A successful cosmetic procedure starts with an honest and in-depth initial consultation with an experienced Boston cosmetic surgeon. What questions will you need to ask at that first meeting?

The questions you should ask are listed below, but first, you should understand the importance of asking your cosmetic surgeon these questions.

The cosmetic surgery patients who ask the most questions are frequently the patients who end up the most satisfied with the choices they’ve made.

Do not hesitate to ask your cosmetic surgeon about anything that may concern you. When surgery is the topic, you can’t ask a question that’s wrong.

WHAT ARE THE FIVE QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK A COSMETIC SURGEON?

The questions will of course vary depending on the procedure you are interested in. Still, there are several basic questions that every prospective cosmetic surgery patient should pose to a doctor at the initial consultation.

The answers should tell you if the particular procedure that you’re seeking is right for you – and if the surgeon you are consulting is right for you as well.

For your information, and for your peace of mind, do not end your first consultation until you’ve asked and received adequate answers from the cosmetic surgeon to these five questions:

1. Are you a board certified plastic surgeon?
2. How often have you performed this procedure?
3. What anesthesia is provided, and who provides it?
4. What can I expect during recovery?
5. What is it all going to cost?

Below is a brief discussion of why each question is important – and what kinds of answers you should expect.

QUESTION #1: ARE YOU A BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON?

You may not know this, but in the United States, it is legal for any physician with a license to perform cosmetic surgery – even with no training whatsoever.

Ask the surgeon you are consulting if he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

WHAT DOES “BOARD-CERTIFIED” MEAN?

The answer will tell you what you should know about the doctor’s experience, training, and dedication to your safety.

Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) means the doctor has completed at least twenty four months of training in all aspects of cosmetic and plastic surgery.

The ABPS certifies only those plastic surgeons who completed the required training and passed very rigorous written and oral examinations.

QUESTION #2: HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU PERFORMED THIS PROCEDURE?

Most cosmetic plastic surgeons perform a large variety of procedures, but usually have areas of concentration.

A surgeon who specializes in the procedure you seek has probably performed the procedure on a variety of patients with different face and body types.

That surgeon is also likely to keep abreast of the latest surgical breakthroughs and techniques. He or she is the surgeon most likely to deliver the results you seek.

During your consultation, ask to see the “before and after” pictures of the doctor’s previous surgery patients.

QUESTION #3: WHAT ANESTHESIA IS PROVIDED, AND WHO PROVIDES IT?

All cosmetic surgery requires local anesthesia and possibly oral sedation or intravenous anesthesia. Local anesthesia offers some advantages, but when complex or multiple cosmetic procedures are performed a deeper level of sedation may be needed.

Statistically, local and general anesthesia are both quite safe when administered by a qualified and experienced provider.

The anesthesia your procedure requires should be administered only by a certified registered nurse anesthetist or by a board-certified physician anesthesiologist.

Working with an ABPS certified surgeon can give you peace of mind. ABPS certified surgeons work only with trained and licensed anesthesia professionals in accredited facilities.

QUESTION #4: WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING RECOVERY?

Knowing in advance about the recovery process will help you determine when your surgery should be scheduled.

Depending on the procedure, you will need at least a few days to recover and if you undergo a complicated surgery or multiple procedures, you’ll need several weeks for a full recovery.

At a first cosmetic surgery consultation, ask the doctor how much time you will need to be away from your routine daily activities.

You may need to request time off from work, make arrangements for childcare or pet care, and see to it that your other obligations are covered.

WILL YOUR ACTIVITIES BE RESTRICTED? IF SO, FOR HOW LONG?

Obviously, every patient and every procedure is unique, so you will need to ask specifically about any restrictions on your activity while you recover from cosmetic surgery.

Most cosmetic surgery patients will need to avoid heavy lifting – including lifting their own small children – for at least several weeks after a cosmetic surgery procedure.

What if the doctor spells out some limitations on your activity that make you uncomfortable?

You may want to consider postponing the surgery until a more convenient time, or you may want to consider a less invasive procedure that places fewer restrictions on you during your recovery.

An experienced and board certified Boston cosmetic plastic surgeon can help you consider your options and help you determine what’s right for you.

QUESTION #5: WHAT IS IT ALL GOING TO COST?

Cosmetic surgery is elective surgery. That means, with extremely narrow exceptions, that cosmetic surgery patients pay personally and directly for cosmetic surgical procedures.

Do not let that be an obstacle to your goals. Most cosmetic surgeons are willing to work with patients and offer several types of financing and payment plans.

Again, because every patient and surgery is unique, the final price tag on a procedure will vary depending on your needs and goals – and on where you live and have the surgery is performed.

The cost will include the surgeon’s fees, anesthesia services, operating room costs, and the cost of any necessary surgical items like breast implants.

You should be provided with a detailed and personalized fee quote at the end of a first consultation or immediately thereafter.

Cost alone, of course, can’t be your only basis for selecting a surgeon.

If the price you are quoted sounds too good to be true, it is. On the other hand, paying a lot for cosmetic surgery is no guarantee that a doctor is skilled or that you’ll be pleased with the results.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER QUESTIONS?

It cannot be stressed too strongly – do not be reticent at a first consultation to ask the cosmetic surgeon about anything that may be a concern.

Make a list of the questions you want to ask, including the five questions discussed here.

If you are considering a cosmetic surgical procedure, begin by finding a board certified plastic cosmetic surgeon near you, and start your new future – right now.