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Okemos Michigan Plastic Surgeons Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

Things to Consider Before Cosmetic Surgery

Questions to Ask Yourself Prior to Cosmetic Surgery


  • Why am I trying to improve my face or body?
  • How much self-esteem do I have, and how much is involved in my desires for change?
  • What do I really want to accomplish by this change?
  • Do I want to look the same, but younger?
  • What specific feature, or features, do I want to improve?
  • Do I need extensive surgery, or will "touch-ups" achieve my goal?
  • Are my expectations realistic? Do I expect the surgery to improve my social life?
  • Will I have the same results my friend had?
  • Do I really want this treatment/surgery, or is someone else "pushing" me?
  • How much "down time" can I tolerate? Is this the "right" time in my life?
  • Are my "areas of concern" the same areas other people really notice?
  • Do I have a supportive friend/companion to help me during the first few days after surgery?
  • Am I in a particularly stressful period of my life?
  • Do I have psychological/psychiatric issues, which may become a factor?
  • Am I having any relationship/sexual problems?


  • Do I care if other people know that I have had something done?
  • Is there anything else I could do with the time/money that I would enjoy more?
  • Should I have this done locally?
  • How do I choose a doctor? What kind of surgeon should I find?
  • Does board certification really matter?
  • Are there non-surgical ways to achieve the same goal?
  • Have I researched the options among the treatments/surgeries/surgeons?
  • Where can I find information?
  • Have I stopped smoking? Will I stop?
  • How is my general health?
  • Is there anything special the doctor should know?
  • Am I able/willing to change my lifestyle in any way to preserve/prolong the results?
  • Am I able to really discuss the options with my doctor? Am I comfortable with my doctor?
  • Will I be gaining or losing 20+ pounds or more in the next 6 months?
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • Does this procedure's price reflect its quality, or should I "price shop?"
  • If I choose very large breast implants, will I be comfortable with the staring and persistent attention that may result?

Questions to ask the surgeon during the initial consultation

  • Do you enjoy this surgery? Is it your favorite type of cosmetic surgery? Why or why not.
  • If this type of surgery is so good, why don't many surgeons offer it?
  • If my goals are not realistic, why are they not realistic?
  • Are there any non-surgical options available to me?
  • How long have you been doing this surgery?
  • What complications have you had, and how many?
  • How did you learn to do this surgery, and when?
  • What alternative procedures are available to achieve the same outcome?
  • If you do not perform the alternative procedures, why don't you?
  • Would any of the alternative procedures achieve my stated goals?
  • If I were your sister/ wife/ husband/mother/friend, would you suggest this surgery?
  • If you had this problem, what kind of surgery would you choose? Why?
  • If you had the same problem I do, who would you have do your surgery? Why or why not?
  • When can I return to work? (Very variable, tell the surgeon what is involved in your work)
  • Do you have before and after pictures of your patients?
  • When can I engage in my hobbies, sports, passions, sexual relations?
  • Does your surgical quote (for charges) include anesthesia and facility fee?
  • May I speak to any of your patients who have had this procedure?
  • How long can I reasonably expect the results to "last?" When will I need it done again?
  • I would like a second opinion before deciding; can you suggest anyone?

Considering a Cosmetic Procedure? Words to the Wise.

