Questions for a Cosmetic Surgeon

Have you ever tried on a blouse only to be annoyed that it was snug around the hips and puffy around the bust? If you aren’t filling out your clothing in the way you’d like, you may be considering breast implants (If you are thinking about it, check out the Natrelle pre-consultation kit for some fun experimentation with different implants in your own home!). One of the most important aspects of getting a boob job is finding the right doctor. In addition to suggestions from friends, you can get names of cosmetic surgeons from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Ask some of these questions during your consultation.
1. Do you have board certification?
Although there are a few different boards that certify cosmetic surgeons, The American Board of Plastic Surgery is a major one. Just make sure that you’ve checked out the doctor’s credentials and even verify their answer directly with the board.
2. How often have you done breast augmentation?
Very few people would feel comfortable knowing that they are the guinea pig – but each person’s level of comfort will vary beyond that. You may be fine working with a surgeon who has gotten glowing recommendations after only 25 surgeries or you may want them to have 200 under their belt; the minimum is often a personal decision, but it is an important question to ask.
3. Do you have hospital privileges for this surgery? Where?
This answer just means that your doctor has been able to meet the (often high) standards that hospitals require to allow them to perform procedures there. Plus, you have the comfort of knowing that if something goes wrong and you need to be admitted to the hospital, there’s a back-up plan in place.
4. Where will you perform the procedure?
Although breast enlargement can usually occur at an outpatient surgical center or even at your doctor’s office, your doctor should evaluate whether your personal situation warrants more intense care. Your health and safety should be everyone’s top priority; but keep in mind that hospitals are usually more expensive.
5. Who is part of the support team?
Doctors always work as part of a team so it’s good to know if the main assistants are beginners or veterans. The anesthesiologist can also be a particularly important player, especially if the surgeon plans to use more complicated anesthesia.
6. Do you use local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or IV sedation?
In part, the answer will depend on your situation and health history. Although local anesthesia allows you to communicate during surgery and is generally the safest, least expensive, and most often used option, your surgeon may determine that there is a reason to use IV sedation (“twilight”) or general anesthesia.
7. What risks or complications can I expect from having the procedure done?
If this doesn’t come up during your consultation and your surgeon pretends that implants are all “sunshine and roses,” run! Although the procedure and implants are generally considered safe, there are important things to consider about how this could affect your ability to breastfeed, breast sensation, cancer detection, and other aspects.
8. How much will the surgery and appointments cost – and can I get that in writing?
There can be a lot of hidden costs associated with breast augmentation including fees for the operating room, anesthesia, and other things. Ask in advance!
9. Can you show me examples of your work?
Because it is a relatively common practice to show stock images to protect patient privacy, make sure you ask whether the pictures that you’re shown are generic photos or the results of actual surgeries performed by that specific doctor.
(Guest Post by Angelina)

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