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Frequently Asked Questions ?
I will try to answer the most common general questions people ask about cosmetic surgery under my care.
Obviously I can´t answer everything here, so if you have a specific question that is not covered here or on my website, please use the ENQUIRY FORM.
About my practice and planning your surgery.
“How do I obtain a quotation for my surgery?"
For most cosmetic surgery the fees in each hospital are already set. However we recognise that some patients present more complex needs than others but other patients have more straightforward requirements. For this reason at the time of consultation I will indicate the likely cost of surgery, and this will be confirmed in a letter to when surgery is scheduled. At that time the fees are fixed and the fee quoted will always be a fixed price that includes the after-care visits, and dressings. The fee will also include a small insurance premium so that if you have a complication that requires further treatment (say you returned to theatre to stop bleeding, or the management of the wound infection) there will be no extra charges, meaning that you know at the outset what your maximum liability is. Usually I include all post-operative visits in that surgical quote up to the point when you are healed and discharged. It does not usually include initial consultation.
“Can I have more than one procedure at a time?"
Yes. It is increasingly common to undertake more than one procedure during the same operation. Under the same anaesthetic common combinations include abdominoplasty and breast reduction, facelift and eyelid surgery, and arm reduction and thigh reduction. However there are many other combinations that can be chosen by the individual and these can be discussed your initial consultation.
The old view that combining procedures increases risk is now discredited and unless there is some medical reason to avoid multiple wounds I am usually happy to combine procedures. This has the advantage of reducing the rehabilitation period (in other words you recover almost as fast from two procedures as one) and it means only one period of being off work or out of action rather than two or more.
“When do I pay for my surgery, is there a cancellation fee and and are easy payment options available?"
In general for self-funded surgery the hospitals require payment in advance. This may seem untrusting to some but the truth of the matter is that a very small percentage of patients in the past have not honoured their debts and left the hospitals with no choice but to adopt this approach. There are usually 3 components to a bill and when I offer you a quote for your surgery it will be made up of the fees for the hospital, the anaesthetist and the surgeon. These may be payable all in one amount through credit card or BACS transfer. Alternatively you may pay them individually by whatever means you choose. I do not charge a cancellation fee as I think they are unfair and patients generally only cancel surgery under extreme conditions. However I do where possible ask for as much notice of cancellation so that valuable theatre time and expertise is not wasted.
There are a number of options for low interest loans for surgery and my secretary will be pleased to discuss them with you as they vary between hospitals and between procedures.
“Do I need a referral from my general practitioner"
In principle it is good medical practice for a patient to be referred by their general practitioners. However some patients are diffident about taking the general practitioners time up with requests for cosmetic surgery. I see the GP as the custodian of his patient's health and in general I have found the GPs happy to be involved. There is benefit for me in having a detailed history from the general practitioner and benefit for the patient in good communication between specialists and GP to avoid any misunderstandings and to show her. For this reason unless there is a particular request from patient not to write the general practitioner I usually do write a detailed letter outlining our consultation and my recommendations and where appropriate asking for any further medical history that would be helpful or improve safety.
Having said all that I do see patients without letters from the general practitioner, and then communicate with the GP (although even then I will only do that with the patient's express consent). Nonetheless I urge patients to involve their GPs in this aspect of the healthcare wherever they feel able.
“Who will undertake the surgery?"
All surgery in my private practice is undertaken by me.
What are the risks of infection?
All surgery that involves a wound carries a risk of infection, but it remains rare in our hospitals (Spire Leeds and BMI Duchy Harrogate) which is a tribute to the high standards at those institutions. When infection does occur it is usually straightforward to deal with and we have excellent laboratory facilities which allow us to identify rapidly the type and nature of infections and target them accurately. Both hospitals have a zero or almost zero rate of MRSA and other “superbug” infections but neither takes that fact for granted and both are permanently vigilant about bacterial infections.
What do I do if I get a problem, such as infection or some other thing that worries me?
Get straight in touch is the simple answer! If you live some distance away and your GP is prepared to see you that is always helpful but if you are in any doubt I and my nursing team are always happy to see and advise you. There is someone available 24 hours a day (although it is always better to try to contact us before the end of the day if possible) and whilst I may be temporarily elsewhere (for instance operating in the NHS) I will always liaise with the nursing team and either I or one of my colleagues will always be available to see you. So don’t sit at home worrying: we want to see you even if only to reassure you and after surgery you will be given contact arrangements and numbers.