Cosmetic treatment is a type of plastic surgery that aims to improve a person's appearance, but it should be approached with caution.
The concept of cosmetic treatments non-surgical and surgical was in a very nascent state in 2002, which is when we launched the CSI. For all practical purposes, we were the path-breakers and mostly responsible for educating the people at large about the advantages of cosmetic medicine and surgery with minimal or no risk.
- Looks, trends, fashion are all Bollywood centric, and so there was a rise in demand for beauty-related procedures and the flip side of that was the sprouting of many legit and not so legit providers of the service.
- The result of all of this is an increasing number of unhappy patients with adverse outcomes. The steps when you consider cosmetic medicine or surgery is to have a wishlist.
The choice of a doctor for your chosen services will include:
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- The area of expertise of the cosmetic surgeon or doctor that you are approaching. Some may be good at facial procedures, others in body contouring and still others in hair treatment.
- The second most important requirement is the experience of your treating physician. If he or she has practised for many years and performed several such procedures, then you should be comfortable with the physician.
- The third pointer for you would be to check out on the affiliations of the Surgeon and his team. Certified hospitals allow affiliations to only highly qualified doctors with good standing among their peers.
- Choose a doctor who may have been recommended by people close to you after all word of mouth is more useful than any degrees that you may have seen on the walls.
- Once you have chosen the practice and have decided to meet the doctor, please assess if the treating doctor is confident, professional and at the same time friendly. Has he/ she been able to answer most of your queries?
- Does the doctor encourage you to ask questions and answers your items to your satisfaction? Does he/ she say yes to all your requirements or does he politely decline procedures which may not be in your interest?
- Have you been shown photographs of similar procedures with before and after outcomes? Please assess on your own if the pictures are authentic.
If the procedure to be done (surgery) is at the daycare centre then check if well trained and board-certified anesthesiologists are available during the process, and the facility is equipped with up-to-date emergency types of equipment and monitoring devices including resuscitative measures and training in ACLS (Advanced cardiac life support). Is there a system in place to transfer patients to a nearby hospital if required?
If there is a sales pitch involved and a rush to carry out the procedure, a second opinion may be in place. Please note that second opinion need not be identical.
The points to keep in mind when going in for cosmetic procedures:
- You may be Unclear about your needs, but you must have an open mind and be open for a candid and open discussion.
- Rushing into a procedure.
- Indicating that you have a budget for the procedure and this is one sure way of engaging an unscrupulous practitioner or professional.
- Do not share the treatment plan offered by the previous doctor you may have seen so that there is independent thinking and you can assess the aesthetic values of the surgeon.
Lastly, your choice of Surgeon based on cost alone will surely land you in trouble. Adverse outcomes requiring revision surgery will be an added cost not to mention being jaded after the first procedure. Your expectations should be realistic and do not get carried away by the over-promises and overtures made.
(With inputs from Dr Mohan Thomas Senior Cosmetic Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgery Institute)
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