This is one of the major issues affecting your safety. The specialization in plastic and reconstructive surgery lasts for five years, and the aesthetic surgery is the part of it. For sure, if your surgeon is another specialist, your plastic aesthetic surgery could not be considered safe. Choosing for example, surgeon gynecologist, or otorhinolaryngologist to perform breast augmentation or face lifting is the decision that puts under the risk the outcome of the surgery.
It is also essential that you get thoroughly informed about the expertise and experience of your surgeon, for example the number of performed surgeries, where s/he was educated, and in which particular areas of plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. It is also necessary that your selected surgeon present to you his/her work, such as before/after photos of previous patients. Before bringing the decision to undertake the surgical procedure, you have to know that your surgeon has sufficient qualifications to perform it. Unless you are not sure, look up for opinions and testimonials of patients who had the same or similar surgery.
Independent choice of your operation or a procedure in most cases is not necessarily the best one.
o You want implants in your breasts; however if your breasts are limp, in order to get the desirable look you will most probably need to have breasts lifting and tightening in addition to implants
o You want to remove fat from your belly by liposuction; however in that way you will not get the desirable look, because the skin of your belly will stay untighten. Most probably you need another type of the surgery that is tightening of the abdominal area.
You are considering face lifting but there may very well be that your problem is not uptight skin but you need to revitalize your face, and regain its vigor. Therefore, face-lifting is not your best choice, but fat transfer.
Your consultation with the chosen surgeon is of an utmost importance so that you are sure about all possibilities for you to undergo the desired procedure. S/he will examine you, and decide what additional medical examinations should be performed so that surgery could be done, in the best interest of your safety and satisfaction. It is also very important to take your time and share with your doctor your wishes and possibilities of getting the desirable result.
If you are considering the combined surgery, which is most often simultaneous surgery of breast and abdomen, it is necessary that you are generally in good health, that hospital conditions are safe and such surgery should not last longer than six hours.
Aesthetic surgery does not belong to compulsory procedures of treatment. It is your wish. You are undergoing the surgery even though you are healthy, and that is why it is so important that you get completely familiar with preoperative preparation, surgery, recovery, scars, potential complications, and risks of the surgical or non-surgical procedure. It is the surgeon’s duty to make you familiar with the procedure, in the way that will be understandable for you; you should never undergo the surgical procedure unless you completely understand every detail of it.
Post-operative recovery is the very important segment of your surgery. Ask your doctor everything about the details of your recovery, for example what limitations the surgery will cause how long that would take. Even in the perfectly performed surgery, there is a possibility of complications. Ask your doctor about possible risks and how these could be resolved.
Here are some examples of what you should ask your surgeon:
a) Are you staying in the hospital after the surgery, and if not, is it possible that in case of bleeding you will be re-admitted?
b) Who of the staff will supervise your post-operative recovery, who is the person you could be in touch with every day?
c) Is there the emergency number that you could call 24 hours a day?
d) Are you going to need the help of third person during your post-operative recovery and if yes, for how long? Or is it safe for you to be alone in that period?
e) If you are coming from another city or state, when (after the surgery) it will be safe for you to travel? What kind of transportation you should take, what positions or pressure would be adequate for you during the travel? (Sitting for a long time, on the plane or in the car increases the risk of pulmonary embolism and deep veins thrombosis even on healthy persons, let alone those who just came out from the surgery.)
f) Are there any limitations with regards to the food, and if yes, will you be provided with the written directions about your diet. Are you allowed to take alcohol drinks, and if not for how long after the surgery?
g) Are there and if yes, what are the limitations in movements and activities like swimming, exercising, running, weight lifting, or handling heavy objects?
h) If you are from abroad, and complications happen when you get home so that you need another surgery; who will pay for the secondary operation and revision?
Even when hospitalization after the surgery is not needed, all surgeries should be performed in hospitals.
Your hospital should be specialized in plastic and aesthetic surgery. Sick patients who need the surgery for their health should not be operated in the same operation theatre with the aesthetic surgery patients. The same goes for the medical staff that will be in contact with you.
Ask your plastic surgeon whether the hospital is accredited and/or certified; such credentials are not compulsory, however it gives additional recommendation.
Ask whether the hospital is subject to the regular epidemiological controls, and whether there are controls and safety measures in order to prevent intra-hospital infections.
As advised by the World Health Organization, safety protocols are necessary as part of patient’s safety
o Patient’s protocol prior to Anesthesia
o Patient’s protocol prior to the surgical cut
o Patient’s protocol before leaving the operation room
Patient’s safety is our top priority!
Low price will certainly attract patients to choose the place to get the surgery. However, especially in cases of low prices, you should pay good attention and choose your surgeon based on his/her qualifications, reputation, references, experience etc.
o Preoperative examination
o Laboratory diagnostics
o Necessary pre-operative medical examinations of cardiologist and anesthesiologist
o Surgeon fee
o Hospital service fee
o The cost of implants and garments
o Post-operative hospital stay and for how many nights
o Post-operative medicines
o Additional medical costs in case of complications
o Ask for all options - credit card, wire transfer, cash
o If you are paying with your credit card and it will exceed your limit, notify your bank about the day the payment will be done and exceeding the limit
o Wire transfers take three to five days if the payment is coming from abroad
o If you are paying in cash, in Serbia it is in local currency, dinars (RSD)
o Make sure that you are clear whether there is a fee if you give up from your surgery
Aesthetic surgeries are not covered by the general health insurance. For even with the best surgeons, the complications are possible, additional insurance is always a good option.
Patients coming from abroad should ask:
o Does their insurance cover surgeries in another country
o Does their insurance cover the treatment at home if complications from the surgery in another country occur
Is your surgeon able to insure you with the ISAPS insurance
International Association for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery ISAPS introduced patient’s safety protocols in 2010. The President at the time, dr. Foad Nahai created so called “Diamond of Patient’s Safety” in aesthetic surgical and non-surgical procedures, and established four key factors that are essential in the safety of aesthetic plastic surgery:
o Procedure: Suitable for the patient
o Patient: A good candidate for the selected procedure
o Surgeon: Qualified and experienced in performing the procedure
o Surgery facility: Safe, with trained staff and possibility of emergency intervention if necessary
If you are sure that in what you selected, all four key factors are fulfilled, your surgery/procedure will be more safe and successful.