Cartoon medical surgeon

Ok, straight off I have to tell you I have already lied. There is not 5 things. There are 10 things. Frankly, people make way too many mistakes before they opt for plastic surgery so there is no way I could leave it at just 5 things you need to know. You need to know all 10 so I have recruited Kate Moreland, the director of Clarify Clinic, to tell us about the 10 most common mistakes she sees from people considering plastic surgery.

Even if you or someone you know isn’t necessarily considering plastic surgery right now, you should definitely read this because it is something you cannot discount down the track.

MISTAKE 1: Not knowing where to start looking

Just because someone has a slick marketing advert does not mean that they have the knowledge, skills and similarly talented hands in surgery, and, surprise-surprise, not everything you read on the Internet is accurate.

Marketing should be a means of introduction to a possible physician, not a determining factor in selecting a surgeon. Friends and family may seem like good referral sources if they have undergone surgery themselves – but remember, everyone is created differently; and what worked for them with their specific procedure may not work best for you with your procedure or that same surgeon.

There is no substitute for research. If that’s not your forte, seek independent, unbiased advice.

MISTAKE 2: Choosing your surgeon without evaluating their training and credentials

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon? No? Well you should.

Plastic surgery in Australia is unregulated. Regular doctors can perform the same plastic surgery as certified plastic surgeons.

It is legal for any doctor with a basic medical degree to perform surgery. Plastic Surgeons however, have further specialised extensive surgical education and training. This includes a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education with at least 5 years of specialist postgraduate training.

All surgical procedures carry risk, but you can reduce the chance of risk and complication by consulting a Specialist Plastic Surgeon who is trained, qualified and accredited to perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery- but it goes even further than that. There is a difference between having learned every necessary skill to be talented and actually being talented with those skills. Not all surgeons are created equal.

Speaking with a surgeon’s previous patients is a way of getting to the heart of the matter. It works for us.

MISTAKE 3: Not realising the risks of fixing a bad plastic surgery job

Your highest chance of getting the best result is with the first procedure, not a secondary revision. It is common sense really. With the first surgery, let’s say you will have a scar, which you will have if you go under the knife. Having to have further surgery will not improve that scar – but it might make it worse.

If you were working on making your car look great to sell it, which do you expect would come up with the best end result: Working on a brand new car, or having to do a bodge job on a car involved in a head-on collision?

The risks involved in revision surgery increase vastly over virgin plastic surgery. Things become more complicated as they are now operating on tissue that is already scarred and has inferior blood supply. What you are looking at now, in essence, is reconstructive surgery. You are now in a highly specialised domain where you will have no option but to use the very best surgeons to fix you – and to fix something that is broken involves more work and costs a lot more than enhancing something that is not broken – and the results never look the same. That is something that you want to avoid at all costs.

MISTAKE 4: Believing you won’t be scarred

If you are cut, you will scar.

When it comes to scars from big procedures such as tummy tucks and breast lifts, many believe that it is a surgeon’s skill that determines how badly you will scar post surgery however, it really comes down to a patient’s genetic factors.

A skilled plastic surgeon can do the same exact closure on two different people: One heals with imperceptible scars – and one does not. It is something important to keep in mind before going under the knife — especially if you have a darker complexion and high skin pigmentation which puts you in the high-risk category for scarring.

Find out how you are likely to react before going into surgery.

MISTAKE 5: Forgetting to aks about possible complications

Yes, things can go wrong. There are risks associated with all procedures. Knowledge is king, as they say, and it is important for you to have a thorough understanding of the risks involved in order to make an informed decision.

Even though Clarify Clinic have done the hard research on your behalf, you should not be afraid to ask the surgeon what their actual complication rates are for your selected procedure.

What you need to understand is if the surgery is not performed correctly the first time, and you need to go back in again for revision surgery, the cost of fixing the procedure will be more expensive than the surgeons fee the first time around- plus revision surgery will most likely be more painful.

As we say, you only have one body. Make sure you look after it. Get your surgery done once and get it done right.

MISTAKE 6: Getting surgery for the wrong reasons

The best patients are the ones with realistic goals who are essentially happy with themselves but have a physical feature that they would like to improve.

It is important that you are motivated for the right reasons and are emotionally ready before considering undergoing any procedure. It has to be your decision and your desire alone to proceed- not anybody else’s.

Plastic surgery may enhance your self-esteem to help you better meet the challenges in your life with greater confidence, but it will not necessarily compensate for any emotional or psychological difficulties you may have in your life.

Getting breast implants simply because your partner likes big breasts is a “mental fail” in my book. Perhaps seeing a Shrink instead would solve your issues.

MISTAKE 7: Forgetting to ask if you are a good candidate for the procedure

How many people do you think even consider this? Or more often than not, conveniently put it aside? Think you can go from an A cup to a D cup? Think again.

