After weight loss, the body doesn’t always respond as well as we would like. And we may find we are left with excess sagging skin and redundant fat, which only can be contoured by a plastic surgeon. If you want to learn why you might opt for plastic surgery after losing weight, check out this previous My Bariatric Life post, “Why Get Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss.”
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon after Weight Loss
A tummy tuck, while routine, does involve “going under the knife” so-to-speak and can result in complications. So there are lots of things we must focus on to make sure our plastic surgery goes according to plan — with the primary one being to choose the plastic surgeon best suited to our needs. As I have said many times, “You’re not buying a procedure; you’re buying a plastic surgeon.”
Read how I lost 25-pounds after my tummy tuck.
It truly takes a brave person to decide that s/he wants post-bariatric plastic surgery. And finding a post-bariatric plastic surgeon whom you trust is paramount for both mental and physical health and well-being. So the following are a handful of industry tips to help you find the post-bariatric plastic surgeon who is right for you.
Rule #1: Always use insider information to your advantage.
Plastic surgery is more common than you think with 16 million men and women undergoing plastic surgery every year. And, those figures are set to rise as technology improves. So, someone in your inner circle will be able to give a trusted review. Consider the people closest to you who have been through plastic surgery after massive weight loss: patients of your bariatric surgeon, perhaps even friends and family. Your healthcare providers such as nurses and physicians may have the inside scoop on plastic surgeons, too.
Even if friends and family haven’t had plastic surgery themselves, they might know someone who has undergone plastic surgery and have a few nuggets of information or plastic surgeon reviews to share. So family and friends can be a source of information. And at least when it comes from a trusted source, there is little need to doubt the info.
Rule #2: Use the web to deep dive into your research.
If you don’t know anybody personally, reach out through friends of friends. Six degrees of separation is a thing, especially when 2% of the population gets plastic surgery.
Of course, the internet is a powerful tool as it has a list of all the relevant qualifications for plastic surgeons. A fantastic place to start your research is the governing body, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, to learn more about post-bariatric plastic surgery and find a plastic surgeon near you who is board-certified.
I know for a fact that plastic surgeon review sites often contain false positive reviews and remove negative reviews, so do not believe everything that you read. A few review sites that I prefer are RealSelf.com, Healthgrades.com, and DocShop.com. Also use Google to do a search on your plastic surgeon to see if s/he has any lawsuits or other negativity surrounding them.
What’s better are blogs (like My Blog) and online support groups that are full of people who’ve had post-bariatric plastic surgery and share their experiences to help others. You might not know it, but there are secret groups on social media for people who have had plastic surgery. From breast augmentations to liposuction, the members post pictures and comments baring all. Check out Instagram and Flickr.
Rule #3: Location, location, location.
The location of the plastic surgeon and the hospital or surgical facility is important, too. While you’re willing to travel, the odds are you’ll have it easier if you don’t leave your state or the country. Take it from me: I’ve had post-bariatric plastic surgery both with a local plastic surgeon and I have traveled out-of-state for it. And it’s far easier staying local. That said, I would not let travel be a barrier to having my surgery with the best plastic surgeon.
There are increasingly more post-bariatric plastic surgeons, so hopefully you’ll find one closer to home who is more easily accessible for follow-up visits.
Rule #4: Be sure to investigate the surgical facility.
This is often overlooked: It’s very important to investigate the facility in which the plastic surgeon will perform your surgery. You may research the surgical facility in much the same way that I’ve written above on how to research the plastic surgeon.
And be sure to check the surgical facility’s accreditation with the governing bodies, too. For example, JCAHO and AAAHC accredit free-standing surgical centers that are licensed by the state. AAAASF is an organization that accredits plastic surgeon office-based operating suites. Plus, they may be recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the AOA too.
It’s essential to know the surgical facility is run properly and well-prepared to handle an emergency situation that may arise during your post-bariatric plastic surgery. We are more prone to complications, after all, owing to our former obesity and poor health than is a woman getting a postpartum tummy tuck and breast lift, aka “Mommy Makeover.”
A little known fact is that hospital operating rooms have more germs and a higher infection rate than do off-site surgical facilities that specialize in plastic surgery. This is primarily because operations are done on all types of patients with a multitude of illnesses in a hospital. On the other hand, off-site surgical facilities do not have all of the equipment and staff on hand to manage you in a critical emergency.
I have always chosen to have my plastic surgery at an off-site surgical facility located either on the grounds of, or very near, a major hospital. And I have gone over the surgeon’s plan in advance of my plastic surgery on how s/he would handle an emergency. Note: It is vital that your surgeon have admitting privileges to the hospital, not just to be located near it.
Along that train of thought, Dr. Joseph F. Capella, who is the plastic surgeon that did my body lift, says, “I would very much recommend that you go to a doctor that has admitting privileges because hospitals in their own way really make sure that doctors have it all together. They want to make sure that you’ve got all your certifications up-to-date, your malpractice insurance up-to-date and they’re not going to allow for a doctor who has some on-going problem to keep admitting patients. In effect, it’s almost like a club…
Hospitals have their own criteria for maintenance, too, that I think is very important. So, for example, they’ll not let me even do microsurgery or cleft-lip and palette surgery because they know I’m not qualified. The Chairman of Plastic Surgery has to approve me to do it, and I would never even ask for it. So you know that if your doctor is performing a certain procedure, he or she has maintained certain excellence in that procedure, too.”
Rule #5: Put home healthcare in place prior to surgery.
Your plastic surgeon is not there to manage your activities of daily living. You may require short-term dedicated help of a family member or home health aid. This includes things like getting out of bed, in which case many people rent a recliner, and bathing and dressing. You’ll also need someone to cook your meals or you can try this bariatric meal delivery program, and provide transportation to and from your plastic surgeon on the day of surgery and perhaps for follow-up visits afterwards.
To the healthcare professionals reading this, here is a home healthcare coding program that helps with everything from compliance to the quality of care and employee education.
Be sure to read my 18 Insider Tips on Plastic Surgery for even more need-to-know insights!
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life