What you need to know By Bri Williams, RN, BSN
If you are considering plastic surgery, there are several things to think about. This is a decision you will live with for the rest of your life, and it is important that you select a surgeon who can deliver the results you are after in the safest way possible. Things to consider:
How do I select a surgeon?
Your surgeon needs to be a cosmetic or plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is the only board that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties and ensures that they are held to the highest standards of education, training, safety and ethics. A cosmetic surgeon may also be certified by other specialty boards, but it is important they also have American Board of Plastic Surgery certification.
During your consultation your surgeon will show you before and after pictures of their work (if they don’t, that is a red flag). This will give you an opportunity to see their work and what you can expect for your own results. Look for before pictures that are most like you and ask if you can expect similar results. Knowing what to expect for results can help you to determine if it is “worth it.” Your surgeon should help you to set realistic expectations.
Another thing to consider when selecting your surgeon is their bedside manner. Are you comfortable asking questions, or do you feel rushed or brushed off? Have they reviewed other non-invasive options that could help you achieve the result you are after, or is surgery the only option? Are they upfront about the risks and potential side effects? You need to be able to have open and honest communication with your surgeon.
It is wise to set up several consultations with different surgeons so you can find the perfect fit. Consultations are generally free, but some may charge a small fee that would be applied to your surgery should you select them.
Recovery and downtime?
You will want to ensure that you can set aside enough time from your regular life to recover. Time off work, or a break from household responsibilities, will be crucial to a safe and full recovery. Some surgeries require an overnight hospital stay, but most allow you to go home after surgery. Ensure you have assistance at home as you heal. During your consult ask about follow-up care, how complications are handled and what your surgeon’s policies are should revisions be necessary.
Will my insurance cover my surgery?
Most plastic surgeries are considered elective and cosmetic, so your insurance will not cover them, and you will pay the entire cost out of pocket. In fact, should a complication arise as a result of your surgery, for instance an infection, your insurance may not cover that as well. Be sure to investigate your coverage prior to surgery and ask your surgeon’s office if they offer any supplemental policies that cover complications.
Some reconstructive surgeries for issues such as congenital defects or post-mastectomy breast reconstruction may be covered. Your surgeon’s office can help you to verify coverage. The decision to have plastic surgery can be life altering, and being prepared will help to ensure you have a positive experience and outcome.