It’s so easy to get carried away, to get so focused on your dreams and desires that all logic gets thrown out the window.

Now is not the time to let emotions dictate what you would adore. Now is the time to be practical, to understand a surgeon has to work with your body’s natural uniqueness, to ‘enhance’ what you already have and to build upon that.

What I often have to do is bring people back to the hard facts of what is, and what simply is not realistic for their body type. Perhaps you are just not a good candidate, from a medical point-of-view, for certain surgery. Accept it, or you will regret it. We are here to help you look as natural as possible.

MISTAKE 8: Choosing your surgeon based on price

You are not buying a product off the shelf. You can walk into a shop and see a pair of shoes selling for $20 and you can see a pair of shoes selling for $200. Is one product superior to the other? Of course it is.

Not all plastic surgeons are the same. They are not products- they are selling a service based upon their skills, knowledge, experience and talent. Do you think the best need to discount? Do you think Chanel would ever sell their shoes for $20?

The next time you see a Plastic Surgeon advertising discounted surgery, ask yourself “Why”? If you are selling your house, why do you discount it? Because you can’t sell it. Why can’t you sell it? Because it is not worth that price.

You get what you pay for.

There is no bigger investment that you will make in your life than choosing the right, talented plastic surgeon to work with.

Yes, cost is a definitely a factor – just don’t let it be a determining factor.

With my own surgeries that I have had, I do everything I can to ensure I come out of surgery safe and with the best results possible. Why needlessly risk the consequences of living a life filled with regret? Let’s just say the best will cost you another $5,000 and you live another 50 years? $100 extra a year, and you can even put that on medical finance easily today. I would bet you regularly blow $100 on something entirely pointless.

You can’t put a price on your health – or your looks.

MISTAKE 9: Failure to disclose everything to the surgeon

Without all of the facts, how can you make an informed and proper decision about your surgery? Well the same applies to your chosen surgeon. If you don’t give him all the facts he could make the wrong decision for you and it will be you who pays for it.

Did you know that dietary supplements could affect the way your body reacts to anesthetic? That the wrong drug or supplement interaction could kill you in theatre?

Diet pills, metabolic enhancers, fat enhancers, whatever the latest fad is, can annoy your heart and lead to cardiac arrest. Smoking increases the chances of pulmonary complications after an anesthetic as much as 6 times, and it interferes with your wound healing. If you smoke 12 cigarettes a day, be honest; don’t tell your surgeon that you only smoke 5.

Doctors need to know everything you take. They are not judging you – they are simply asking crucial information to help keep you safe.

MISTAKE 10: Choosing a surgeon with whom you don’t feel comfortable

If you don’t feel comfortable, get out. Now.

Would you jump out of a plane strapped to a skydiving instructor you didn’t feel comfortable with, nor trust?

Surgery is not a one-time event – there will be follow-up visits. In essence you are entering into a type of relationship with a surgeon, one where it is important that you develop solid trust and rapport. If you do not feel comfortable and at ease with the surgeon, then what makes you think he will? It takes two to tango.

This will help you with the emotional ride that can follow any surgical procedure. At Clarify Clinic we are here to hold your hand throughout the whole process, but putting that aside, it is still vital to have a surgeon with whom it you feel completely comfortable and trust.

About Kate and Clarify Clinic

Kate Moreland, Director of Clarify Clinic

Kate Moreland, Director of Clarify Clinic

Why did we select Kate for this job? Kate works with some of the top plastic surgeons in Sydney (and Sydney loves a little knife action) – even going as far as attending procedures in theatre with them – and is a great independent voice and source of information. Since 75% of all people having plastic surgery wish they’d done more research first, her new concept was to fill this “research void” for people. Clarify Clinic’s goal is to make sure that patients go to the best surgeon for their procedure, are aware of the facts and do what they can to avoid the mistakes.

Clarify Clinic exist for those who are considering having any sort of plastic surgery procedure done – from appearance enhancing to reconstruction post-trauma. Being independent, they provide clients unbiased advice, not only on the surgery, but also on the best surgeons or plastic surgery clinics for their chosen procedure. They have a unique process which guides the client to the very best Surgeons and Specialists whom they have identified, assessed, profiled as having proved to consistently deliver excellent results with the highest patient satisfaction. They understand that the decision to enhance your appearance is a very personal one – they help make sure clients have the best possible result and are in the best mindset and physical fitness before undertaking any procedure.

Clarify Clinic’s advice is invaluable as the plastic surgery industry has because quite complex and confusing, not to mention difficult for individuals to find objective advice regarding treatment approaches, products, statistics and clinical information. I only wish this service was around when I had my rhinoplasty!

Have you had or are you considering plastic surgery? Is the research process overwhelming you? Let me know by commenting below!

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