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Beauty and Plastic Surgery: Safety First.

shutterstock_157697828-smallerThe International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recently released a worldwide statistical lowdown on all cosmetic procedures in 2013, and it revealed some interesting trends.

There were over 23 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed worldwide. Canadians ranked 15th on the list of total procedures performed per country, having approximately 345000 procedures performed nationally.

There was no international wrinkle in opinion when it came to Botox. Botox was ranked #1 across the board with over 5 million procedures being performed globally. Breast augmentation, the leading surgical procedure, trailed Botox significantly with fewer than 2 million procedures performed.

But why do the numbers matter?

They are telling us that surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures are only increasing in popularity, and with this, an increase in a wide variety of doctors who are providing these services as well.

Therein lies the problem; with increased options for receiving cosmetic procedures, choosing the right professional for you is not as obvious. Most unpleasant results happen because the proper professional did not perform the procedure.

Botox, the world’s most popular treatment, is an example of a procedure that is now being performed outside of the traditional plastic surgeon’s office. In Canada, general practitioners (GPs) may administer botox injections as a preventative treatment for migraines. This being said, I would highly discourage anyone from receiving botox injections for crow’s feet, or wrinkles between their brows from their GP’s. Why? It comes down to training. A GP may be trained on those muscles that generate migraines, but they do not have the specific training that plastic surgeons have for the complex facial muscles.

Do your research.

Understanding your procedure is one thing, but knowing your doctor is another. Research your procedure and ask about your doctor’s skills and qualifications. In order to get to know your potential provider, I suggest asking the following questions during a consultation:

What are your qualifications?

Ask, Don’t assume. In Canada, they should have one or more of the following credentials:

Board Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery

Certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Plastic Surgery

Member, Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons

-This indicates a physician who is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or Collège des Médecins du Québec in the specialty of plastic surgery

4. Member, Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

-Subset of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons specialized in      cosmetic plastic surgery.

What is your specific training in and how often have you performed this procedure?” You wouldn’t want a surgeon with a weekend course under his/her belt.

“What is the specific process of this procedure?” Include questions about what is being removed, or added into your body (breast implants, Botox, Lipoplasty). This is your body after all, and you should understand what is going in and/or coming out.

What are the potential risks and complications?

No procedure is ever really “risk-free” and being told otherwise is a red flag. Making a well-informed decision includes understanding those less than ideal scenarios, and having a surgeon who is more than willing to talk about them is key.

“What can I expect after my treatment?”

The healing process will reveal changes to your body such as swelling and/or bruising, and you need to understand not only the surgeon’s role, but also your responsibilities in post-treatment care in getting positive results.

What is your revision policy?

Worst-case scenario, you are unhappy with your results. Now what? Ask your surgeon before hand what options are available to you after the procedure is done. Some examples:

“What are your fees associated with revision or touch-up post-surgery?”

“How long do I have to wait before you will perform the revision?”

These questions can be used for any and all procedures, but what you should really be asking yourself is “How much do I value my health?” I understand saving time and money, but bargain-hunting when it comes to your health and safety should not be the priority. Find a doctor that understands your needs and will perform the procedure on you in a safe environment. Remember: Safety first!

Dr. Karl Schwarz