ONE: Search for a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area. The most important factor in the success of your surgical outcome is the surgeon you choose. Many doctors perform cosmetic surgery today (with limited or no official training or experience), so choose one that is specially trained and uniquely qualified to perform your surgery. The American Society for Plastic Surgeons 1-800-635-0635 or www.plasticsurgery.org can provide you with names of surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Secondly, members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 1-888-272-7711 or www.surgery.org are all board-certified plastic surgeons who have demonstrated significant experience in cosmetic surgery of the face and body.
TWO: Check additional referral sources. In addition to names you obtain from our two professional societies, there are additional sources that could provide referrals. Your OB/GYN, internal medicine, family physician or an operating room nurse may also give you a referral. Since the surgeon you choose should have privileges to perform the same procedure you are considering in the hospital, verify the surgeon's credentials. The following hospitals have a referral line: Healthline, a service of Orlando Health Systems www.orlandohealth.org or 1-321-843-2584; Florida Hospital www.floridahospital.com or 1-407-303-3627. Friends or coworkers who have had similar surgery may also make a referral. However, you should always verify board-certification, training and experience firsthand.
THREE: Become more informed. The internet is a powerful tool that allows you to research topics related to plastic surgery. It gives you general information like the names of procedures, and allows you to check on surgeons you are considering. For best results, start with information posted by reputable medical organizations, such as the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery www.surgery.org or the American Society for Plastic Surgeons www.plasticsurgery.org. Their websites have official information, articles on safety and tips to help you the medical consumer. Lastly, there is a lot of fraudulent and incorrect information posted on the internet, so "surf" with caution.
FOUR: Clarify your personal goals. Spend time asking yourself exactly what you wish to change, and why you wish to do so. Be as specific as possible, and honest with yourself. Consider it over time, and time and time again. Plastic surgery will not solve your personal problems, make you rich or save your marriage. It can, however, build your self-esteem and give you confidence to present yourself to the world in a more positive way. Lastly, make sure these are your goals and not another persons.
FIVE: Schedule consults with several surgeons. The consultation allows you to gather vital information before making a decision to permanently alter your appearance. Regard the time you spend as an investment in yourself. When comparing surgeons, consider your interactions with support staff and general comfort level during the consultation. During the consultation, the surgeon should:
SIX: Take care of your body. It only makes sense that you should be as healthy as possible before undergoing surgery, so purify your lifestyle as much as possible. Healing time will be reduced, your risks will be minimized and you will have a more satisfactory outcome. Drink plenty of water daily to improve your health and the condition of your skin; reduce processed foods and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; take a daily multi-vitamin; quit nicotine and nicotine products (if you smoke, you will have to stop at least 4 weeks prior to surgery depending on the type of procedure); reduce alcoholic consumption one to two weeks prior to surgery; get plenty of rest to restore the body and reduce your stress. If you are overweight, lose any extra weight before your procedure. While it may not be required, consider having an annual check-up with your regular physician to ensure you're in the best of health.
SEVEN: Act Responsibly. Don't make a decision for surgery until you are completely confident that it is right for you personally. If you feel doubtful or overly anxious, you may need to reexamine your choice of surgeon and consider the reasons why you feel apprehensive. Being pressured by another person, being financially unable to afford surgery or going through major life changes, such as death or divorce, are all reasons why surgery may need to be postponed.
If you consider these guidelines and approach the process of surgery seriously, you will be well on your way to achieving the results your heart desires.
by Lisa Matas