surgery. All good plastic surgeons and the hospitals in which they work should provide you with a clear pathway for advice and care if there are any problems’’
12. How long will my recovery last and what will it involve?
Especially if you’re working, have children to take of and/or other important obligations, you’ll need to know how your surgery could impact your daily schedule. What environments or situations (e.g. work, the gym, driving or flying) should you avoid and how long for?
Recovery may also involve side effects so it’s important you’re aware of them, and don’t confuse them with more serious complications.
If the recovery process worries you, ask if there are alternative treatments or surgeries that are less time-consuming and debilitating.
13. How much does the procedure cost?
Ensure you ask what the procedure costs and what this price covers, in case there are any hidden extras. Ask whether the price covers the procedure, the surgeon’s and anaesthetist’s fees, operating room/facility expenses, all materials involved, and if not, how much more this will cost. A seemingly reasonable deal may end up costing you more in the long run.
14. Your Concerns
We also recommend you bring up any concerns you may have, as your surgeon will be able to provide guidance and support should you require it.
Would you like to discuss a procedure with us? Call us today to discuss your options.