Looking for the Best Cosmetic Surgery in Sydney? 5 Crucial Questions to Ask
Cosmetic surgery should be a positive journey of self-improvement. The night before surgery, you should be sleeping soundly, knowing you are well-prepared – physically, emotionally, financially and intellectually. You should understand and be confident about everything that’s about to happen.
You have met the team that is going to operate, and you have confidence that the surgeon is a leader in the field of cosmetic and plastic surgery.
But to get to this point, you need to do your research. You need to go beyond the glossy brochures and review sites to check out the surgeon’s CV, experience and qualifications.
If you’re considering aesthetic plastic surgery in Sydney, here are five crucial questions to ask before making that life-changing decision to put your body in someone else’s hands.
Are you a certified cosmetic plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon?
You would think someone advertising cosmetic procedures must be a cosmetic plastic surgeon, cosmetic surgeon or even surgeon at the very least, but that’s not necessarily the case. Cosmetic surgery is an area that overlaps into other forms of surgery and there are non-specialists operating in the field.
Plastic surgeons, for example, are trained to do reconstructive surgery on damaged limbs or in the case of burns. Some of them have only done this reconstructive, damage-repairing surgery, but they venture into cosmetic surgery. They may not have any training or experience in cosmetic surgery, but they still consider themselves capable to dabble in this highly refined type of surgery requiring experience and artistic sensitivity.
General surgeons offer cosmetic procedures too. Again, they may not have had any training in cosmetic surgery, but they are surgeons. The problem is their lack of experience may affect the outcomes – they lack the subtle knowledge that comes with doing hundreds of the same procedure. Dentists, GPs and other health professionals are performing cosmetic procedures as well – so beware.
What are your qualifications and experience?
Your doctor should be able to prove they are a qualified surgeon who is registered as a specialist surgeon with The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Make sure they have as a minimum successfully completed a cosmetic fellowship or have specialised in cosmetic surgery. Ask about their memberships of cosmetic surgery organisations, awards, teaching posts and publishing. The surgeon’s CV should show that they have a rich involvement in the world of cosmetic surgery.
The surgeon’s expertise and experience are the number one determinant of the result. Ask how many of the procedure(s) you are seeking the surgeon has done, and whether you can talk to someone who was happy with their experience.
Will the surgery be done in a licensed and accredited surgical facility?
After new regulations were set in 2017, all cosmetic surgery in NSW has to be carried out in a licensed facility. Before that, doctors could do procedures in their consulting rooms, or anywhere they could hire out equipment.
The new regulations state that it’s only legal to remove less then 2.5 litres of fat in a non-licensed facility, which restricts this to small liposuctions.
For any other type of procedure, there are now surgical standards for anaesthesia, equipment used, patient record keeping and even accommodation where necessary.
Ask whether the facility where the procedure is going to happen is a licensed day surgery hospital. Alternatively, you can find out whether the facility is licensed for day surgery in NSW here. (Dr Hodgkinson’s facility is found under “T“ for The Double Bay Day Surgery)
Can you give me a fixed price quote?
Surgeons that don’t work in their own facilities can have unforeseen blow outs in the cost. They have to hire out space in a hospital or licensed surgical facility, and they hire it out by the hour.
It might take longer to do the operation than the surgeon thought, and without a fixed price, the patient can end up paying for that extra time.
You should ask for a fixed price quotation in advance which includes the surgeon’s fee, anaesthetist’s fee, the theatre and any accommodation fees and any other costs such as the cost of implants, post-operative garments etc. The doctor should take as long as needed to do the job well, but that should not mean the price is higher than quoted.
That’s one of the advantages of a surgeon having their own licensed operating facility – there’s complete control over the process meaning consistent quality, staffing, lower infection rates and of course it limits the costs to the patient through the fixed quote.
Why are you offering such a cheap price?
The main reason some facilities offer a very cheap price on a procedure is because they are not using experienced surgeons. They are literally selling a package deal. There are some surgeons working in facilities offering cosmetic procedures who have no plastic or cosmetic surgical credentials. Younger surgeons may also be prepared to work for less because they have not established themselves and can’t command a higher price in the open market.
Cheap prices could also indicate a production line approach to cosmetic procedures. The surgeon may only know how to do one procedure and only in one way. The facility may ‘bulk buy’ a brand of breast implant, for example, which means women have no choice. There may be a financial incentive from the manufacturer for the doctor to promote that particular implant. But with breast augmentation surgery by Dr Hodgkinson, no one implant suits every woman. The focus should be about making you look your best, not about fitting your body around the implant.
Everyone wants to get cosmetic surgery right the first time. It shouldn’t be a question of luck and you shouldn’t have to go to a second surgeon to fix things up. Secondary surgery is always more complex as the normal tissues to be corrected have already been compromised and or removed and scar tissue has formed from the previous incisions.
As with everything, it is buyer beware. You need to find a surgeon who is qualified, experienced, operates in a licensed facility, and is well-respected in the field.
By asking these five questions of a prospective surgeon, you are on the way to making a confident decision that will yield the results you desire!
Dr. Darryl Hodgkinson is an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon and is the Surgical Dean of The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgeons as well as serving on the editorial board of the international journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He is an invited guest lecturer and teacher to plastic surgeons internationally on the topics of facelifting, rhinoplasty, body contour surgery and general cosmetic surgery and has more than 30 years of experience in performing a range of surgical procedures. His Double Bay clinic is a fully licensed and accredited day surgery centre.
To learn more about cosmetic surgery book in a consultation email the clinic on [email protected] or call us to discuss procedures or make an appointment on 02 9362 7400