Getting Started

Being prepared for surgery, both mentally and physically, will make the whole process less daunting. Please read through the Planning Toolkit along with specific information found in Cosmetic Surgery Procedures to prepare yourself for your consultation.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) offers these Guidelines for consumers considering any cosmetic surgical or nonsurgical procedure:

Credentials: Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada ensures in-depth surgical training in all aspects of plastic surgery. Membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) means a surgeon is ABPS-certified and has met additional requirements for continuing education and experience in cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgeons who are not citizens of the United States or Canada who meet the high professional and ethical standards required for ASAPS membership may become ASAPS international active members. Anyone can claim to be a doctor, cosmetic surgeon or plastic surgeon. It is important to verify these claims with a reliable, independent source.

Consider the setting: Prospective patients should be cautious about receiving cosmetic procedures outside of a medical setting, such as in a private home or at a “party.” If undergoing a surgical procedure outside the hospital, the facility should be accredited by a recognized national agency such as the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). All facilities should be state-licensed or Medicare certified.

Check on the doctor’s hospital privileges: If a cosmetic surgical procedure is to be performed in an office or ambulatory surgery center, the surgeon should have privileges to perform the same procedure in an acute care hospital. When choosing a member of the Aesthetic Society you have the peace of mind in knowing that all members have these privileges.

Informed Consent: Make sure you have a thorough evaluation and fully understand all aspects of the procedure. Before any medical procedure, patients should provide their medical history, and be examined and evaluated for the specific treatment or procedure. You should receive detailed information about the procedure’s benefits and risks as well as any post-surgical care requirements.

Plan on follow-up care: A reputable doctor will be available for necessary follow-up care of patients undergoing any cosmetic procedure.

Lifestyle factors: Some individuals seeking cosmetic surgery are considered poor candidates because of specific lifestyle factors that can seriously impact their safety in the operating room and during recovery. Some factors to consider are:

  • Current weight and history of weight fluctuations
  • Nutrition and vitamin supplements
  • Exercise frequency and type (aerobic/non-aerobic)
  • Smoking habits and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Sun exposure
  • Sleep patterns
  • Stress level and coping mechanisms