Plastic Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

ER - Madison

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a plastic surgeon?

Plastic surgery is a significant decision, and choosing between the many doctors and procedures available can be overwhelming. It’s important to take your time.

Begin by scheduling a consultation with your prospective doctor. Having an evaluation and conversation with the doctor can help to determine whether you feel completely comfortable with the physician and if you feel he/she understands your goals and expectations for the procedure. Ask to view the before-and-after photo portfolio to get an idea of typical results for specific procedures.

Getting the following questions answered by your prospective surgeon may also help with your decision.

  1. Are you board certified in plastic surgery?
  2. Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
  3. What other qualifications/training do you have to perform the procedure?
  4. How many times have you performed the procedure?
  5. Where will the procedure take place?
  6. Will you perform the entire procedure, from start to finish?
  7. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  8. How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  9. What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
  10. How are complications handled?

Is board certification important?

Board certification is an indicator of training and experience. A voluntary designation (separate from state licensure), board certification demonstrates that a doctor has the skills and expertise to provide medical care in a given specialty.

Board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery recognizes that a doctor has completed a minimum of five years of surgical training following medical school (with a plastic surgery residency program), passed comprehensive written and oral examinations and adheres to a strict code of medical ethics.

Plastic surgeons are specially trained to prevent and, if necessary, handle emergencies. An extensive education provides plastic surgeons with an understanding of all body systems—from ventilation and circulation to fluid and electrolyte balance, all of which are crucial to patient safety.

Am I a good candidate for a cosmetic procedure?

A good plastic surgery candidate is a physically and mentally healthy individual with realistic expectations and a well-developed reason for pursuing a plastic surgery procedure. The best candidates are those seeking to match their outer physical appearance with their positive self-image. It is best to discuss your expectations during your initial consultation to ensure that your goals can be achieved.

How do I know which procedure is "right" for me?

The appropriateness of each procedure is determined on a case-by-case basis by looking at the individual's unique body type and aging process. With experience in the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery, Dr. Larson can recommend the ideal procedure to help you get the results you desire.

What is the recovery time?

You will be guided through every step of the process, including being provided with general timeline for recovery. As with any surgical procedure, the exact recovery time cannot be predicted. Recovery will vary from procedure to procedure and also from patient to patient.

Will it hurt?

Each procedure carries a different level of discomfort and requires different methods of anesthesia. Minor, non-invasive surgeries might involve a topical anesthetic, while minor invasive surgeries may call for local anesthetic or local combined with sedation. In more involved surgery, general anesthesia is usually used.

What are the risks?

All surgeries and nonsurgical procedures carry risks. Those with a history of cardiovascular disease, lung disease, diabetes or obesity have a higher risk of developing complications such as pneumonia, stroke, heart attack or blood clots in the legs or lungs. Smoking also increases risks and interferes with healing.

Prior to having your procedure, our surgical specialists will sit down with you to ensure all of your questions have been answered, concerns have been addressed, and you understand the risks, benefits and recovery time.

Will people notice the change in my appearance?

Depending on the procedure, the change in your appearance can be subtle or profound. Our ultimate goal is to make a positive change that is in harmony with your overall appearance and positive self-image.

Where will my procedure take place?

Dr. Jeffrey Larson performs procedures at the Monona Clinic, Madison Plastic Surgery, and UnityPoint Health - Meriter hospital in Madison. The location of your plastic surgery will depend on the type of operation, length of surgery and anesthesia required.

Dr. Sandra Carr sees her vein care patients at the Heart & Vascular Institute, located on the Beltline, near Todd Drive.

What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?

Cosmetic plastic surgery is performed to enhance or change a healthy, normal, functioning part of the body. Nothing except the patient's desire for physical improvement necessitates cosmetic plastic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is intended to correct a physical abnormality caused by a birth defect, disease or tumor, physical trauma, or infection. The goal of reconstructive surgery may be to restore function or to achieve physical normality.

Is plastic surgery covered by insurance?

If the plastic surgery procedure is being performed for cosmetic reasons, insurance will not be involved. When the surgery is necessary for reconstructive purposes, it is partially or fully covered by most major insurance companies. As each insurance varies, check with your provider.