Like professionals in many fields, plastic surgeons sometimes use “stock” photos in their promotional materials, or for illustrative purposes. Often the maker of a piece of surgical equipment, or the originators of a new technique (such as Thermage or the Feather Lift) will provide participating surgeons with photos showing results that have been achieved using their proprietary technique or equipment. The surgeon shows prospective patients these photos to illustrate possible outcomes. Usually, these photos are only permitted to be used by surgeons who have completed the patent holder’s requisite training to be certified in the use of the technique or equipment. However, this is by no means a guarantee that this particular surgeon has operated on the patients in those pictures. Make sure to ask if the photos shown to you are pictures of actual patients of that particular surgeon.
9.) What is your complication rate with this procedure?
Although a surgeon cannot violate the privacy of his or her patients, he or she should absolutely be able to tell you how many complications he has had with your particular surgery, and how many of them have been serious. This can be in the form of an actual count, or a percentage, but your surgeon should be willing to provide this information so that you feel comfortable about making the most informed choice for your own health and safety.
10.) Can you provide me with 3-6 references to patients on whom you have performed this procedure?
I have never heard of a surgeon turning down such a request, so don’t be the least bit afraid to ask. Your surgeon should want you to hear the glowing reports of his satisfied patients. Not only can these references provide you with a “review” of your surgeon’s care and skill, but they may also be able to give valuable insight about what you might expect to experience in regard to recovery, pain management, and downtime.
11.) What is the exact breakdown of fees for this procedure?
Some people don’t realize that there’s a lot more to your total fee than just the surgeon’s fee. There are anesthesia fees, operating room fees, lab fees, and a number of other variables that can affect the bottom line. Ask for a written breakdown along with the total, so you’re not facing any ugly surprises when it’s all said and done.