11 Essential Steps for a Successful and Safe Plastic Surgery
Written by: Stuart A. Linder, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Beverly Hills, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
- Make sure that your doctor is Board Certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery, as well as a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery. There are absolutely no substitutes for these credentials in the United States of America!
- Check to ensure that your plastic surgeon performs hundreds of the procedure that you desire, on an annual basis.
- Ask about the doctor who will be putting you to sleep, (the Anesthesiologist), he/she should be Board Certified with the American Board of Anesthesia (a physician).
- Inquire about the surgery center which the operation will be performed at, it should be certified (for example, Medicare and State Licensure).
- The nursing staff should be exceptional, including a separate nurse in the recovery room and the operating room (circulating nurse). It is helpful if they have many years of experience as well as ICU training.
- In examining the doctor's photos preoperatively (for example, on breast augmentation), frontal views are extremely important to determine the symmetry of the folds and to determine the quality of the doctor's work, for oblique/lateral views can be very misleading.
- During your consultation examination, it may be a good idea to ask to see other patients who have undergone the surgery that you are having. (Obviously, with given permission from the postoperative patients.)
- Media exposure. Simply because a doctor or surgeon is on television is not enough to prove that they meet the qualifications for a safe and predictable surgery. Doctors who are on television every day, especially plastic surgery shows, often do not show the complete postoperative care of the patient, nor the complications that may occur from the surgery and therefore can be very misleading to the public. Documentary shows, such as the Discovery Health Channel are very useful for the public's viewing; they show plastic surgeons in a professional and ethical manner taking care of patients from both preoperative and postoperative views. Again, make sure the surgeon is Board Certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. There are no exceptions to this rule.
- Multiple postoperative visits are required after any surgery. Patients normally will be seen the day after surgery to examine, remove dressings, replace dressings and to look for any signs of infection or bleeding (hematomas for breast augmentation). All patients are then seen one week to 10 days later, at which time sutures are removed. Follow-up appointments are extremely important and must be made and kept.
- Look at the surgeons approach to surgery and technique: theses are essentially the safety net for the doctor. For example, the periareolar approach is a straight shot for placement of saline and silicone implants for augmentation mammoplasty procedures. The transaxillary or transumbilical approaches are obviously done from a further distance to the centralization of the breast implant, and may lead to much more difficulty in obtaining symmetry and centralizing the implant in a correct position.
- During your preoperative consultation, make sure that your lists of questions are thoroughly answered before you leave. If you have any questions on the consent forms, be sure to direct them to your doctor.
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