If nature fails to provide, then go visit the plastic surgeon. That’s what millions of Americans do.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports almost 12 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed last year alone – a 7 percent increase from 2006 and up 59 percent from 2000.
If you’re among the millions who are considering plastic surgery, here are some important points to ponder.
#1: Make sure you meet with the actual doctor or surgeon during your initial consultation.
Meeting the plastic surgeon is essential in order for clear communication about the patient’s desires and what can realistically be achieved.
“First impressions are very important. Call the office ahead of time and see if the staff is friendly and helpful, or if they treat you like a number. And when you do have the consultation, make sure you feel like the surgeon is listening to you and that you feel comfortable with him or her.
#2: If you have a picture of someone with a particular feature that you like, bring it to the consultation.
This can help the plastic surgeon to understand your desires. Computer imaging also allows would-be patients to see the predicted results of their procedure. However, people also need to realize that sometimes these photos are not realistic, or would require drastic changes that cannot be fully achieved through cosmetic procedures.
#3: If it will take a combination of procedures to achieve the results you want, considering more than one at a time to save time and money.
Plastic surgery requires recovery time. Many patients find it more convenient and cost-effective to undergo more than one procedure at a time.
In my personal medical practice, we perform as many procedures in one sitting as is safely possible. Safety is an issue to consider when bundling procedures, so do not over do it but it certainly makes sense to have two, even three small procedures at once.
Another hint I can give you to save some money is to make yourself ready at the spur of the moment. It’s a fact of scheduling life in a busy plastic surgeon’s practice that last minute cancellations take place. Being available on short notice when the surgeon has an unexpected opening in his or her surgical schedule can also help reduce costs because many surgeons are willing to give a reduced fee in order to not waste expensive (and already scheduled) operating room time.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon directly what can be done to reduce the total cost of your procedure(s) without compromising the results.
#4: Talk to former patients.
Most plastic surgeons can show you before and after photos of previous patient, but don’t stop there. Ask to speak with former patients.
Many people get referrals from friends or acquaintances who have already had cosmetic surgery, that’s a great idea too. Others get references from their primary care physician or another medical specialist. Both can be helpful.
However, if you haven’t had that opportunity to speak with one of the plastic surgeon’s former patients, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for contact names and phone numbers.
#5: Check qualifications.
Perhaps the most important advice to remember before undergoing cosmetic surgery is to check the credentials of the surgeon.
A growing number of medical practitioners, pressured by the steady reduction in medical reimbursement, are deciding to supplement their income by dabbling in the cosmetic world without specialized training.
Board certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is the gold standard for cosmetic surgery patients. ABMS is a 75-year-old, nonprofit organization established to oversee and regulate the certification of medical specialties. ABMS certification involves rigorous training and examinations for medical specialists to ensure the highest quality of education and care.
Out of the 24 specialties recognized by ABMS only four have emphasis in cosmetic care. These are dermatology, plastic surgery, otolaryngology (ENT) with its subspecialty of facial plastic surgery and ophthalmology with its subspecialty of oculoplastic surgery.