- 23 February 2016
Deciding on plastic surgery can be nerve wracking and stressful. You will be continually asking yourself questions like,
“How do I know they know what they are doing? Is this the right surgeon I should use? Is this a safe place to have my surgery? What if they ruin it?”
Rest assured that you are not the only one with these feelings when it comes to exploring plastic surgery. We are well aware that our patients experience anxiety before a reconstructive or cosmetic surgery. As your medical provider, it is our job to ensure your confidence, build a trusting relationship, and address your fears. However, it is up to you to do a little homework as well.
There are some things that you can find out in order to give yourself some peace of mind.
First and foremost, check your surgeon’s credentials.
Your surgeon should be a board certified plastic surgeon. Just about anyone can own a business, dress it up with fancy signs and brochures and business cards. Anyone can wear a white coat and speak in medical jargon. But, only a board certified plastic surgeon belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Caveat: It is legal in this state for medical doctors to practice plastic surgery without board certification. This means that doctors who do not have significant experience in plastic surgery can indeed put themselves in charge of your surgical experience. Know your doctor. Their certification is crucial to the success, safety, and satisfaction you have with your surgery.
Take a look around the surgical suite
Obviously, it is not always possible to physically walk around a surgical suite. But, ask questions and when possible, request photos. Being able to visualize where the surgery will take place can reassure you. There are a few things to look for in operating rooms that are good indicators of safety and cleanliness.
Sterility: Even in minor procedures, sterility is crucial and prevents the spread of infection. Notice protective equipment like gowns, masks, and gloves.
Ventilation: A ventilation system should be in place to minimize contaminants in the operating room air.
Number of staff: Having fewer staff members allowed in the OR provides a better likelihood of maintaining sterile fields and an overall clean environment. If your surgeon does not let you go in the surgery suite, this is a good thing! They are doing what is best to keep a clean environment for their patients.
Tidiness: There should be an overall clean and tidy appearance. Cluttered environments tend to collect germs and dust while hiding contaminants and mess.
You should be on the look-out for things like:
- Carpeted floors
- Vented window blinds
- Sinks in the OR
These things can carry bacteria and germs and are almost impossible to clean thoroughly.
Ask your surgeon questions
You should never go into a surgery with unanswered questions. No matter how silly you think your questions may be, ask them. At least they will let your mind rest and reduce your uncertainty. Some key questions you should ask your surgeon are:
How many years of experience do you have?
How many surgeries like mine have you done?
Are you certified to perform this surgery?
What potential complications might I face in the worst case scenario?
Ensuring that your surgeon has certification and adequate experience should be your priority. Make sure that your safety and overall well-being is at the forefront of your surgeon’s concerns. Study up and do research about your surgeon. Today, the internet can be our best friend. Many reviews can be found online with a simple Google search. Finding the right surgeon for you is crucial to finding comfort throughout your surgical experience.