Before you have your surgery, make sure you’ve chosen the right specialist. Do they perform the procedure you are considering? How many of these procedures do they perform? Do they actually specialize in that procedure, or have a special interest in that procedure? Are you trusting them because they did a prior procedure on you with success? Are they as expert at the procedure you are considering as the one you originally came to them for?

Use your consult as an opportunity to get to know your surgeon. And ask a lot of questions. Your meeting with the surgeon is the time when you assess your doctor, and your doctor assess you as a candidate for the procedures you have in mind and he/she has in mind. Obviously, you want a surgeon that is technically capable. But you also want a surgeon that is compassionate and that will be capable of caring for you if there are any complications requiring long term follow-up. How extensive is their preoperative examination?

Once they’ve formulated a diagnosis and a proposed plan, ask about alternatives. Ask about the risks, and the number of times they’ve seen the complications they describe in their practice. Ask them if they’ve taken advanced courses in that particular procedure. It always helps to learn the risks beforehand by doing a little research.

By the time you get your second opinion, you should be becoming an expert in the procedures that you have chosen. Often the second opinion is not the same as the first opinion, and may either contradict it completely, or be partially the same, and partially different. Remember, there is more than one way to cook an omelet, and that a variety of techniques can be employed that will obtain similar results. Ask the same questions in your second consultation. And the third or fourth if it comes to that till you understand what’s proposed and what you want done on your face or body. You will soon master the terminology and begin to understand what’s being proposed!

It always amazes me when I hear a patient tell me that they went to another surgeon and that they declined to show them before and after photos because it might violate “privacy issues”. Most surgeons have obtained releases from some of their patients that exemplify typical results. Most surgeons also only display their best results, so that you can discount these best results. But if a surgeon doesn’t have any good results, or doesn’t have any results to show, you really ought to be careful.

As for talking to happy previous patients, what surgeon would ask you to talk to a dissatisfied patient? The only reason to talk to another patient about your previous procedure is to ask them what the postoperative period was like, and what they think of their surgeon’s care in general. Rarely will you have anything other than a very positive review. For more information, you can visit- drbonaparte.com.

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Sara T. Loving

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