In General

Traps abound in the realm of cosmetic surgery. One way to avoid potential pitfalls is to be aware of them. Print this page and keep it handy. Some of these items might help protect you from an adverse outcome. In addition to the general tips and traps listed here, you will find specific ones along with each procedure on this site.

Questions to Ask when Scheduling an Appointment

When calling to schedule your appointment, ask questions freely. Expect the staff to be courteous, informative, and accommodating. If they are not pleasant before surgery, they certainly will not be afterwards.

  • Is the doctor certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? Beware of other board certification even if it sounds similar or better.
  • What is the surgery fee? Does the cost include the anesthesiologist, the facility, and the implant?
  • What is the consultation fee? Is it deducted from the cost of surgery?
  • Is the doctor punctual? If so, then expect to be seen promptly.

Checklist for Your Plastic Surgeon:

  • Is she certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Did he explain procedures, risks, and alternatives in detail and with clarity?
  • Did she describe recovery time and postoperative care?
  • Did she convey realistic expectations?
  • Did he answer questions thoroughly?
  • Did he listen to your concerns?
  • Did she make you feel comfortable?

Unless the answer to each of these questions is a resounding “yes,” then you should consider seeing another plastic surgeon.

Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon During the Consultation

  • Will I be awake or asleep for surgery? Consider general, sedation, and local anesthesia. Note that you may sleep during either general or sedation anesthesia, although the depth of sleep varies.
  • How do you avoid the telltale signs of surgery? Bring a list of telltale signs to the doctor’s office (you will
    find them on this site on the page which describes the procedure you seek).
  • May I see pictures of others who have had the same procedure? Know that most will show you their best pictures, so this exercise may be of limited help. This is actually most useful if you dislike the results you see, because it tells you that your surgeon’s best results are below your expectations and it is time to see someone else.
  • May I speak with others who have had the same procedure? Know that most doctors will refer you only to their satisfied patients. This is not generally a useful activity.
  • Do you have privileges to perform this procedure in a hospital? Even if performed in the office, your surgeon should have hospital privileges to perform the procedure as evidence of his or her qualifications.
  • Will surgery be performed in the office or hospital? If your surgeon suggests the office, be certain that the office is accredited for your procedure and that the surgeon has hospital privileges to perform the procedure you seek.
  • If surgery takes longer than expected, who will pay the extra cost? This is an important question
    when surgery is performed in the hospital because the operating room and anesthesia fees may accrue hourly.
  • Do you charge for revision surgery? Know that some procedures have as high as 15-20% revision rate.
    Unless you want to get stuck with another big bill, it is best to establish this ahead of time. You cannot simply assume that you will not need revision surgery.
  • Will I be charged for follow-up appointments?

    Expect at least one year of follow-up appointments at no charge.