What is Plastic Surgery?
Plastic surgery involves surgical reconstruction of different areas of the body. You may be interested in plastic surgery due to birth defects, disease, burns or for other and more personal cosmetic reasons. A plastic surgeon is a well-defined surgical specialist. The best in the field have completed up to 11 years of combined educational requirements, residency requirements, internship and approved residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery, plus an additional 2 years in actual practice before being board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, the Gold standard in the plastic surgery field. This is the public’s assurance that they are dealing with one of the best plastic surgeons available.
Plastic surgery can help improve the way you look and enhance your original features. Whether you are looking to have plastic surgery because of birth defects or for personal reasons, the results can boost your self confidence, build your self esteem and provide you with an entirely different outlook on life. There are many options that can improve your life and correct disfigurements or enhance your appearance. Some of the more commonly popular plastic surgery procedures are Breast Augmentation, Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck), Liposuction for Body Lifts, Arm Lifts, etc., facial surgeries such as Face Lifts and Rhinoplasty, as well as nonsurgical procedures like Botox injections.
Additionally some of the newer technologies are allowing us to do intricate female surgeries such as correcting vaginal relaxation using Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation procedures. This was typically a surgery only available through conventional methods until recently. By utilizing laser technology and laser surgical techniques, a plastic surgeon trained and certified in these techniques can eliminate the risks inherent with invasive conventional surgical methods, meaning less blood loss as lasers are self-cauterizing, less risk of infection and complications, virtually no hospital time and much quicker recovery times.
Choosing A Plastic or Cosmetic Surgeon
Here are some questions to help you choose a high quality plastic or cosmetic surgeon.
1. Are you Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons?
This should be the very first question you ask. There is much public confusion about certification and there are many different certifications available, for instance, state certification. However, to ensure you are getting the highest qualified plastic surgeon available, certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons is the designation you are seeking. They are the only board for instance, that can certify in both plastic and reconstructive surgery.
2. Find out who will be assisting your plastic surgeon during your procedure:
There are many people needed as a support team for your surgery to go smoothly and limit the chances of any complications. Typically, your support team will include trained nursing staff, an anesthesiologist, recovery room nursing staff, and any other technicians or support needed for your particular procedure. Find out what and who they are and their qualifications.
3. Where will my surgery be performed?
While some plastic surgery procedures may be performed in the cosmetic surgeon’s office, most require hospitalization or a surgical care center. Be sure and ask about the facilities where you will be having surgery and if those facilities are accredited or certified by the appropriate agencies.
4. What are the potential risks or side effects of my plastic surgery procedure?
Every surgery carries the potential of risk, for instance excessive blood loss, infection, or other complications that may be unforeseen or that can occur. Though very rare with modern day plastic surgery techniques, they can occur, and when they happen it can mean you require additional surgery that will place an added financial risk or burden on you. Find out what these risks are. Dr. Vu, for instance, is the only Portland plastic surgeon that has been approved by CosmetAssure. CosmetAssure is basically complications insurance, and provides Dr. Vu’s patients with an additional layer of financial protection should that rare complication occur. A cosmetic surgeon approved for CosmetAssure carries the highest credentials, a spotless surgical record and possesses the highest surgical skills.
5. How long is the Recovery Time for my procedure?
Find out, every procedure varies, but knowing ahead of time will help you plan for time off work or arrange for any additional home service help you may need.
7. What type of Anesthesia should you choose?
Anesthesia is always one of the larger risks of any type of surgery and there are basically 3 types. A local anesthesia which is very low risk and primarily only used during low risk, low invasive office procedures, an IV sedation, referred to as “twilight sleep” and general anesthesia. The choice is typically left up to the patient for the latter 2, but you need to know the risks associated with each, and the cosmetic surgeon can make a recommendation to you depending upon any additional personal risks you have, such as smoking, medications you’re currently taking, etc. Be sure and cover this topic thoroughly.
8. What do past patients have to say about this particular plastic surgeon?
The fastest way to know about a plastic surgeon is by reputation, and the thing that builds (or ruins) a plastic surgeon’s reputation faster than anything is the testimonials or recommendations from existing patients. Your cosmetic surgeon should either have a good sampling of testimonials on their website, or be able to show them to you if you ask. If the plastic surgeon you are contemplating using hasn’t received cards and letters of thanks, odds are you won’t be sending them one either. If at all possible, find out if prior patients are happy with their surgery results, as well as the personality of the attending plastic surgeon themselves.
I hope you have found this information on plastic surgery useful.
Dr. Kim-Chi Vu, MD, PC