So you are thinking about having a cosmetic procedure done. Perhaps you know someone who has had it done. Maybe you have read about it in a magazine or you have seen an ad on TV. Even if it claims to be a minimally invasive procedure with little or no down time that seems easy enough, do you really know all the red flags to make the best decision possible?

Red flags:

  • You are guaranteed a result
  • You did not receive an “informed consent” that you understand
  • The cost is significantly lower than other doctors provide
  • The cosmetic treatment is not performed in the doctor’s office/certified facility
  • Who is providing the treatment – doctor that you expect or whom
  • You are having cosmetic surgery because someone else wants this change

With the current technologies, education and tools available today there are very important questions you need to ask yourself. From liposuction, an actual surgery that involves anesthesia, to a non invasive procedure such as photorejuvenation there are risk factors and potential red flags to be aware of. Always do your research.

There are many clinics that are located in shopping centers and stripmalls much like you would find as if you were getting your eyes checked. People are using lunch breaks to get BoTox but where? Have you heard of BoTox parties where such medication is provided in one’s home? It may seem harmless but is it really? Obviously, you would expect a qualified professional to do the procedure, but what are their qualifications? What certifications are required and what do the they mean? It is important to go to qualified sites like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) to find answers to your questions and what to expect . Not every doctor will specialize in every procedure so it is important to know what to look for.

From the start before you involve a licensed professional ask yourself four things.

1. What are my expectations?

Are you expecting instant results? Is that realistic? Communication between you and your doctor is critical. Bringing in pictures of what “you like” may help for certain cosmetic surgery procedures. Keep an open mind and be prepared to see more than one ASAP or ASAPS board certified doctor so you can find the ideal treatment for your needs and wants. Confirm that the doctor vs. office personal will be doing your treatment if that is what you expected. Any treatment should be about your needs that can be realistically provided.

2. What is the expense?

How many treatments will this involve?Be Aware Red Flags Is there a one-time fee or are there additional costs or potential costs? What can you expect to pay overall? Is there a range? Don’t forget to include the need for a physical examination if you have a surgical procedure and medications after your treatment. Who pays for any “touch ups” if needed?

3. What are the potential risks?

This is important. Make sure that all of the risks both large and small are clearly discussed. Be prepared to read and sign an “informed consent” that covers the risks. If you do not understand any words in this document, better to address these concerns before your treatment. There should be no surprises.

4. What will be the outcome?

This includes any recovery time and how long it will take to see the final results. Even for the smallest of procedures you should know what the average results are and any unusual possibilities that may occur. Remember no doctor can guarantee any result. If you are guaranteed a result, this would be a reason to go elsewhere.

Ideally you want to look great afterwards without complications so like every other medical procedure, invest in the time to look at all potential risks and outcomes. Ask the right questions, check for certifications and ask to speak to other patients to find out their outcome. Dr. Kulick will be happy to take the time to answer any questions and walk you through the expectations and outcomes of every aesthetic surgery procedure he performs. This way you can be prepared for every potential obstacle should one arise. Although cosmetic procedures today are relatively safe no individual needs and the treatment facility are exactly the same, These RED FLAGS should help.

Dr. Michael Kulick, MD is a leading board certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco, California. During an initial consultation, he’ll examine your individual anatomy, discuss all your options, and create a unique treatment plan along with any other necessary procedures. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of plastic surgery and are looking for a qualified cosmetic surgeon, use this online form to request a consultation with Dr. Kulick or call 415-956-2550.