Choosing a surgeon can be very confusing and it’s important that you feel comfortable with the doctor you have chosen to perform your procedure. To help you, we have broken down some of the key misconceptions around choosing a surgeon and provided you with a helpful checklist of questions you should be asking during your consultation.
The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS) is the only organisation in Australia that certifies surgeons for breast implant surgery. For more information on their standards of training and experience needed to obtain this certification visit www.accs.org.au.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Members are surgeons who offer cosmetic procedures with recognised qualifications granted by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). However, this recognition doesn’t include any assessment by the AMC of training or expertise in cosmetic surgical procedures like breast augmentation.
Surgeons who have the qualification Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) aren’t plastic surgeons or Fellows of the ACCS. These are most often specialists in general surgery who now offer cosmetic procedures.
To help you determine whether your surgeon is the right fit for you, we have compiled a check list of questions to ask the practise or your surgeon during your consultation:
- How many times have you performed cosmetic breast augmentation before? Make sure it is hundreds, if not, thousands of times.
- How many times have you performed it in the last 6 months?
- Are you a trainee? Some cut price clinics use trainee surgeons.
- Are you a Fellow of the ACCS and are you specifically certified by it in breast surgery?
- If you are a plastic surgeon, do you have any extra training in cosmetic breast augmentation?
- If you are a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), do you have any extra training in cosmetic breast augmentation?
- What is your own complication rate?
- How do you know this? Do you audit your results or are you just working from memory? Not necessarily reliable where complications are concerned.
- Do you operate in a licensed hospital or licensed day hospital? Licensing is different from accreditation which is a lower standard
- Will there be a specialist anaesthetist to look after me during the operation? Some surgeons use a nurse to give the sedation drugs while they are operating, a practice not allowed in licensed facilities.
- Can I see photos of your own work on patients similar to me?
- Can I speak to previous patients?
Other questions you should ask, not specifically relating to a doctor’s basic competence but important to help you get the best result you can include:
- How much experience do you have with the P-URE foam covered breast implant which are proved to reduce complications and last longer?
- How much experience do you have with the rapid recovery technique?
Make sure you are being provided with the information to make your own informed decision and avoid surgeons or clinics where your initial consultation is not with the surgeon. If the surgeon himself is not willing to spend time with you to make sure you get all of the correct information to help you make one of the biggest decisions of your life go elsewhere and find one who will. Your consultation will be with Dr Fleming who performs the surgery. It will either be free of charge or bulk billed if a Medicare rebate applies.
Finally, take your time and do your research when investigating a surgeon, as it is one of the most important decisions you can make.