It is easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of the end result of a cosmetic procedure. However, if you or someone you know is considering cosmetic surgery, it is important to remember that any surgery is real surgery, and with it comes risks and benefits that you should be informed about.
While cosmetic surgery can be a positive experience, it can be devastating if you fall into the hands of an inexperienced or unqualified surgeon. In Canada, any doctor can call himself or herself a cosmetic surgeon, including a dermatologist and a dentist. A cosmetic surgeon may have extensive non-surgical experience but no actual experience in surgery. However, only a doctor with a Certificate in Plastic Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada can call himself or herself a plastic surgeon. You can verify your surgeon's certification by contacting your provincial college of physicians and surgeons or the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Do your research
Here are a set of safety guidelines put together by the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons to help you select the surgeon that is right for you:
- Ensure your surgeon is qualified by choosing a member of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
- Confirm the surgeon's credentials and medical licence with your provincial college of physicians and surgeons, and check for any disciplinary action or lawsuits associated with their practice.
- Ask your surgeon how much experience they have performing the procedure and what their complication rate is.
- Confirm with the hospital that the surgeon has hospital privileges.
- Find out if the person giving the anesthesia is qualified.
- Ask to see pictures of real patients the surgeon has operated on.
- Understand what the recovery from surgery is like.
Do not let price be the deciding factor when you are selecting the surgeon to perform the procedure. Take the right precautions and do not cut corners to get the results that you want.
Most people considering cosmetic surgery want to improve their physical appearance. The final result is very important. Find a surgeon who understands your specific needs to ensure a positive experience and satisfactory results.
Find the right surgeon for you
So what should you look for in a surgeon? When you arrive for your consultation, consider the following:
- Does the surgeon carefully explain in detail the risks and possible outcomes of surgery?
- Does the surgeon talk to you about whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure you're requesting? If you're not a good candidate, does the surgeon suggest alternatives?
- Does he or she ask about your medical history?
- Does the surgeon leave the decision to have surgery to you or do you feel pressured to get the procedure?
- Does he or she answer questions so that you understand?
- Is he or she open to questions about professional qualifications, experience, cost, and any other questions you have?
Also, make a list of all the questions you want to ask before going to your appointment. Here are a few to start you off:
- Are there other options available to me in addition to this procedure?
- How many times (or for how many years) have you performed the same procedure(s) I'm considering?
- What are the risks and complications involved with this procedure?
- How long is the recovery period? Will I need to take time off work?
- Do you provide follow-up care after the procedure?
- How do you handle surgical revisions if they are needed?
- Will you be performing the surgery?
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