  • Most commercial web sites (sponsored by the makers or providers of medical products or services) must be read with caution and profound skepticism.
  • Individual magazine articles may be informative, but rarely discuss a procedure or treatment completely objectively. Many articles are exceedingly biased, thinly disguised advertising, or, worst of all, just plain wrong.
  • Television reports are excellent "leads," but rarely discuss a topic in adequate depth to make an informed decision. Many TV shows (especially TLC and Oprah) feature procedures which are outdated, unproven, unnecessarily aggressive, and, sometimes, fraught with lies and incorrect information.
  • Board certification of your doctor (not necessarily in "plastic surgery") although very desirable, does not necessarily mean that he/she is proficient in the treatment being considered.
  • Be certain that you have discussed (and understand) the alternatives available to you regarding the improvement which you desire. Many surgeons simply neglect to discuss perfectly appropriate (and sometime much better and safer) alternate procedures because they are either less lucrative or more "labor intensive" (or both) for the doctor. More commonly, they either simply aren't trained to do the other procedure, or they just don't like to do them. In some cases, the doctor enjoys doing the more complicated surgery, and can charge more for it, so that is what he/she recommends. You may never be told that there is a much easier, much less expensive, longer lasting procedure available.
  • Strongly consider at least one "second opinion." Any doctor who seems "put off" by this possibility is probably not desirable.
  • In addition to written and spoken information, trust your instinct when selecting a doctor. Among several very competent physicians, you may wish to select that doctor with whom you feel "most comfortable."
  • Be very skeptical about any doctor who promises "guarantees" or has "never had complications."
  • All lasers are not created equal, and may produce very different results, even when they are the same "type." The most "popular" or "publicized" lasers are rarely the best.
  • While it is certainly desirable that your doctor has performed a procedure enough to be competent, sheer "numbers of operations done" is not the most important criteria for your selection of a physician.
  • Most cosmetic procedures have at least some "horror stories" associated with them. This is inescapable, and does not necessarily mean that the procedure is bad. Typically, these result from some combination of poor patient selection, poor physician judgment, poor technique, or inadequate materials and equipment. Occasionally, everything is done correctly and the outcome is undesirable. These are complications, and even the world's greatest surgeons have them.
  • If you ask enough doctors to perform a cosmetic procedure that may be detrimental to you, eventually you will find one who will do it.
  • In medicine, as in so many professions, one definition of an expert is a doctor who practices at least 50 miles away from his/her potential patients. You needn't travel thousands of miles for "excellent" cosmetic surgery, although many people believe this. In fact, poor results are often visible on television and movie personalities, who undoubtedly could have any surgeon, anywhere. This is unbelievably common, and inexplicable
  • The most expensive cosmetic surgery is not necessarily the best. Costs vary widely, sometimes with very little relation to the quality of the surgeon or his/her results. Second opinions are not only valuable for exploring expected results, but also for cost.
  • Before your consultation, write out your questions. Be aware that it is not uncommon for plastic and cosmetic surgeons to suggest improvements in areas that you had not considered. Sometimes an additional suggested surgery is indicated for the improvement you seek, and sometimes it is not. "Internal marketing" (which we all do) passively makes you aware of the services offered by the surgeon. Active recommendations for surgical improvements that you had not considered can sometimes have the flavor of "add ons" in the purchase of insurance or automobiles. All of us have gone into a store with many offerings only to forget why we originally left the house.
  • A monumental "turf war" is being waged between those board certified in plastic surgery and those who perform cosmetic surgery and are board certified, but not in plastic surgery. To this end, the official organization of surgeons who are board certified in plastic surgery (ASPRS) continues to suggest (in print, on TV, and online) that any doctor who is not "board certified in plastic surgery" should not be doing cosmetic or plastic surgery of any type, ever. This is nonsense. Excellent surgery (and sub-standard) surgery is done by surgeons in both groups. The determining factor is the individual surgeon (his/her training, experience, skill, and personality), not necessarily a "board certification" or residency type. In fact, dermatologists who do liposuction have a much, much better safety record than "board certified" plastic surgeons.
  • Be very wary of before and after pictures in cosmetic (and all cosmetic improvement marketing). They can be very deceptive and visually manipulative. Often a single procedure is highlighted, without mentioning that several other procedures were done to produce the "after" result. The other tactic that is used is a black and white "before" picture of a very stern patient with absolutely no makeup and plain clothing. The "after" picture is then in color, with a radiantly smiling patient in fabulous clothes and superb "make-up."
  • Many patients ask, "How long will the results last?" This is a reasonable question. Many patients have the "Dorian Gray" image that if a procedure "lasts" 10 years, they will suddenly awaken 10 years after surgery to a face or body that has aged 10 years overnight. They are forgetting two important facts. The first is that the change is gradual (over 10 years), not overnight. The second is that if the surgery is performed when they are 45, 10 years later (when they are 55) that facial or body feature will again look 45. But they are then 10 years ahead of where they "would have been" without the surgery, ahead of their peers who may not have had surgery.

