Cosmetic/plastic surgery is a serious undertaking that involves major financial and personal investment. Thus, choosing a cosmetic surgeon and/or clinic should be taken seriously. Since you’re entrusting this surgeon with your physical appearance, health, and even your life, he/she should be someone who makes you feel safe and comfortable. A botched surgery can cause physical and mental scarring. In fact, for most, it’s impossible to recover from botched surgery without some form of counselling or therapy. Unfortunately, it can be a long, painful experience, and much more complicated than a normal procedure.
To avoid issues caused by a bad cosmetic surgery experience, it’s imperative to research and choose a reputable surgeon and clinic. Your surgeon should also have certain qualifications, such as board certification. However, the right surgeon and clinic for you will offer more than simply basic qualifications. They’ll also:
- Make you feel comfortable
- Ask questions
- Offer board certification
- Avoid ‘overselling’ additional services
- Have an accredited operation facility
With all these things in mind, you should find the best person to perform your plastic surgery. Below is more about these qualifications and how they can help you find the right cosmetic surgeon.
Surgeon should make you feel comfortable
Once again, plastic surgery is a major undertaking. It can be stressful for both the patient and the surgeon. A natural ‘comfortableness’ and rapport can reduce this stress. It can also reduce the chances of complications. However, with good surgeons, complications are rare. A good surgeon will also ensure you feel comfortable before proceeding with even the most basic component of the surgical process. Trust and ‘comfortableness’ ensure your surgery runs smoothly. If your surgeon is trustworthy, you can rest assured that if a complication arises, he/she will provide optimal care.
When evaluating if a cosmetic surgeon makes you feel comfortable, consider things like:
- If the surgeon provides safe recommendations personalized to you and your needs
- How friendly, helpful, and accommodating the staff is to you
- Your level of comfort when asking questions about the procedure or expressing fears and concerns
- The surgeon’s level of expertise and experience with your type of procedure
How well the surgeon explains the surgery, as well as the pre-op and post-op procedures
- If you feel relaxed in the surgeon’s presence and a sense of calmness when talking to him/her
Surgeon should ask questions
Although you’re the patient, the surgeon should ask you questions. Asking questions helps him/her tailor services to your needs. These questions also ensure you’re mentally and physically prepared for a cosmetic procedure. Physical and psychological evaluations are components of the holistic treatment cosmetic surgeons provide. To provide this holistic treatment, the surgeon must ask questions. Questions uncover your motivations for surgery, mental preparedness, specific wants and needs, post-op expectations, and any fears or concerns.
Your surgeon should also ask health questions that aren’t answered in your medical records. These questions will most likely pertain to the procedure you’re seeking. If the surgeon doesn’t ask about your motivations, expectations, and medical history relating to the procedure, it’s likely he/she will miss mental or medical conditions that may cause complications or decrease the surgery’s chances of success. In fact, it’s a major red flag if your surgeon doesn’t ask any or too few questions. Of course, you should ask questions too. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery provides a list of essential questions to ask before having a procedure performed.
Surgeon should be board-certified
When it comes to choosing a cosmetic surgeon, board certification is a must! To perform surgery in the United States, every plastic surgeon must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This certification must also be visible to or easily confirmed by patients. Board certification ensures every surgeon is licensed and qualified to perform surgery. It also shows that a plastic surgeon employs safe, ethical, and efficacious practices. Always check a surgeon’s medical license and board certification before proceeding with treatment. If these licenses and certifications aren’t readily available, look the surgeon up on the American Board of Plastic Surgery. A surgeon who doesn’t have his/her licenses and certifications displayed may not be the surgeon for you!
Surgeon should not ‘oversell’ additional procedures
Selling procedures is NOT a part of a cosmetic surgeon’s job. However, surgeons may recommend additional procedures if they prevent complications, unsatisfactory results, future cosmetic issues, or unnecessary surgeries. Procedures that don’t complement your current procedure should never be offered by your surgeon. For example, liposuction in the belly isn’t a complement to breast augmentation. It’s also not generally something that can affect the efficaciousness of breast augmentation. So, if your surgeon is suggesting additional procedures (without a proper explanation) that don’t affect medical or aesthetic outcomes, it’s a major cause for concern.
Surgeon should have an accredited operating facility
Cosmetic surgery can’t be legally performed outside of an accredited surgical facility or ambulatory care centre. Approved and accredited facilities follow strict health codes, regulations, and standards. They’re also outfitted with the proper equipment and tools needed to perform surgery and keep physicians, patients, and the physician’s staff safe. Accredited surgical facilities must also have low mortality rates and a less than .5% occurrence of serious complications. Thus, an accredited facility is the safest place to have surgery. You can check a facility’s certification at Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, or Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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