Choosing a surgeon
Surgery is voluntary
As with any surgery, the single most
important factor in the success of aesthetic plastic surgery is
the surgeon you select. Do not take this responsibility lightly. Conduct
your own research to verify the surgeon's training and experience; then
weigh your decision carefully.
a number of ways to evaluate which surgeon is right for you. Check for
certification by the DGPRÄC (Deutsche Gesellschaft Plastischer, Rekonstruktiver und Ästhetischer Chirurgen - before VDPC),
which means the surgeon has undergone an approved plastic surgery residency
of at least six years. Remember that in Germany and many other
countries, it is legal for any physician who holds a medical license,
with or without surgical training, to advertise as an aesthetic or cosmetic
surgeon. That's why understanding board certification is so important
for the prospective patient.
is confusion about a surgeon's board certification, you may consult the
VDPC or affiliated associations. Due to limitations following the reform
of the German Health System, physicians from other medical specialties
such as general practitioners, gynecologists, ear-nose and throat specialists
and even dermatologists try to practice aesthetic surgery - often without
appropriate surgical training and without prior experience in this field.
Try to be cautious if you cannot find the specialty title of the doctor,
if in doubt, just ask for it.
you should look for is "Facharzt für Plastische Chirurgie" or "Specialist
in Plastic Surgery". These titles are not to be used by physicians
who have not had the adequate full specialist-training. Talk candidly
with the surgeon. After you have checked the credentials of a plastic
surgeon, you should make an appointment for an initial consultation. During
this consultation, the surgeon will examine you, explain the operation
and may give you literature describing preoperative considerations
and postoperative care. You should feel comfortable discussing your expectations
and questioning your surgeon on any aspect of the surgery. A qualified
and reputable plastic surgeon will be happy to answer your questions and
to inform you of the possible risks and side effects associated with surgery. If
you don't feel comfortable or if you are not sure, whether this surgeon
is what you expected, it might be a good idea to have more consultations
with 2 or 3 other surgeons. May be you will have to put in a bit more
effort, but you should be certain to be in "safe and caring" hands!
Even a Specialist
in Plastic Surgery should have a longstanding experience with aesthetic
operations. To make sure you find the right surgeon it is relevant to
ask the following questions whithout feeling intrusive:
when does the surgeon perform these operations?
- how many
of these operations has the surgeon performed already?
- does he
mainly do aesthetic procedures or is his main interest in another field
(reconstructive or hand surgery etc.)?
- can he
show you photographs of other patients who underwent surgery with him
or her and who had successful operations? Does he have before-and-after
photographs? (These can be a hint to the qualification of the surgeon,
but don't base your selection just on a couple of pictures.)
- what kind
of specialist-training has he had, does he have certificates?
too enthusiastic about computer-simulations. They represent only "toys"
and cannot guarantee a definite postoperative result. It might be convenient
to play around with these programs but don't forget that there are many
factors influencing the outcome of an operation such as wound healing,
scar formation, skin quality etc. You may end up not looking the way you
looked like on the screen!
is important to remember that aesthetic plastic surgery molds and reshapes
living tissue, and the results are not absolutely predictable. No surgeon
can offer risk free surgery or guarantee a perfect result.
results achieved in some aesthetic surgical procedures, such as surgery
of the nose, ears and chin, are permanent. In others, particularly those
that diminish the effects of aging, results may be long lasting but are
not permanent. Plastic surgery may be able to turn back the clock but
will not stop it from running.
candidate for aesthetic plastic surgery is an individual who recognizes
a specific area in which his or her appearance could be improved and has
a strong personal desire to make a change. Many people choose aesthetic
surgery to give themselves added confidence in the workplace, a psychological
boost after a lifestyle change or simply to help them look as young as
they feel. Whatever your reasons for choosing aesthetic plastic surgery,
it is important to have realistic expectations. Often, improving a feature
of your face or body will make you feel good about yourself, and that
can have a positive impact in many areas of your life. Having aesthetic
surgery is not, however, a guarantee of happiness or better relationships
with others. Surgery can enhance your appearance; the rest is up to you.
is Plastic Surgery?
Plastic Surgery is not a development of the 20th century. Highly sophisticated
techniques were employed as early as the 6. century A.D. when surgeons
in India described an operation to reconstruct defects of the nose and
there is historical proof, that during the reign of the Roman Empire doctors
used plastic surgery to treat defects of the skin. Rather slowly
was the delicate art of plastic and aesthetic surgery diffused and over
centuries much of it even seemed forgotten. A new approach was made in
Germany during the 19th century after which this specialty of surgery
began to become more and more popular. The reconstruction of form and
function drew attention from the public not only then but even more today.
This highly specialized surgical discipline often finds itself spread
out amongst many other different lines of surgery, which does not account
for the complexity of the subject.