What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?
Questions to ask your cosmetic surgeon
Each year, thousands of people in the UK undergo private cosmetic surgery. Before selecting a cosmetic surgeon, or agreeing to go ahead with an operation, it’s important that you are fully informed. There are risks associated with any kind of operation; you need to be aware of these.
Our checklist of questions to ask your cosmetic surgeon will ensure that you get the feedback you need to make an informed decision about cosmetic surgery. Take this checklist to your consultation or write out your own list of questions. Ask the cosmetic surgeon if you can record the consultation so that you can play it back afterwards. (It’s a stressful situation; people often forget much of what they have been told or fail to take it in.)
Making the decision
- Do you have any advice leaflets or video material about cosmetic surgery or about this operation that I can use?
- Are there any published papers about this cosmetic surgery that you would recommend?
- Are there any web sites that you recommend that would be informative?
- What are the risks involved in this operation? How likely are these risks?
- How much improvement can I expect from this kind of cosmetic surgery?
- What are the alternative non-surgical treatments to having this operation? How do they compare?
The cosmetic surgeon
- What is your experience of doing this type of cosmetic surgery?
- What do you do in the NHS? What kind of operations do you carry out?
- How many of this operation do you carry out each year?
- What are your success rates for this operation?
- What is the rate of complications that you experience with this kind of operation?
- Do you have any additional certification/qualifications that make you more experienced in performing this operation? Are you a member of The British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAPS) or The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)?
- Can I see some “before and after” photographs?
- Can I speak to any of your past patients?
The hospital or clinic
- Where will the cosmetic surgery be carried out?
- What are the back up medical facilities there, if something goes wrong during the operation?
- How often do you operate there?
- Where else do you operate?
- Do I have a choice of private hospital or cosmetic surgery clinic where the operation is carried out?
- What is the post-operative infection rate at the clinic/hospital where the operation will take place?
These questions depend on how you are paying for surgery. It may be more appropriate for you to direct these questions to the private hospital or cosmetic surgery clinic.
- What is included in the price?
- What is not included in the price?
- What guarantee do you offer?
- What happens if something goes wrong and I need further treatment or another operation? Who pays for your additional fees? Who pays for the additional hospital costs?
- How long will I have to stay in the hospital or clinic?
- How long does the operation last?
- What type of anaesthesia will be used? What are the risks of this type of anaesthesia?
- What can I expect after the operation?
For breast implants:
- What type of implant will be used? What is the track record for this type of breast implants?
- Where can I find more information about this type of breast implants?
After the operation
- How much pain is it normal to expect after the operation? How long will the pain last?
- What complications can occur with this kind of operation?
- How soon can I have visitors?
- Will I need physiotherapy after the operation? For how long? Where will this take place?
- What help will I need at home after the operation? For how long will I need help?
- How long will it be before I can go back to work?
- What restrictions will there be on my normal activities after the operation? For example, will I be able to drive/climb stairs/run/play sport/have sex/take a bath/shower?
- When will I need to come back for a follow up appointment?