What to ask before undergoing cosmetic surgery?
1. Do the benefits exceed the risks?
This is a real surgical procedure with real medical/surgical risks. Potential patient should be very familiar with the procedure in question as well potential benefits and possible complications. Patients are urged not to rush into any procedure until they have done their due diligence. Consult with your board certified plastic surgeon to determine whether you are a reasonable (i.e. “safe” candidate for surgery).
2. Have you explored other (non-surgical) options?
So you have decided to undergo cosmetic surgery? Have you explored non-surgical alternatives i.e. diet, exercise etc? Cosmetic surgery is not a shortcut, nor is it
a fast-forward. Cosmetic surgery is meant as an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle. The goal it is to enhance/improve your appearance, but it is not a replacement for a balanced healthy lifestyle (including diet and regular exercise). Additionally, younger patients should not consider cosmetic surgery until development is complete.
3. Do you have realistic expectations?
Cosmetic surgery, while capable of dramatic changes, has its limits. There are things that can be done (surgically) and there are things that cannot. A potential patient must take the time to complete an honest self-assessment. Why are you pursuing cosmetic surgery? Is this intervention likely to achieve the results you are seeking? Your board certified plastic surgeon can give you an honest evaluation and provide a reasonable assessment of outcome.
4. Is this procedure going to change your life?
Cosmetic surgery can do many things. However, it is important to understand what it cannot do. Cosmetic surgery is not a means to an end i.e. wealth, romance, self esteem. None of these things are rooted in external beauty/appearance. Patients pursuing surgery for similar reasons are likely to be disappointed. Before surgery ask yourself: Am I undergoing this procedure for the right reasons?
5. How well do you know your doctor?
Contrary to the popular phrase “What you do not know can hurt you” in the case of cosmetic surgery. There are many practitioners of cosmetic surgery, only a select few are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Your board certified plastic surgeon is uniquely qualified to evaluate you and your concerns and develop a safe and effective treatment plan. Certification assures graduation from an accredited medical school and completion of at least six years of surgical training following medical school (with a minimum of three years plastic surgery residency). They have also passed comprehensive oral and written exams. Additionally, patients should verify that surgery is being performed in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified surgical facilities.