Advances in the field of plastic surgery continue to offer more alternatives. New surgical procedures, as well as minimally invasive procedures, expand the portfolio of options available for patients to select the one that suits them best. This is on the science side, but on the patient’s side, there is also work to be done. Some fundamental steps must be taken before making the decision to undergo an aesthetic procedure, steps that will be key to its success, here are some tips.

1. Selecting a plastic surgeon

A good start is to look for information about the plastic surgeon. You should make sure that the doctor has a specialty in plastic surgery.  Avoid using the cost of the surgery as a criterion for selecting the doctor. This should be the last thing on your list of priorities. Remember that “cheap is expensive”.

2. Seek the necessary information

Seeking information and orientation about the procedure to be performed is another important step prior to the surgery or aesthetic procedure. An educated and well-informed patient will have better communication with the surgeon. The internet is an excellent tool to obtain valuable information.

3. The preoperative evaluation

Before performing a cosmetic surgery or procedure, the surgeon must ensure that the patient is healthy. The laboratory tests that may be required will depend on the patient’s characteristics, age, medical history, medications used and the surgery or procedure to be performed. Some of the tests that may be ordered include hemoglobin and sugar levels and coagulation times, among others. In certain cases, a chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram may be required. It should be noted that these tests are ordered when the patient is going to undergo a procedure that requires anesthesia. When the procedure is performed in the same office or is minimally invasive, these tests are usually not necessary.

4. Visit your specialist

There are cases where the patient presents with a pre-existing medical condition and although many medical conditions are not a contraindication to undergoing a cosmetic surgical procedure, it is important that the condition is under control before proceeding with surgery. In these cases, the surgeon may require you to visit your specialist for approval or what is known as pre-authorization. It will be the specialist who will make any changes or adjustments in the dosage of medications if necessary.

5. Appointment with the anesthesiologist

An important step in the preoperative process is the interview with the anesthesiologist.  The anesthesiologist not only administers the anesthesia but also monitors the patient during the entire procedure. In this interview, you will be able to discuss with him or her other aspects of the surgery that are also important, such as the type of anesthesia that will be used, the risks, and possible complications. It is important that in this interview you mention all the medications you are taking and medical conditions you have, as well as anything relevant to your medical history.

6. A final visit to the surgeon

Finally, be sure to clarify with your surgeon -before undergoing the procedure- any doubts you may have. At this visit, it is advisable to go over any previous details with the doctor and you will be able to discuss any last-minute questions or changes. It is important that your expectations about the results are realistic and that the doctor explains to you what he or she understands you will achieve.

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