Choosing Change: What to Ask About Plastic Surgery
It may be something you've thought about for a long time, it's a big decision and one that will change your life. All surgical procedures carry risk and plastic surgery is no different; it's important to do your research, ask around, and then make the best judgment call for your well-being. Once you take the step to improve your life there are a few things to keep in mind, starting with the consultation.
"A consultation is an opportunity for patients to evaluate surgeons," explains Dr. Joseph P. Lupo with Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of Acadiana, "the surgeon should be open and honest with the patient about options, benefits, and possible risks."
Dr. Lupo and his partner, Dr. Bennett Boustany Fontenot, say it's important to choose a surgeon who is trained in both General Surgery and Plastic Surgery.
"We are double trained here," says Dr. Fontenot, "it's about safety and what's best for our patients."
When you decide to schedule your consultation, there are a few things you may want to bring, such as your medical history. This should include medical problems in your family. Also, bring along any medications you are currently taking, including vitamins and supplements.
"What the surgeon may need to know might be specific to your procedure but medical history and medications are always important," says Dr. Fontenot.
Body shape, anatomy, and overall health may affect the approach of the surgeon. Like Dr. Lupo and Dr. Fontenot, your surgeon should understand the intricacies of Microvascular Surgery and invest in technology. At Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of Acadiana, they make use of the advanced Vectra Imaging System. Vectra can actually let them create a picture of what the outcome of surgery will look like before patients undergo a procedure.
According to Dr. Lupo, "Vectra allows us and patients to be on the same page. We want them to know what's possible and realistic. It's about working together and building trust."
Write down all your concerns, ask pointed questions about safety, preparations, possible risks, downtime, and aftercare. Don’t be afraid to ask what might be seen as difficult questions, such as your doctor’s complication rate and contingency plans for problems.
Angie Bryant went to Dr. Lupo for reconstructive procedures on her foot; she says nervousness was a real issue for her, "I was actually terrified, but he made me feel comfortable. My surgery was no sure thing, it was complicated. He did everything to answer my questions."
"I like it when someone comes in with a list of questions," says Dr. Lupo, "I always want informed and involved patients."
Dr. Lupo and Dr. Fontenot say that patients being involved in their own care is crucial. They are trained in various techniques and make use of state-of-the-art technology, but that can only take procedures part of the way. Having an informed patient means they can be involved in their surgical plan, which was key for Angie.
"We were dealing with something I don't think is done in this area. Dr. Lupo basically had to reconstruct the top half of my foot. He was very professional, but I felt I could approach him with questions. He's not only a great doctor but a great person."
Go in with an idea of how you want to live after surgery. Plastic surgery is life changing; know what you want to get out of it. The surgical portion of plastic surgery may be the smallest piece of your relationship with your doctor. Choosing the right surgeon for your life is more important than the actual procedure.