No activity is completely risk-free. Risk is just a part of being alive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to reduce risks and make your life a bit safer. One example is plastic surgery. All surgeries come with risks, but there are several ways you can help to ensure your safety and desired results from an elective procedure.
If you’re considering any type of plastic surgery, whether it’s a facelift, breast augmentation or tummy tuck, there are things you can do before the surgery to make sure you stay safe throughout the process.
Choose the Right Surgeon
One of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning a plastic surgery is selecting your surgeon. Picking a surgeon for your procedure should involve considerably more research than a simple Google search. You’ll want to dig deeper and verify that your surgeon has the right experience and training to deliver great results, safely.
The first thing to look for is board certification. A plastic surgeon should have certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Certification is voluntary, meaning that a plastic surgeon isn’t required to have it to practice. Becoming board-certified lets patients know that a surgeon is dedicated to their craft. It also means that a surgeon has completed a certain number of training hours beyond the minimum required to become medically licensed and that they have passed a challenging, specialty exam.
Board certification is valid for 10 years. Surgeons who want to remain board-certified need to complete continuing education requirements and demonstrate ongoing learning and knowledge in their specialty.
After confirming that a surgeon is board-certified, the next step to safe plastic surgery is confirming that a particular surgeon offers the surgery you want. Ideally, they will have a wealth of experience performing the surgery and perform it regularly. Surgical techniques are always evolving and changing. You want to work with someone who uses and understands the most up-to-date techniques and methods.
When a surgeon has extensive training and experience in the surgery you want, they are more likely to be able to customize the procedure based on your exact needs. Experienced surgeons also have a better understanding of what to do to minimize patient risk and to reduce the chance of complications.
Check Out the Facility
It’s not just your surgeon who should be certified. You also want to confirm that the facility where the surgery will take place is accredited by an organization such as the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF). An accredited surgery center needs to have the right equipment on hand to protect patients in the event of an emergency. It also needs to follow up-to-date safety protocols.
Accredited facilities need to be reaccredited every three years to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of patients and provide a safe setting for surgical procedures.
In addition to verifying that the facility is accredited, you might want to take a look at it before you schedule your surgery. Your surgeon might give you a tour of the surgical center as part of your consultation. If not, ask them to show you around. You want to choose a surgical center that is clean and comfortable.
Consider the Cost
Plastic surgery is expensive. It can be tempting to work with a surgeon who offers a discounted rate or whose prices seem much lower than average. But consider the potential hidden cost of going with the cheapest provider. You might be sacrificing safety and quality if you work with a provider who isn’t board-certified or who doesn’t practice in an accredited facility.
Although plastic surgery is pricey, many of the best providers offer financing and payment plans to help to make the process more affordable.
Talk to Other Patients
These days, few people make any decisions without consulting friends and family or without reading numerous reviews and recommendations first. If you’d read 10 reviews before deciding where to go for dinner, why wouldn’t you read at least that many before deciding who should perform an invasive medical procedure on you?
Talking to other patients, either in person or via online forums, can give you a good sense not only of a surgeon’s skill and expertise but also of their bedside manner. If the consensus seems to be that a particular surgeon is excellent, then you can feel confident that working with them is the right choice.
Trust Your Gut
While the opinions of others can be helpful, in the end, you’re the person having the surgery. If anything feels off or you don’t feel fully safe at any point in the process, it’s a good idea to go with your gut instinct. Only work with a plastic surgeon you feel you can trust and you feel comfortable with.
Dr. Paul Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon with an accredited surgical center in Houston, Texas. He’s regularly been named a top doctor and has rave reviews from prior patients. To learn more about the surgeries Dr. Vitenas offers and what you can do to make your procedure as safe as possible, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation today.