Considering the recent events around cosmetic surgery, I felt it imperative to give you my top 5 tips for selecting a surgeon you can trust. It can be very confusing for the average person to know what they want and what they are looking for. You don’t know, what you don’t know. So, something as simple as the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon, can have the biggest implications. Most people assume that a surgeon is a surgeon and doctor knows best. This is not quite the case in the world of Plastic and cosmetic surgery. Any doctor with a basic degree can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, even if they do not have any formal qualifications in surgery. Call it a loop hole or just a poorly regulated system, that is not going to change the fact that you don’t know, who is the right choice for you. Below are the core elements you want to consider when selecting someone to perform surgery on you. There are many factors to consider in this process and this list is not the be all and end all but it will point you in the right direction. It’s your body and surgery is serious. No one can guarantee the work they do but by following these 5 tips will give you the best chance possible to get the results you desire.
Do your homework. As already stated, any doctor can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon. It is scary to think that you can place your trust in someone with a fancy Facebook or Instagram page that has no surgical training. Always make sure that the surgeon you choose, has had the appropriate training to perform the surgery you are after. Firstly, they should be a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and listed as a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. This means that they have completed the required training specific to plastic and reconstructive surgery. Further to this, you can check if they are a member of either Australasian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). These are the 2 main bodies that represent this group of surgeons and provide plenty of ongoing education to keep their knowledge current.
Ask your surgeon about their specialty. Even though a plastic surgeon is trained in a range of procedures, some will only specialise in certain aspects. Some surgeons prefer to mainly do reconstructive work whilst others may prefer only aesthetic procedures. You don’t want a surgeon that specialises in breast and body work to be working on your face and vice versa. Most good surgeons will refer you on to a colleague if your requirements are outside of their level of expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask to see before and after photos of the surgeon’s previous work. This is not so much to identify what you will look like after surgery as everyone is different but to identify that the surgery they are performing, achieves great results. Most surgeons will list the types of surgery they perform on their web page, check this out prior to the consult. Preparation is always key.
Make sure you shop around. It is always advisable to have 2-3 consultations with different surgeons to identify all your options. Different doctors have different points of view and different ways of treating the same issues. For some people, price will be the driving factor but this may lead you to make poor decisions in relation to the surgeon you choose. Doctors with no qualification will generally charge a lower price but if something goes wrong, they generally do not have the skill to rectify the problem. This often leads to having to see a plastic surgeon to do reconstruction surgery to correct your botched surgery and can sometimes cost 2-3 times more than the original surgery. You must ask yourself, is it worth the risk?
It’s not always about the price. You should feel comfortable and have confidence in your surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to answer all your question in a way the you understand. By meeting your surgeon, you can gauge what their bedside manner is like and see if you get along. One surgeon may offer a lifetime of check-ups whilst others have a set period. It’s important to shop around and find what appeals to you most. Be comfortable with the surgeon you choose, you are placing your health and wellbeing in their hands.
Make sure you can afford the surgery you are after. Whilst there are many finance options available to consumers, all too often I hear from patients that are not happy with their results and have a painful reminder via their monthly deduction for finance (sometimes for several years after the surgery). This can be soul destroying, to be making repayments for years, for surgery that you are not happy with or that went horribly wrong. Weigh up your options and give careful thought to your situation. If the surgery is a want rather than a need, make sure your finances are in order and are manageable. Most millennials want everything yesterday and rush into decisions without weighing up the options. Sometimes it’s better to save up for what you are after. This gives you the time to do your homework and shop around. Plastic and cosmetic surgery is not something that should be rushed.
Make sure your surgeon is performing your procedure in a licenced and accredited facility. Generally Much of the negative attention recently has been due to surgery being performed in unlicensed facilities. Whilst this may save you some money, there may not be all the appropriate emergency equipment or infection control measures in place. In a licenced facility, you will always be assured that the facility is meeting the stringent standards set out to give you the best possible outcome for your surgery. Some scrupulous operators will display an accreditation certificate for Iso9001 but this does not mean they are a licenced facility. To find the ‘Current Listing of Commonwealth declared hospitals’, head to http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/hospitals2.htm. You will be able to access either an excel or pdf file with all the current licenced hospitals.
There are many facets that need to be considered when having surgery. For those that don’t know where to start, we have done the hard work for you. Head to www.trustedsurgeons.com.au to find a surgeon you can trust. All members of Trusted Surgeons are members of either ASPS or ASAPS.