If you’ve ever entertained plastic surgery, we don’t need to remind you that asking lots of questions is a natural part of the process. But sitting down to think through the timing and the experience you’re signing up for is at least as important as your ultimate results. Before any kind of elective surgery, here’s a good place to start.
1. “Can I commit to recovery?”
Whether it’s tummy tuck, breast augmentation, or even a particularly deep laser treatment, it’s essential that you fully understand what the recuperation entails. Can you afford — financially and otherwise — to take a week or more off from work? Are you prepared to give yourself the rest you need, and are you OK with taking time away from the gym? You should also be comfortable handing over housework and other responsibilities to a friend or family member while your body heals, since you may be prohibited from heavy lifting, bending, or exerting yourself for some time after surgery.
Dr. Robert Cohen, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, recommends that patients have someone at home with them during the first 24 hours after any major surgery, such as breast augmentation. Get the full picture from your surgeon prior to scheduling your surgery, so that you can put together a recovery plan of action and be fully prepared.
2. “What’s my 5-year plan?”
You don’t need to have your long-term plans hammered out in great detail (after all, who does?), but it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of how your results will fit into your future — and whether you will still be glad you made the decision to undergo surgery in the first place.
Are you typically on the impulsive side? Are you prone to indecision? Are you basing your surgery on a fleeting trend, rather than your own personal goals? Take some time to really think about why you want to have surgery, and make sure the reason is still one you’ll be happy with in the years to come.
3. “Is everyone on board?”
Plastic surgery is a personal decision that is solely yours to make. But just like any other major event in life, it’s a lot easier to get through it when you have a strong support system. Before pursuing plastic surgery, you’ll likely need to have some serious conversations with your partner, your family, and maybe even your primary care doctor.
For one thing, with the cost of a typical breast augmentation inching toward $10,000, this isn’t a purchase you’ll want to make in secret. And elective surgery is still surgery, so if you have any ongoing health issues, it’s a good idea to get the green light from your regular doctor first.
4. “What do I need from a surgeon?”
Choosing a plastic surgeon is a bit different from choosing a dentist or a primary care doctor. Your insurance company isn’t going to cover it (except in a few specific circumstances) — but that also means they won’t be interfering or limiting your choices, so you’re free to shop around.
While finding a surgeon with the right credentials, like board certification, is objectively important, other factors are a matter of personal preference. For example, do you want a surgeon who talks to you like a BFF, or a serious doctor who’s all business?
It’s OK to be uncertain of what you want, especially if you’re still beginning the process. Schedule a few consultations with qualified doctors near you, so you can get a feel for the different “styles” out there and start narrowing down your options. Once you find the right fit, you’ll know it.