Saturday, January 29, 2011

Important pre-surgical questions often overlooked

Many of us, who have had a bad surgical outcome and looking for a revision surgeon, are very focused on researching information about the surgeon and when in consultation, asking a lot of questions about the specific surgery. I have already covered some of those types of direct questions on other posts. However it is very easy to overlook questions that are indirectly related to your surgery. These are questions such as what are the qualifications of the anesthetists and is the facility an accredited facility. Ask the surgeon's office if they will help you make an Insurance claim if you have Insurance. If you have Insurance it may cover the functional portion of the surgery, however you may come across a surgeons office that is either not aware of this, or  simply refuse to offer their patients this available option. Even though your breathing problems were caused from a primary cosmetic procedure that does not exclude you from the possibility of being able to receive  coverage for the functional component of the surgery. If your insurance policy does not cover it and you need external financing, there are companies specialized in medical loans that you could approach.  Many cosmetic surgeons today will offer this service.

If your surgery is going to be in a clinic or surgical center, check whether it is accredited :

1. The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery, (888) 545-5222, (847) 949-6058,

2. The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, (847) 853-6060,

3. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, (630) 792-5005,

 Ask whether your surgeon uses a nurse-anesthetist or a board-certified anesthesiologist."An anesthesiologist is a fully trained professional who is dedicated to that patient and doesn't have to be supervised,"   But in many states, nurse-anesthetists do require supervision, and often times your plastic surgeon will be the one doing the supervising.

That's not to say nurse-anesthetists aren't competent, but it does mean you should ask additional questions — like what the anesthetist's experience is with outpatient aesthetic surgery. If your physician uses nurse-anesthetists and you prefer a board-certified anesthesiologist, ask if it's possible to have one.

If you are going to have general anesthesia, be sure your anesthesiologist is certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology, (919) 881-2570. If your surgeon uses a nurse anesthetist, check with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, (847) 692-7050.

Complications from anesthesia are far more likely to harm a patient than the surgery itself, as was the case with The First Wives Club author Olivia Goldsmith, who died  from anesthesia complications at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.

Make sure you can be rapidly admitted to a nearby quality hospital in the event of unforeseen complications.

Ask if you can receive a discount.
Hiring a surgeon to perform a tummy tuck isn't like haggling for a car; for the most part, prices aren't negotiable. But that doesn't mean you can't get a discount. Physicians want their operating schedules full, and they often pay for surgical facilities whether they're operating on three patients per day or six.Indeed, Kotler and Bolton say they have offered discounted rates of 10 to 15 percent off for patients who are willing to have their surgery on "standby" and be available on short notice if a surgical slot opens up. Another opportunity to save: the "Friends and Family" discount, when mother/daughter duos or friends schedule procedures for the same day.

Not all plastic surgeons are willing to offer such discounts, but most will reduce their fees when multiple procedures are done at the same time, such as a full facial rejuvenation comprising several separate surgeries. Since this also reduces the facility and anesthesia fees that would be spent on multiple visits, the overall savings can be as much as 35%. "Patients should ask, 'Can I work something out where I can save some money?'" Kotler says. "It's not demeaning or unprofessional."

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