If you are a voyeur like most people you will enjoy all the BBL, Mommy Makeover, breast augmentation before and after pictures, Dr 90210 episodes, YouTube videos, and blogs on social media. I encourage you to learn from them but don’t stop there. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is an excellent resource for learning about procedures and finding surgeons near you. They can be found at: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/

Remember  if you post a medical question on a plastic surgery information site and it is not addressed to one of the surgeons, the answers that you receive is not professional advice. I participate in a few message boards. When I reply to nursing related questions, even when I have lots of experience with the subject or I can provide clinical evidence to support a response, I advise that they discuss with their doctor or surgeon.

Next reach out to people who have actually had procedures (family, friends, or online community members) and find out what surgeon they would recommend and why. I thought my surgeon did an excellent job with my procedures and if that is all that matters for someone then I will recommend him. If on the other hand finding a surgeon who is both skilled at his/her art form and understands the importance of providing a comprehensive offering to their patients (nursing care, injury and infection prevention, domestic help, transportation services, etc) there may be other surgeons that I would suggest visiting.

Then compile a list of at least 5 surgeons and begin the real research. At this point everyone has given you their recommendations and opinions but don’t stop there. Keep in mind you don’t need the smarts of a rocket scientist or even need to spend the time in research that a law clerk would. What you have to do is take the necessary time to really learn about the surgeon. The next few steps will help you find the pertinent information quickly.

 Make sure that the surgeon is credentialed meaning they are board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgeons which can be found here: www.abplsurg.org  Check for board certification at http://certificationmatters.org/

Once you have narrowed down 2-3 surgeons go to their websites or call the offices to find out if you can schedule a FREE consultation. If you can afford to throw down $250 - $400 a pop for a consult go for it but I would suggest seeing the free ones first because those fees can add up quickly.

Be prepared when going to your appointments. Have a list of questions written down and write down the answers as you receive them. It may help if you bring someone with you who is a good listener and who is also not afraid to ask questions. Beware of surgeons who make surgical procedures out to be easy breezy – most aren’t. All surgery carries some risk and you want to choose a surgeon who informs you of those risks. You want a surgeon that is comfortable, open and honest when discussing the risks associated with the procedure(s). Also they should inform you about the measures taken to avoid those risks, the role you play and after your procedure what you will need to do to achieve the best possible outcome.

 Note: See the list of questions below to ask during surgical consultations. Keep in mind questions pertaining to scar reduction and aftercare are usually not included. During your consultation you will want to ask your surgeon about post surgery recovery. Ask about pre-surgery soap and supplies. Ask if they recommend any at-home nursing services in your area. Having help with daily bathing, drain and dressing care, medication reminders, ambulation, meal preparation, and even pet care can make all the difference. Use this checklist as a guide during your consultation (Source: American Society of Plastic Surgery Guide to Safe Plastic Surgery)

    1. Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
    2. Are you a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons?
    3. Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
    4. How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
    5. Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
    6. Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
    7. How many procedures of this type have you performed?
    8. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
    9. Where and how will you perform my procedure?
    10. How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
    11. What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
    12. (If planning to get pregnant) Are there problems with breastfeeding after implants?
    13. What are the known side-effects or complications arising from the implant?
    14. How long will implants last?
    15. What is the implant made of?
    16. How are complications handled?
    17. What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of my surgery?
    18. What type of scar reduction/scar management protocol do you have in place?
    19. Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for each procedure and what results are reasonable for me?

    A really good surgeon will hear your concerns and answer your questions accordingly.

      Check back for our upcoming Blog Article....Scar reduction: Scarring in ethnic skin types