Plastic or Cosmetic surgery is definitely something that shouldn't be taken lightly.
You should know your surgeon, what the procedure entails and every other little detail before you consider it.
Following the publication of the review, led by NHS Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, which recommends tighter regulation for the cosmetic surgery industry, Dr Dennis Wolf, Joint Medical Director at The Private Clinic of Harley Street (www.theprivateclinic.co.uk), gives ten factors you should consider before contemplating going ahead with any form of invasive or non invasive cosmetic procedure.
1. Know your practitioner
Select a qualified, reputable practitioner to perform your procedure and research that practitioner thoroughly. Find out how long they have been practicing, what qualifications they offer, which areas or procedures they specialise in, and you will slowly get an idea whether they are the right doctor for you.
2. Meet them in person
It is crucial that you meet the doctor or surgeon who will carry out your procedure before the day of your treatment. Rather surprisingly, not all practices demand that patients meet the practitioner who will deliver the procedure in advance. If you are advised that it is not possible to meet in person with the doctor ahead of treatment, you should not progress any further and choose to go elsewhere. Any reputable practitioner will demand that they meet the patient themselves beforehand. It is also important that you feel comfortable with your doctor and that you trust them.
3. Research the procedure
The internet provides a wealth of information about specific cosmetic procedures so it’s easier than ever to do your research. Watch videos of procedures being carried out, read the stories of people who have already undergone the procedure and engage in conversation on reputable forums. All of this will help you to make an informed decision about whether this is the right procedure for you. Remember that there is wealth of information, but also that there may be conflicting information; it is important to verify this all with your potential practitioner.
4. Understand the risks
There are risks associated with every cosmetic procedure, however non-invasive they are. During the consultation stage your practitioner should be open and honest with you about the potential risks or dangers involved. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, particularly if there is something that concerns you or that you do not understand. Any practitioner who claims there are no risks involved in the procedure is not to be trusted.
5. Don’t be influenced by price or advertising
While offers and discounts might be attractive in a supermarket, a cosmetic procedure is not something which should be offered at cut price. Remember that ‘cheaper’ does not necessarily mean ‘better’. Focus on the reputability of the practitioner and the quality of the treatment. Never be coerced into undergoing a cosmetic procedure by a clever marketing campaign or a financial offer. Take your time in making informed decisions.
6. Ask to see their work
Ask to see examples of your doctor’s work. Seeing photographic evidence of the results that can be achieved will help you to establish realistic expectations, but it will also give you an idea of the capabilities of the doctor and how the procedure can work in practice. But do make sure that these are not generic pictures of the manufacturer; make sure it is the work of the doctor him/herself that you are seeing.
7. Don’t strive to look like a celebrity
Make sure that you are doing this for the right reasons. One of the biggest criticisms of the Keogh report was the ‘trivialisation’ of certain cosmetic procedures, particularly those that are popular amongst reality TV stars. A cosmetic procedure of any kind is something to consider carefully, and is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is also unrealistic to want to try and emulate someone else’s results. Every individual is different and all cosmetic treatments should take in to account, and be sympathetic towards, the individual’s existing body shape. If someone comes in to see me clutching an image of a celebrity then alarms bells instantly ring. More often than not, they will have unrealistic expectations and if that is the case I will most likely advise that they don’t go ahead with treatment.
8. Consult a loved one
Confide in a friend or family member. Their input could be very valuable and they could raise questions that perhaps you had not considered before. Of course, a doctor must respect doctor-patient confidentiality and if you choose to undergo the procedure without consulting those around you, then this is your choice. Nonetheless, remember that this is a big decision and one which might be easier with the advice and support of loved one.
9. Understand the recovery process
Being fully informed about the recovery process is vital so that you can prepare yourself in advance. Patients often neglect to think about many important post-op factors: Is it a walk-in walk-out procedure? Will you need assistance leaving the clinic? How should you travel home? Will you be in pain? Do you need to take time off work? What does the post-operative care entail? When are the post-operative follow up visits? There are a number of factors to take into consideration and your doctor should discuss all of these thoroughly with you in advance.
10. Utilise and insist on a ‘cooling off’ period
After you have met for a consultation with you doctor, they should insist that you go away and think carefully about your decision. Use this ‘cooling off’ period to take your time, think through your options, do some more research and talk to your family or friends before making any decisions. If you feel like you need more information, attend a second consultation with the same practitioner or go for another consultation with a second and third practitioner. This will give you further opinions and will help you make a considered, sensible decision.