From Consultation to Cosmetic surgery – what to expect in a nutshell (Part 2)

I’m back to finish Part 2 of my guest article, which if you missed it, please find it here : From Consultation to Cosmetic Surgery – what to expect in a nutshell (Part 1).  Thanks for the great feedback after Part 1,  I hope you equally find this second instalment useful as well.

Surgery day and beyond

I should again say that I am writing this guest blog article from our perspective, ie at Dr Milovic’s practice, and it can vary between practices so you should check in with your Plastic Surgeon’s office about their pre-operative approach. That aside, let’s get into it!

1-2 days before surgery

The day surgery or private hospital will contact you usually 1-2 days before your scheduled surgery about the time for you to arrive at their facility and given you instructions about when to start fasting. You cannot have any food or drink after the fasting time – not a piece of candy or gum.  Nothing.  I know it’s hard, but very important for your safety during your anaesthesia.

Make sure that you have briefed your support person about the route to the hospital, where to park and so on.  The hospital won’t discharge you without a support person, so make sure that they are on hand to pick you up as well.  Get your bag packed the night before because…here we go!

Wait – you’ll want to know what to bring with you.  We give you this information in the pre-op pack, so don’t worry!

Surgery Day!

Ok, you’ve made it, it’s surgery day!  You’ve turned up to the hospital and let Reception know you have arrived.   You are now being, as we call it, “admitted’ to the hospital.  If you are nervous (butterflies in the stomach kind of nervous), know that this is very normal and Dr Milovic always says that if you are not a bit nervous, he would be nervous!

You will be taken to the pre-admission area, and it is here that you will change into your gown (not at all as charming as it sounds), and put your belongings into a designated locker.  Don’t take valuables with you.  If you are staying overnight, you should leave your belongings here and they will be taken up to the ward when the procedure is finished.

A pre-admission nurse will go through some questions, take your blood pressure and then after you’re done, you will go into the Anaesthetic Bay where your Anaesthetist will meet you and talk to you about your Anaesthesia, as well as ask you some medical history questions.

The anaesthesia

If you have your surgery in an accredited hospital or day surgery (please, seriously think about this for your safety), you will have already  discussed your anaesthesia and pre-admission details with your Specialist Anaesthetist.  This usually happens first by a phone call from your Anaesthetist right before your surgery date, and then is followed up with an in person consultation before the procedure. You may be having sedation (semi-consciousness) or general anaesthesia (GA), depending on your medical history and the cosmetic procedure itself.

Who will administer the Anaesthesia?

Like surgeons, there are either specialists or doctors who perform anaesthesia (often called “sedationists”).   Dr Milovic does not work with sedationists, and sedationists do not have privileges at well reputed and accredited private day surgeries or hospitals.  What I have found alarming, whilst working in the cosmetic surgery industry, is that it is legal in Australia for a doctor to administer sedation (often called, “tumescent sedation” or “twilight anaesthesia”) AND perform your cosmetic surgery.   This is quite frankly alarming, considering that your surgeon should be focusing on the surgery and not your anaesthesia as well!

Dr Milovic only works with specialist Anaesthetists who are qualified by the Australian Society of Anesthetists (ASA) , that is, they have completed 5 or more years of specialist training.

So make sure you do your research – if your doctor is performing your surgery AND doing your sedation or has employed a sedationist rather than Specialist Anaesthetist …start asking questions about whether they should be.   Surely your wellbeing is more important, especially if you have dependents.

After the anaesthesia

Once you have been moved from recovery to the ward, the anaesthesia will have worn off and you will be encouraged to take it easy, but also as long as you are physically able, to sit up and stand to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  If you are leaving the hospital on the same day (day surgery patient), you will need to have someone pick you up from hospital and you should have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours.

Post op appointments

After discharge from hospital, you should follow our post-op instructions given to you. If Dr Milovic gives you specific instructions, make sure to follow them and ask questions if you are unsure.  That is what we are here for!   The key is make sure that you dressing is dry and intact until the first dressing appointment.  Yes, it may be a waterproof dressing…but water always finds a way to get in, causing infection under a moist, warm bandage.

Depending on the procedure you’ve had, you will come back to our office at the 7-10 day mark, and have the bandages taken off, sutures trimmed or removed, and have a fresh, new bandage applied.

Further follow up appointments will be made over the next 12 months for review of your recovery, post op photos and to answer any questions you have.  These appointments – no matter how many you need – are covered by your surgical fees, so that should give you some peace of mind.  Dr Milovic is also available for urgent concerns after hours via his mobile, and this number is given to you before surgery.  We are also available during office hours at any time you need us.

Part 3 coming soon?…it depends on you!

Is there anything you want to know more about in this process or in more detail?

I would love to share information and talk to you about the topics we encounter day to day on the job.  I know that what is routine for us, will be the first time for you.  Or it might be the first time you see Dr Milovic about your procedure.  Dr Milovic and I are passionate about education and in particular, correcting misinformation out there.   We also want you to feel more comfortable about the process leading up to surgery.

No matter how popular some surgeries have become, eg breast augmentation, it doesn’t change it’s nature – someone is holding the scalpel, and after working in this industry for 10 years now, I can tell you that this detail is very important!

Closing comments

I sit in and have sat in cosmetic consultations with Dr Milovic, and he will remind some of his patients who approach surgery in a casual way, that this is surgery,  you need to know as much as you can about it, including the risks and complications.   Think about it, and then proceed when you are ready.  We don’t want to scare or alarm you, but we do want to keep you grounded about what you are about to do and be well informed.  Dr Milovic will do everything possible to make sure that you get through this safely and with as much assistance from our staff as possible.  It has to be said, because if you believed some of the marketing out there, you’d think it was as simple as getting your hair cut!   Hello, ethics???…I digress…

With good preparation, knowledge and support, you can make an informed decision and ride the wave to successful recovery.Want to know more?  Go on, ask me!

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