Whether you’ve considered having plastic surgery for some time or the thought just popped into your mind, it isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Every major surgical procedure requires thoughtful consideration before undertaking, and plastic surgery is no different than the rest. Because plastic surgery is an optional cosmetic procedure, it’s important that you feel confident about the reasons you want the surgery, as well as understand the costs, risks, and procedures involved.
Performed by the right doctor, under the right circumstances, plastic surgery can have an enormous impact on your happiness, health, and overall wellbeing. While determining whether to go forward with plastic surgery can often feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re considering plastic surgery, here are seven questions you should ask beforehand:
1. Why do I want plastic surgery?
Because plastic surgery is an optional cosmetic procedure, it’s important to consider why you want it. There are a number of legitimate reasons to undergo plastic surgery. Perhaps you have naturally small breasts and would feel more whole with a breast augmentation. Perhaps you have bags beneath your eyes and would feel more confident with a lift. Perhaps you have undergone a trauma that has left a part of your body disfigured. Any of these reasons and more can be sufficient. It is simply important that you know why you want this procedure and you are the one who wants it, not someone else!
2. Is now the right time?
Even if you know why you want plastic surgery, it’s also helpful to consider whether now is the right time. A number of factors might go into this decision. If you want another child, this may not be the time to have plastic surgery to remove those annoying stretch marks. If you are feeling stressed because of other life events, now may not be the time to undergo surgery that could be postponed. Just because you’re sure about wanting the procedure does not mean you have to have it right away. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the timing of the surgery, that you’re ready for it, and feel prepared for the post-op recovery period, as well.
3. Do I feel well-informed about the costs, risks, and procedures involved?
In order to fully understand the costs, risks, and overall procedure of your particular surgery, you’ll need to sit down with your surgeon to go over it. Remember: no question is too simple. It’s essential that you feel comfortable going into this procedure, weighing the risks against the benefits. The important thing is that you understand that plastic surgery is real surgery with real benefits and real potential risks.
4. How will I pay for it?
This nagging question is never any fun to ask, but it’s important to consider whether your insurance policy cover every type of cosmetic surgery. If it doesn’t, how will you pay for it? This may be a good gauge to help you realize whether you really want the surgery. You can get some companies that specialize in helping pay for cosmetic surgery, like CareCredit. Or you may choose to save your own funds for it. The main thing is to make sure you can truly afford it at this time.
5. Is my surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
The amazing, but sad thing: while any surgeon can perform plastic surgery, only plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have undergone the real training, examination, and certification to perform these cosmetic procedures. The board has high criteria for its doctors, and if you chose a surgeon certified by the ABPS, you’re ensuring that your surgeon is up to top industry standards.
6. Does my surgeon have hospital privileges?
If something during the surgery goes wrong, it’s important that you receive the best care possible. That’s why you should ask whether your surgeon has hospital privileges, which means you won’t be simply passed on to another doctor who knows nothing about you or the plastic surgery you just underwent. Make sure your surgeon is a member of one of the two major plastic surgery organizations, ASPS or ASAPS, as both require full board certification by the ABPS and perform ambulatory surgery in accredited operating rooms in the USA.
7. What do the people who love me think?
While you should never get plastic surgery simply because someone else wants you to get it, often the people who love you and know you best, be they friends, a spouse, or a family member, can shed light onto whether plastic surgery is the right step for you. Sometimes, simply talking it over with one of them can have a big impact on your knowing if surgery is a good idea. Take the time to consider this decision fully so that you leave your procedure feeling happy and whole. Also, make sure you have someone you trust caring for you post-op. Post-op is a critical period of healing, which is why I always give my patients my personal cell number to call me with any questions.