With the festive season in sight, this is the busiest time of the year for cosmetic physicians and surgeons. but experts advise you ignore the hype and ask the right questions before having cosmetic surgery.
Australians now spend as much as $1bn annually on appearance medicine and more than a third of all cosmetic surgery is booked in the weeks leading up to summer. But Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery president Dr Soo-Keat Lim warns it is important that consumers make sure that they ask the right questionsbefore deciding to have a cosmetic procedure.
“Consumers today have greater and greater choice of cosmetic procedures and doctors but they must do their homework,” Dr Lim said. “You are the one who has to be satisfied about the way you look. So when it comes to cosmetic procedures, the key to looking good is feeling right about your decision.”
Dr Lim noted that most bad cosmetic medicine and surgery results are about unrealistic expectations.
“Cosmetic surgery can improve your looks and self-esteem, but it is also important to have realistic expectations. Take your time, understand your motivations, discuss them with your doctor and you will be more likely to be happy with your decision — whatever it is,” Dr Lim said.
“You should also inform yourself about the risks as well as your doctor’s qualifications and experience, no matter how minor the procedure may seem. Every procedure has its own unique set of potential complications and risks,” Dr Lim said.
The top five procedures performed by College Fellows are anti-wrinkle and filler injections; microdermabrasion and Laser resurfacing (of skin); breast augmentation, lifts and reductions; liposuction (fat removal); and blepharoplasty (eye surgery).
The ACCP gives the following advice –
Questions you should ask your doctor:
- Are you a member of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery?
- How many times have you performed this procedure before and in the last year?
- What are the risks with this procedure and what is your own complication rate?
- What are the alternatives to the procedure being considered?
- Can I see results of your patients who looked similar to me before their surgery?
Questions you should ask yourself:
- Do I feel confident with this doctor?
- Do I feel confident about having this procedure?
- Have all my questions been answered satisfactorily?
- Am I happy with all of the arrangements that have been made for me?
- Do I understand the risks and potential complications with this procedure?
What to beware of:
- Time-sensitive discounting on any cosmetic medical or surgical procedures are against the law. Ask yourself, why am I being pressured? Don’t be.
- Commercially driven ‘referral sites’ that have been presented as being an authoritative, unbiased, source of information. Ask yourself, what am I being sold? Can I trust this information?
- Cosmetic surgery gifts. If you are thinking of surprising your loved one with the gift of a cosmetic surgery procedure, think again. The decision to undergo any type of cosmetic medical or surgical procedure is personal and needs to be made after a thorough and individually tailored consultation process with your doctor.
- Cosmetic tourism. Surgery is serious at every level, and not to be confused with taking a holiday. You need to ensure you allow for time to recover following any cosmetic surgery procedure and can re-visit your surgeon for any follow-up care, especially if there are complications.