Do Your Homework. Be Prepared for Your Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgeries have risen in record numbers across the country and in Florida. Over 8 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in 2003 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Of those procedures, 7 million were minimally invasive, non-surgical in nature. The top procedures were Botox injections followed by chemical peels and microdermabrasion. In 2010, there were 13.1 million cosmetic procedures performed. That's more than a 49% increase in 7 years.

It's important for you to do your homework regardless of the type of surgery you plan to schedule. Understanding the full scope of the procedure, including risks and recovery time, is critical to establishing practical expectations and your satisfaction with the end result. It is appropriate for you to ask to see before and after photos of patients who've had the same cosmetic procedure.

Many cosmetic procedures are considered elective and are not covered by insurance. Be sure you review the financial responsibilities before you proceed. Your doctor can submit a summary of the procedures to your insurance company for approval and an estimate of what they will pay. Costs of procedures vary by doctor, but don't make a decision solely on cost. Make sure you select your doctor based on qualifications and experience and not by the discounts he or she offers.

Confirm the doctor you're considering is licensed to perform the surgery. In Florida, as well as many other states, online resources are available to research your physician. Many sources will also tell you if the physician holds professional liability coverage.

Not everyone is happy with their results. Check for complaints or any lawsuits that may have been filed against the doctor and the outcome. Understand, however, that an outcome less pleasing than you had hoped does not necessarily mean the doctor is guilty of medical malpractice. Doctors cannot guarantee a perfect cosmetic result. In general, to constitute malpractice, the doctor must have departed from an acceptable standard of care under the circumstances.

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