Ensuring safety throughout your plastic or cosmetic surgery journey is just as important as the procedure you want and the desired result. Here at the Eden Institute we advise that you take the time to research the right surgeon for you and keep your eyes and ears open for red flags, after all, it could mean the difference between a great experience and a poor outcome.
Here are some red flags to watch out for that will help you find the expert surgeon you’re after and ensure you are in safe hands.
Not appropriately accredited
It seems an obvious one, but it’s easy to be fooled when you don’t know what certifications to look for. Currently, in Australia, it is legal for any doctor with a basic medical degree to perform surgery and that includes cosmetic surgery, but that doesn’t make them certified as a Specialist to perform plastic or cosmetic surgery.
You can immediately narrow your search down to doctors who are certified by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). This means they are a fellow of the College and will have “FRACS” after their name. They will have completed a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education, with at least five years of specialist postgraduate training and will be qualified to perform invasive reconstructive and cosmetic surgery in public and private hospitals, and accredited day surgeries. Specialist Plastic Surgeons have the title ‘Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon’.
Surgeon doesn’t attend your consultation
If your prospective surgeon isn’t the one attending your consultation, it’s a no-no. Good plastic surgeons take their consultations and work very seriously. It is their opportunity to listen to you, answer your questions, make sure you’re a good candidate for the procedure, or recommend a more suitable procedure that will meet your needs.
Glosses over your questions and makes you feel uncomfortable
You should feel a partnership between you and the surgeon. While complications are not common, you should feel comfortable that if something unexpected arises, this surgeon will take care of you. They should also take the time to answer all of your questions without making you feel rushed or dismissed. If you feel uncomfortable or disconnected from the surgeon during your consultation, trust your gut and find someone else.
No before and after photos
If you’re interested in a particular procedure you should be able to gauge what the surgeon can do for you by seeing before and after photos of their actual patients. These photos should be standardised and not enhanced in any way. If the surgeon won’t show you photos or doesn’t have any, they may not have enough experience or success in that particular procedure. Beware of photos that are too glossy and enhanced- not everyone is a model! In that case, keep on searching!
Doesn’t cover the risks
If your prospective surgeon answers questions with “everything will be fine,” or “you will not feel a thing,” it’s a sign that your surgeon is not being honest with you. Plastic surgery, as with any surgery, can have complications and each patient’s medical history can present different risks. If your plastic surgeon is reputable, he or she should be readily forthcoming with information about risks and potential complications.
Remember, it’s your body, and you are the boss. Selecting a specialist plastic surgeon can be somewhat of an interview process, and may take two, three or even more consultations with different surgeons to find one that meets your criteria and makes you feel comfortable.
Dr Mark Edinburg (MBBCH, FRACS, ASPS), Medical Director at The Eden Institute, has over 20 years of experience in plastic and reconstructive surgery. To organise a consultation with Dr Edinburg to discuss your requirements, contact us today on (02) 8814 5800 or fill out an enquiry form.