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Considering cosmetic surgery this year? Here are four things to think about…

Liz Washington bio image

All surgical results are the coming together of good preparation, appropriate surgical skills and training, optimal post operative support, good health/nutrition and mental wellbeing.

New rules that came into play in recent years ensured that patients and their surgeons can’t rush into cosmetic procedures – which is a good thing!

Planning ahead, taking the time to get informed and ensuring that you have considered your recovery process, financial costs and surgical goals, helps set you up for the best possible process and an enjoyable experience along the way. Here are some questions that our director, Liz, recommends patients ask themselves if they are considering surgery in the coming 12 months:

What do I want to achieve?
Ask yourself to articulate what you are hoping to change – and importantly what you like – about your appearance. Think about the specific changes you’d like to see. Is there a certain result you definitely don’t want? And how do you expect having surgery will make you feel; both during and after the process? Consider whether you’ll be okay with the possibility that your results might be immediately visible (as is the case of breast augmentation or facelift) or could take a full year to reveal themselves. Talk to a trusted person about your concerns or desires – and feel free to bring them along to the consultation with your surgeon. It might make you feel more comfortable, and can also help you remember what was discussed during your appointment!

What is my ideal time frame for surgery?
If you have your heart set on a specific time of year for your surgery, ideally, book your first consultation 6-8 months prior, especially if you’re planning surgery during busy periods, such as Christmas or school holidays. The only downside to choosing an experienced surgeon is that there might be a wait to get an initial appointment (with good reason) but we understand it can be very disappointing to find that the theatre lists during your scheduled annual leave break are all booked up. Ask your surgeon if they have a Priority Waiting List. In our clinics, we can often bring our patients’ appointments forward by weeks or months, just by registering them on this list. Most of the time, your surgery will be anywhere from 1-3 months after your initial consultation, depending on availability on theatre lists at your preferred hospital. Often you will have a second or third complimentary consultation in the interim. And don’t plan to have surgery just before major life events; give yourself plenty of time to heal before a wedding, reunion or big holiday!

Can I take enough time off work?
Most procedures require 1-2 weeks off work, and if your job involves heavy lifting or lots of physical activity, you may need to return on reduced activities for up to 6 weeks, longer if you’re a slow healer or have other health issues. Talk to us so we can help you plan ahead. If you have a cosmetic procedure with Dr Sharp, you will have at least 3 post op consultations, so it’s also good to consider how you will be able to attend these around work commitments after your surgery. Also consider allocating time for the postoperative care program we offer our patients in clinic, as well as external providers such as scar therapy or lymphatic drainage. 

Do I need private health insurance?
It’s beneficial to have private health insurance if you are having surgery. Some procedures, such as abdominoplasty after pregnancy or brachioplasty after massive weightloss, carry MBS item numbers which significantly reduces your out of pocket costs, and gives you peace of mind knowing you have any post operative hospital admissions covered. Most importantly if you experience complications or health issues after surgery, your private health insurance usually covers most of the associated costs. Readmission to hospital after cosmetic surgery is rare amongst our patients, but it does happen from time to time and when it does, private health insurance is very reassuring.

Have more questions for us?
Our experienced patient care team have extensive experience navigating these questions, and are available for an obligation free phone chat on 07 3202 4744 to discuss the procedure you are interested in, the potential costs involved and whether or not you might be eligible for rebates.