Bringing the cosmetic to reconstructive surgery: breast reconstruction in mastectomy patients
May 10, 2019
Addressing the safety concerns behind breast implants
July 12, 2019

Important questions to ask your plastic surgeon during initial consultation

For many people around the world, the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery isn’t something considered lightly. However, no matter the operation you might be interested in, it’s vitally important that you meet with a plastic surgeon and fully discuss your chosen surgery and everything it entails.


Today, we’ll look at a few of the important questions to ask your surgeon, and why it’s crucial that you ask them. All of these questions below are important, but still don’t cover the full range of questions many patients choose to ask in their initial consultation.

What should I discuss with my plastic surgeon?


Before committing to any surgical procedure, you’ll meet with your plastic surgeon for an initial consultation. It’s important that during this process you determine who you are speaking to, whether it’s the surgeon who will be performing the operation, or an assistant or colleague.


When meeting to discuss a potential surgery, this is important for a few reasons. First, speaking with the surgeon who will perform the procedure ensures you receive advice and information from a qualified individual. It also allows you to ask specific questions that another staff member may not be able to accurately answer, such as experience with a particular procedure.


Some initial questions to consider asking include:

  • Who will perform the procedure?
  • What are their qualifications?
  • Will they be able to achieve the desired result?
  • How many times has the surgeon performed the procedure?
  • What are the complications and recovery timeframe of the chosen surgery?


Speaking with your surgeon directly will ensure you fully understand the procedure and how it fits together with your desired outcome, including how specific risks and results will relate to your body and health.

Who will operate on me and what are their qualifications?


You should have your primary consultation with the plastic surgeon who is going to perform your procedure. This is a fundamental requirement and the surgeon performing your procedure should make a comprehensive assessment of your concerns and examine you. Only in this way will they be able to make a proper evaluation and select the correct surgical route. The surgeon should be suitably qualified and fully versed and experienced in your area of concern.


In New Zealand this means they should be a vocationally registered specialist with the New Zealand Medical Council, and most will be members of the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons. This is the New Zealand professional organisation representing Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.


Ultimately, your consultation should cover all questions and queries from both sides – a surgeon will want to understand your decision, your expectations, and advise on aspects of the surgery you might not have considered, and this is your opportunity to ensure you’re fully informed about the procedure before going ahead.

What results can I expect and how long will they last for?


Irrespective of your area of concern or procedure you are interested in, it is vital you understand what is involved and what the likely outcome might be. Unrealistic expectations from plastic surgery are surprisingly common and can be a significant cause for concern. Everyone is unique, and each person’s body and health is different – it’s important that you understand the results of the procedure as they apply to your body and an experienced surgeon will be able to communicate this. Aligning your expectations with those of your surgeon is the ideal way to reach a satisfactory outcome and avoid disappointment.


This is also an opportunity for your plastic surgeon to understand the reasons behind your choice in operation – their goal is to make sure you’re happy with the final result, one that is both natural, aesthetically pleasing, and healthy.

Do You Perform this Procedure Regularly?


A good surgeon will be open with you about their experience and how often they perform various procedures. Some procedures may be uncommon but standard operations should be regularly performed and a qualified surgeon will have the skill set to manage a range of different problems – even unusual ones – based on their core training.


As a patient, it is perfectly acceptable to query your surgeon’s experience in performing your desired procedure. By knowing this, you can be comfortable they will identify the right questions to ask and ensures the information you are receiving is accurate and applicable to your situation.


Making sure you have all of your questions about your procedure or situation answered is vital. This makes up a key component of “informed consent” which is a principle of modern acceptable medical practice. A good surgeon will want to make sure you have a clear understanding of an operation, its pros and cons, potential limitations and complications.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?


Every surgery carries some risk, many of which are common to all operations, such as bleeding, infection, wound-healing issues or reactions to general anesthesia. Additionally, your plastic surgeon will cover all the risks unique to the specific operation during your initial consultation.


Other risks vary widely from patient to patient and from one procedure to another – some procedures carry greater risk than others, while your individual circumstances will also affect your surgeon’s advice. Speaking directly with your surgeon is vital – only they can give you a full understanding of the risks involved.


Aftercare will vary from procedure to procedure and may differ between different individuals. Recovery timeframes and expectations should be made clear and as a patient, you should also let the surgeon know if you have any restrictions or requirements, such as overseas travel or imminent special occasions.  You should ask about your length of hospital stay, return to activity and work, and what to do should you encounter any complications.

Speak to Bisson Plastic Surgery in Wellington


Bisson Plastic Surgery provides an initial consultation before any surgery to ensure our patients are comfortable and fully informed. It’s important that during this process you feel comfortable with your decision and your surgeon, and that you are fully versed about the procedure and likely outcome. For many procedures, especially complex or cosmetic operations, a second consultation is offered or recommended before going ahead. This gives an opportunity for clarifying anything that has worried you and ensures you and the surgeon are on the same page.


If you’re interested in meeting with our plastic surgeon to discuss a potential procedure and find out which options are best for you, contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Book a consultation