With the proliferation of TV shows and dramas about cosmetic surgery, you could be forgiven for thinking that getting a procedure done was no more difficult than going to the dentist.
And what is more, that all cosmetic surgeons were handsome and rich and cared for their patients?
Cosmetic surgery is no different from any other profession, there are good surgeons, who keep up to date with medical trends, who invest thousands every year honing their skills and knowledge, and who deeply care for both their profession and their patients.
Then there are those surgeons who see cosmetic surgery as just another way to earn money, they may attend a course or two and maybe a convention once a year, purely for networking purposes. They see the patient as just another dollar earned. These doctors would be unprofessional no matter what specialty they chose.
The difficulty lies in how do we know which is which? When we are set in the reception or the doctors’ office, diplomas on display and palms in the corner, how do we know?
Well, there are a couple of things that you can do and ask, that, speaking from experience, allows you to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
1. How do the reception staff treat you? Are they welcoming or aloof?
2. Is the work area organized? Professional practice will look professional.
3. Are the staff aware of your particular needs? Are they empathetic or ‘cold’?
On to your interview
1. Is the consultant open and willing to discuss his education and experience? Don’t just trust the diplomas on the walls. What associations do they belong to? Get their addresses and phone numbers, talk to them, and find out what membership entails.
2. Do not be intimidated. Remember, it is your body you are talking about. You have every right to ask any question you think is necessary to enable you to make a decision to proceed or not.
3. Is the consultant happy to refer you to other previous patients? If they claim ‘confidentiality’, explain that you will be discussing personal issues, not professional and that they are running a ‘business’ and should be more than happy to provide references.
4. Does the consultant behave in a professional and confident manner? Beware of statements such as ‘It looks like it should be easy enough’ or ‘This is very simple to do’. Surgery is always rife with danger, no matter how ‘small’ the operation. A professional knows this and never takes any procedure for granted.
5. Does he conduct a thorough check on your health and medical history and explain why?
6. Does he explain what post-surgery will entail? How you will feel, how you will look, whether there will be pain, how long it may take to fully recover, and what another follow-up will be needed if any.
All these things go towards giving you an overall impression of whether this is the right surgeon for you.
The decision to go ahead or not is yours, should you feel pressured, even slightly, unless it is a health risk to you, move on to the next candidate.
Also, remember to trust your intuition. It is a powerful ally and will not let you down. You will know when you have made the right decision, your body and your mind will tell you.