Going under the knife is a pretty big deal, and as with any big decision, you need to make sure you’re clued up. To help you cover your bases, we have put together five areas for you to consider to maximise your chances of achieving a positive physical and psychological outcome from cosmetic surgery.
- Be in the Right Mindset
Mental preparation is key to a successful surgery experience. You need to be honest with yourself about your motivation for having surgery. Cosmetic surgery is rarely – if ever – something a person needs, however if there is something about your body that bothers you, and it can’t easily be improved on your own (for e.g. with diet and exercise), then surgery may be an option for you.
Seeking surgery for the wrong reasons, such as having a breast augmentation because your partner would prefer someone with larger breasts, is the wrong kind of motivation and will likely leave you unhappy with your surgery. Take the time to understand what your real motivation is and remember your decision should be for you and nobody else.
- Choose Wisely
Not all surgeons are created equal. It’s important to find one that: has a good reputation; is experienced in your particular procedure; is willing to listen to you and answer questions; and most importantly, is Board certified by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
Many people do not realise that there is a big difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. In Australia, plastic surgeons have studied specialist surgery for a minimum of five years and have at least 12 years of total medical and surgical education. They are specifically trained as specialists in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and are Fellows of this organisation (FRACS). Most plastic surgeons in Australia are also members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Doctors with only a MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree who promote themselves as cosmetic surgeons are not trained in invasive surgical procedures. They may have completed short courses or weekend workshops in some cosmetic procedures but have never completed specialist training in plastic surgery and therefore do not possess the core skills and training of a plastic surgeon.
Be sure to check whether your surgeon is registered as a SPECIALIST. You can do this by visiting the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) website: www.ahpra.gov.au and searching for your surgeon by name.
- Do Your Research
Most reputable surgeons have websites where you can read about their credentials, the procedure you are considering, and also look at before and after photos. Photos are a good way to get an idea of the surgeon’s level of skill, what their specialties are and their aesthetic style.
Consider the practical things too: How much money will the surgery cost? Do you have enough time off work? Do you have people who can help care for you after? Make a list of all your questions and be sure to have them all answered before you book your surgery.
- Set Realistic Expectations
Anticipate improvement, not perfection. The surgery will not transform your life in a monumental way, but rather improve a body part that bothers you and likely improve your confidence about your appearance.
Also understand that your body will need time to heal after the procedure. Be patient with yourself and listen to your surgeon and post-care nurses on how you can aid your body through the recovery before you start judging the immediate results. Swelling after a procedure is normal and the final result often takes weeks or months to show. You may also need to take time off work and put exercise on hold whilst you heal.
- Know the Risks
Like any surgery, cosmetic surgery carries with it certain health risks, for example possible infection after the operation and the risks associated with anaesthetics. Make sure that your surgeon has properly explained all the risks associated with your procedure before you agree to go ahead. If you don’t understand something, ask your surgeon to explain it further.
Finally, be sure to schedule surgery when you are healthy and mentally ready.
If you are considering a cosmetic procedure, contact us today on (02) 8814 5800 or fill out an enquiry form to arrange a consultation with Dr Mark Edinburg (MBBCH FRACS).