To achieve the best results from any type of plastic surgery, whether it is breast enhancement, liposuction, a face lift or tummy tuck, it is important to do your research first. Mr Darren Lewis, a Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeon who works at Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital, says "Make the most of your pre-op consultations. Good communication between you and your surgeon can help keep you safe and make a real difference to how happy you will be with the outcome of your surgery".
1. Who will I see at my consultation?
This should be your surgeon, not a 'patient coordinator', who is often simply a salesperson. You should have a 'cooling off' period between your consultation and your operation of at least two weeks to ensure you really have time to think through your decision.
2. What are your qualifications?
Check your surgeon is on the GMC specialist register for plastic surgery here. If your surgeon has a further qualification in plastic surgery you will see FRCS (Plast) after their name. Ideally surgeons will belong to one of the professional organisations: the British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (BAPRAS) or the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). Your anaesthetist should also be listed on the GMC specialist register.
3. Is the surgeon and the hospital fully insured in case anything goes wrong?
All Nuffield Health surgeons are fully insured, as are Nuffield Health hospitals.
4. What is your experience in performing my procedure?
Your surgeon should specialise in the type of surgery you are interested in, and perform your specific operation at least once a month.
5. Can I see before and after photographs?
Not all patients want to be featured on websites, but most surgeons have photographs of patients. These can give you an idea of what can be achieved. Ensure they are the surgeon’s actual patients. You may also be able to speak to previous patients about their experience.
6. Do you feel you can give me the result I’m looking for?
Your surgeon should be able to describe back to you what you have asked for. They should be able to tell you what they can’t achieve as well as what they can. Be wary of surgeons who say they have never had a complication.
7. Where will I have my procedure?
This should be the hospital or clinic you are seen in. Having surgery close to home makes follow up care more convenient. Anywhere you have surgery should be registered with the health regulator, the Care Quality Commission.
8. What will my recovery be like?
Ask about the typical recovery period, so you can plan time off work and childcare, if needed. Ask about bruising, swelling, and any specialist garments you need. Find out if they are supplied by the hospital or if you should bring them with you.
9. How will any surgical complications be handled?
Find out if treating complications will be included in the price of your surgery, and for how long after your surgery. Any necessary revision surgery should be free. If you have surgery at Nuffield Health, post-surgery complications will be treated free of charge, without a specific time limit. Nuffield Health also offers the Nuffield Health Promise, which means there are no time limits on treatment for any post-surgical complications (read about the Nuffield Health Promise for full details and caveats).
10. How much will my surgery cost?
Ask if everything is included in the price, including your Consultant and anaesthetist’s charges, medications, dressings, and after-care.