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Dr. Hiatt standing in front of machine

The decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure is no doubt a personal one. As with any surgical procedure, complications can arise and you want to make sure you’ve chosen an experienced and educated surgeon who will be open and honest with you about what to expect. Before the decision is made to go through with the procedure or not you will meet with the surgeon to discuss your health history and procedural options. This initial consultation is a great time to bring a list of questions to ask.

Some of the most important questions to ask before your procedure have to do with the surgeon’s training. If the surgeon does not have appropriate training (a 2 to 3 year residency in plastic surgery) performing the surgery you want you should consider meeting with another plastic surgeon.

Questions to consider:

  • Are you a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons?
  • How many of these procedures do you perform in a week?
  • Are your patients generally happy with the results?
  • What percentage of patients experience complications as a result of this procedure?
  • Do you have before and after photos of past patients who have undergone this procedure?

Education is also important.  Any surgeon is actually legally allowed to perform plastic surgery even if they are board certified for a different specialty (dermatology, OB/GYN, general surgery, or even dentistry).  In my opinion a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a better choice when choosing your plastic surgeon.

Once you know that your surgeon is skilled and educated, you should find out if the procedure you are considering is really right for you. You should write out your expectations and bring pictures of what you hope to achieve with the surgery. The surgeon should tell you if what you are expecting is possible based on your health history, your anatomy, and the doctors’ capabilities.

  • What kind of results can I expect with this surgery?
  • Are my expectations realistic?

As cosmetic surgeries are becoming more common, more techniques are becoming available. You can choose to have either silicone or saline implants.  With rare exception it is best to have the implant inserted below the pectoral muscle.

  • What procedural techniques are available for this surgery?
  • Which surgical technique do you recommend for me?
  • What type of anesthesia will be used?
  • How long will the procedure take?

The cost of your procedure varies depending on your surgeon and your geographic location. In most cases, it is not covered by health insurance. Be sure to ask what the procedure will cost based on the techniques that will be used and if there will be any extra fees. There may also be fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, medical devices, special equipment and other miscellaneous costs related to your surgery.

  • How much will this procedure cost based on surgical techniques?
  • Are there any other fees I should expect?
  • Where will the procedure be performed and the cost of the surgical center?

Knowing what will happen after the procedure is also important. Ask your surgeon about the side effects of anesthesia and what complications can arise from the surgery. Be honest about your health history so you can be informed of any risks that would make surgery more risky. You should also know what choices you have in case you are unhappy with the results.

  • What risks and side effects are associated with this surgery?
  • What should I expect as far as pain, scarring, and activity levels post-surgery?
  • How long is the recovery time?
  • What is the chance that I will be unhappy with my result and what can be done about it?

In addition to asking the above questions, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking or if they have any health problems. Communication with your surgeon is the key to experiencing a successful cosmetic surgery outcome. To schedule a consultation with me at my Mesa, Arizona location, call (480) 844-1410.