What Advice Do Doctors Give Their Family Members About Cosmetic Surgery?

  • Look at good pictures of yourself (from the shoulders up or closer), one from high school or college, and one from the last 6 months. (Assuming that the face is your concern)
  • What did you really look like back then? What do you want to change? Do you understand that there are limits to plastic surgeries capabilities?
  • Are you concerned with "turning back the clock," changing a structure or shape you've never liked, or some of both?
  • Will you be satisfied with "partial" improvement?
  • What has really changed to make you look "older?"
  • Have you talked with a surgeon who has an "imaging system" to give you an idea of the possible results? (this can be very misleading)
  • Choose the feature that bothers you the most.
  • Remember that it doesn't need to be done all at once. (Although it sometimes can be)
  • Maybe one or two changes will satisfy you, at least for now.
  • Are there non-surgical methods to change this feature(s)?
  • Research the different procedures available for the changes you seek.
  • How will surgery fit into your life, realistically?
  • How much time can you take off work?
  • How much can you reasonably afford to spend?
  • Is there anything else for which you need (or want) the money? Can you use credit cards? Is there a payment plan?
  • Is this the "right time" in your life? Can you really afford or need the added stress?
  • How long do you want the results to last?
  • More temporary procedures are often less costly, but there are glaring exceptions.
  • Are you willing to change your lifestyle to preserve the changes?
  • Are you satisfied that a change is really possible with the procedure you are considering?
  • Choose your surgeon carefully.
  • Seriously consider at least one second opinion. If you ask enough doctors, someone will be willing to perform surgery you may not need or want.
  • Pick someone you are comfortable with, who will take the time to talk to you. Do they encourage questions and/or several discussions before you actually decide to have surgery?
  • Will he/she be available after the surgery?
  • Are "touch-ups" offered at no charge?
  • Do you really know what it will be like after surgery?
  • Is he/she addressing your concerns, rather than suggesting multiple, unrelated procedures?
  • Do not choose him/her just because "they cost the most," or because "everyone uses him/her," or because he/she "did someone well known," or because they are "so busy that they must be good."
  • Do you really understand the alternatives, risks, and possible complications? Are you willing to accept them?
  • Will you be satisfied with a 75% improvement? Do you insist on 100%?
  • Watch the movie "The Doctor" with William Hurt. Many lessons to be learned about which doctor you might want to do your surgery.
  • A conservative approach is best. It is impossible to "go back" and do less, very easy to "go back" and do more.
  • "Reputation" is no guarantee of satisfaction, nor is price, nor is "number of procedures done." The best criteria are communication between surgeon and patient, so that goals are firmly and reasonably discussed and determined. Above all search for honesty, a modicum of modesty, skill, and candor.
  • If he/she has "never had any complications," run away; he/she is either completely inexperienced or a liar.
  • If he/she uses the phrases "I don't have time for you," or "I'm too busy to do that," or "Don't worry, I know what's good for you," run; he/she is not concerned enough about you.
  • Some plastic surgeons (usually young and inexperienced) boast that they "take care of all of the doctors' wives." This is illogical on several levels. First, at least half of all doctors don't have wives. Second, if they really were taking care of other doctor's families, they wouldn't need to publicize that fact.
  • You may research any surgeon's credentials online. Some of the sources are much more credible than others; none of them should be considered "the gospel;" some have unnecessarily and erroneously ruined reputations. You may call the Michigan Attorney General's office for any cases or complaints pending against a surgeon. Over 10-15% of all Michigan doctors may have a pending malpractice suit at any one time. Over 50% of Michigan doctors have had at least one malpractice suit against them. The vast majority of these suits end with the finding that the doctor did nothing wrong.


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