Plastic Surgery Blog
Booking your very first consultation for a surgical procedure that you’ve been thinking about and dreaming of for a long time is super exciting and a pretty big deal! This is the very first step towards your transformative journey, and as much as you probably can’t wait for that first consult, you may also be feeling nervous, a little overwhelmed, and not too sure what you should be asking your surgeon.
We’re here to dispel your anxieties and to help you prepare to meet with your surgeon for the very first time. Here are some of the questions we think are most important to ask during your consultation in order to be as prepared as possible for your upcoming surgery.
Although you may have already made up your mind about this being your surgeon, your first consultation is all about getting to know your plastic surgeon and feeling 100% comfortable with their experience and putting your well-being in their hands. So don’t be shy about questioning your surgeon about their experience with your particular surgery: how many cases have they performed?
You may be able to find before and after pictures of your surgical procedure online, and even a small sample on your surgeon’s website, but the best way to get an idea of what your final result can potentially look like, and also of your particular surgeon’s work, is by asking to see their before and after pictures during your consultation.
Most surgeons will have a large binder of before and after pictures of your particular surgery, especially if they’re specialized in the procedure, and will be happy to share it with you and answer any questions that you might have. This can help you see how different decisions and surgical approaches can affect different outcomes and you can discuss with your surgeon which choices will best create the look you want.
This is a really important question. You know you’re in the best surgical hands when patient safety is at the forefront of your surgeon’s practice. Examples of questions to ask when thinking about patient safety can include things like: who will perform my anesthesia? Where will my surgery be performed?
You want to have a clear idea of what surgery day will look like, what your surgeon’s surgical plan will be, how you should prepare for your surgery, as well as what you should expect from your recovery. You might feel a bit nervous about your surgery day (it’s super common, as it’s a big deal!) but you should also feel confident knowing and anticipating each step you’re about to take.
Because you’re having a cosmetic surgery, there are certain things that are otherwise normally covered by OHIP that won’t be for plastic surgery, such as required blood tests and/or an ECG.
Also be sure to ask whether you may need to pay extra for certain medications, additional surgical garments, as well as scar therapy products. Answers to these questions can help you create a solid financial plan for your surgery. We’ve also got a rundown of how to finance plastic surgery if you’ve got more questions about that.
This is an important question, as you’ll want to know how to plan around your surgery and how much time you’ll need to take off work for your procedure and recovery. Generally, the answer to this is often dependent on the type of surgery you’re having, as well as what you do for a living. There may also be a number of physical restrictions, such as exercise and heavy lifting that you’ll want to ask about.
Your surgeon will have a number of pre and post-operative guidelines that you’ll need to follow carefully in order to ensure your safety as well as to facilitate a full and swift recovery and best results.
We often get a lot of questions around smoking and drinking and surgery. At our clinic, patients are typically advised to stop smoking (including cannabis) for 1 month prior to and 1 month after surgery. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen carried by your blood cells, and can hinder recovery and may even lead to necrosis of the healing tissue during recovery. Edibles and alcohol are typically fine, but not the night before your surgery as this can affect your anesthesia.
Generally, the answer to this will be 100% yes. You’ll need to arrange for a caregiver for the day of your surgery, and possibly for the first full week of your recovery. This person should be over the age of 18, responsible and trustworthy. They will need to pick you up following your surgery.
They will also need to receive postoperative instructions from your nurse at the time of discharge and stay with you overnight. That being said, no nursing experience is required. A friend or family member is perfect.
Not surprisingly, many patients are worried about how they will manage their pain following surgery. This is a great question to ask your surgeon if you’re worried about pain levels following your procedure.
You can rest assured that you’ll be prescribed medications to address pain, as well as other issues such as constipation, nausea, bleeding and swelling that all contribute to the pain and discomfort that most patients tend to experience following surgery. Patients are instructed on what to take and when to stay ahead of the pain and maintain a reasonable amount of comfort.
You’ll probably want to know when you can see your final results and when you can expect all of your swelling to subside. So don’t forget to ask!
The answer will depend on what procedure you had, but in most cases, although initial results might be visible immediately, or within 4-6 weeks once bruising and major swelling has subsided, for more complex surgical procedures (such as rhinoplasty) it can take up to a year for you to truly see your final result. But during that time, any remaining swelling is so subtle it’s really only noticeable to you and your surgeon.
Board certified plastic surgeons set their surgical fees at a certain amount because they take into account a number of medical costs that are included in these fees such as anesthesia, specialized surgical equipment and tools, operating fees, and nursing costs. Surgical fees may also cover your pre-operative and post-operative care in addition to your regularly scheduled follow up appointments.
All this to say, because the cost of surgery encompasses all things that are going to ensure that your surgery is safe and effective, and that you fully recover with the best result possible, these fees should not be negotiable. And if you are negotiating on price with your surgeon, they are potentially cutting on costs that can affect the safety of your procedure.
If your surgeon is offering you a lower price in exchange for posting your surgery on social media, this is a definite cause for concern. It’s a warning signal that your safety and giving you the best result possible is not your surgeon’s primary concern—popularity and having a following are.
To be clear, this is not always a “red flag.” Some great surgeons run their practices where they may not initially see their patient at their first consultation, but you should find out at which point in your journey you WILL meet your surgeon. If it will only happen on the day of your surgery, that’s a red flag.
Consultations at The Plastic Surgery Clinic are always free so that you can ask all of the above (and much, much more) and have the benefit of getting answers from the experts before you make any financial commitments. We don’t want you to feel any pressure to make a decision before you’re 100% ready and you know for sure what you can expect from a potential surgery.