What questions should I ask my surgeon at the consultation?

The aim is to be as thoroughly informed as possible. When looking for a cosmetic surgeon, ensure that he/she is professionally qualified to carry out this type of surgery. Apply the following criteria to your surgeon:

  • Is a member of BAAPS/BAPRAS
  • Is listed on the GMC’s Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery
  • Had held or is currently holding an NHS consultant position
  • Is an FRCS (Plast)

Ask to see ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs: your surgeon should have photographs taken of pre-surgery and post-surgery patients. Make sure that your surgeon is experienced in the cosmetic procedure you wish to have. Check with him/her as to how many years they have performed this procedure and their success rates.

Your initial consultation should be between you and the surgeon: some clinics will set up a meeting between you and a ‘patient advisor’ or nurse. You want to talk to the person who is performing the actual surgery so ask to see the cosmetic surgeon.

Ask as many questions as you need to and ask the same question more than once until you are satisfied with the answers. Most surgeons are more than happy to answer patient’s questions. If your surgeon is reluctant or evasive then go somewhere else.

If the clinic or surgeon offers to treat other parts of the body or does ‘special deals’ then find another clinic/surgeon. This also applies if you feel that you are being pressured into making a decision. You want to have as much information as you need before making a decision. And, take your time before making that decision.

Here is a list of questions to ask your surgeon:

  • What can I expect from this surgery?
  • What type of anaesthetic is used?
  • What are the benefits of this procedure?
  • What are the risks of this surgery?
  • How long will the recovery take?
  • How long will I have to take off work?
  • If something goes wrong who do I contact?
  • What aftercare is available if something does go wrong?
  • Can I see you after the procedure?
  • How much scarring will there be?
  • How long do I have to wait before the stitches are removed or dissolve?
  • Can I expect much pain and bruising afterwards?
  • Will the procedure need to be repeated and when?
  • How much will it cost? Does that include any extras?
  • If I change my mind will I have to pay the full cost of the treatment?

You will probably think of more questions to ask but these are few of the most common ones asked by patients.

Your cosmetic surgeon has a duty of care and responsibility to you: but you also have to be honest at the consultation. If you have an underlying medical complaint or have experienced problems with surgery before then tell your surgeon. It is important to be as frank and as honest as you can. If you don’t then there is the risk of something going wrong which your surgeon didn’t know about beforehand.

If you have an allergy or allergies or are taking any medication then it is vital that you mention this.

Your surgeon should also mention about the risks associated with surgery in general. Surgery is safe but in a tiny minority of cases complications can occur. It is important that you are aware of these and take them into account when making your decision.

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