Finding the right Surgeon for you: The following is based on our own thoughts and experiences and is meant as a guide only. Have a read through and if there is any information you feel may be useful to you then please use it with our best wishes and GOOD LUCK!
Your Plastic Surgeon:
A Positive and Enjoyable Experience:
Do your Homework:
Surfing the Net:
General Practitioners/other Specialists:
Your Family and Friends:
Previous Satisfied Patients:
Make Sure Your Surgeon is Fully Qualified:
Meeting the Surgeon:
Some Questions to Ask:
Don’t choose a Surgeon/Nurse/Agent Who:
Deciding to Proceed:
Disappointment after Surgery:
Expect any of the following on the Operated Areas:
Complaining to the Surgeon:
What Happens if he Begins Arguing with You?
Your Plastic Surgeon:
Dr. Harris Zavrides, a highly experienced, accredited Cosmetic Surgeon has been practicing without complaint for many years and has Cypriot and English clients returning again and again for further cosmetic surgery procedures.
He is passionate about his work, is patient and understanding with clients, a complete perfectionist when performing procedures, demands only the highest quality surgical equipment, and is supported by an excellent and dedicated theatre and nursing team. You can communicate with him daily; he is consistent in temperament, a consummate professional and basically a gentleman.
Your verification process ensures that your Surgeon and Health Care Specialists:
- Are Board certified in their chosen specialty.
- Hold the relevant professional qualifications, accreditations and affiliations.
- Speak English, why would you have your surgery performed by a Surgeon who does not fully understand English?
- Holds a valid government license to practice.
- Operates in a hospital with full emergency facilities to ensure your safety, in the event of unforeseen complications.
- Has insurance for malpractice.
- Allows to inspect operating theatres and actually observe their operating techniques and theatre protocol (basically what procedures are in effect for your safety e.g. emergency resuscitation equipment, instrument, swab and suture counts).
- Have no outstanding complaints against them.
- Regularly attends seminars, updating and adding to their expertise, and is keen to move forwards embracing the constantly advancing profession of plastic and reconstructive surgery.
- Your plastic surgeon has been chosen for his warm, friendly and approachable manner, and you know you will feel comfortable and happy confiding in him to help you to change the way you want to look.
A Positive Enjoyable Experience: Cosmetic Surgery is different from any other surgery because the decision to proceed lies entirely with you. You are not having it because you have an illness and if you didn’t have the surgery it would be detrimental to your health. It is elective; you are choosing to have it. The most satisfied patients are those who have taken the time and responsibility to fully inform themselves, well before the operation.
If you have chosen your Surgeon/Company/Agent well, you will be listened to, put at ease, cared for and have the best chance of receiving the result you desire and deserve. Don't forget; you are paying for a service. The Cosmetic Surgeon/Company/Agent are service providers who work for you. Whoever you choose you should feel a connection to, a bond of trust. And the whole experience from the initial consultation right through to your departure should be focused on you, your comfort and your needs.
Cosmetic Surgery can have a wonderfully enormous and positive impact on the way you feel about yourself and ultimately affects the way you interact with and are seen by partners, friends, family, children and work colleagues. It can and should be (despite a little short lived discomfort and inconvenience, which will be well worth it) an enjoyable experience from beginning to end.
This will be the case for you, if you have done your homework, chosen the right Surgeon and have received honest answers to the many questions that are surely swirling round your head. Without having all of the information you require, making an informed decision can be very confusing and may even have disastrous results with you needing further revision surgery (maybe by another Surgeon) to correct any problems (if they can be corrected!)
Do your Homework: Review details about the procedure(s) you are considering, make it your job to be as informed as possible. Information is empowering as when the time comes for your consultation be with the Surgeon you will be able to ask relevant and intelligent question relating to whatever procedure you are considering.
Surfing the Net:Most Surgeons and Surgery companies have a web site which can give you a valuable insight as to how they work, according to what information they publish. The standards of care they deliver and what they feel is the important information you need to know to make your once in a life time decision. You can see the facility where you have your surgery. And the before and after pictures of previous patient which will give you a good indication as to the surgeons skills.
Always bear in mind that the photos are going to be the best results they have had. No one is going to publish photos that are unfavourable now are they? But- don’t be seduced. No matter how wonderful and professional looking the web site is, with glossy adverts and all bells a ringing with flashing signs, be warned - it doesn’t mean they are reputable, honest and ‘all that!’
A web site is just a means of advertising after all, like putting an advert in a magazine; except the advertising is free! If you are surfing the net don’t think that the Surgeon/Company that comes up first on page one of Google is the best and has been so placed due to their expertise and reputation. When you have a web site you have to pay a web savvy person to place you and keep you the top. Personal Recommendations: Good Surgeons will be highly recommended by various reliable sources. Here are three of the most common sources of recommendations:
General Practitioners/other Specialists: Your local or family doctor may be able to provide you with good advice about the right Surgeon for a particular procedure. It is likely he or she has seen patients with similar requests before. This can prove to be a good source as, inevitably, the referred patient will provide honest feedback about the surgeon to the local doctor who will generally only refer patients to those surgeons who have obtained excellent results and display a high standard of care. Similarly, if the patient feedback is less than positive, the local doctor will generally not send any of his patients to a surgeon with a poor or questionable reputation.
Your Family and Friends: If you know of a family member or friend who has had a procedure similar to the one you are considering, talk with them and maybe take them for a fact finding lunch. Ask them about the Surgeon, the aftercare service, and the results. If you have a friend or family member who provides glowing report of a surgeon and their service’s, then it is worthwhile following it up. Remember: every surgery is unique just as every person is unique; therefore your cosmetic surgery may not turn out the same as your friend’s.
Previous Satisfied Patients: The best recommendation of all is from other satisfied patients and is better than any advertising! Money just cannot buy it. Most patients are often only too happy to talk about their experience. In fact getting them to stop can prove down right impossible!
The Surgeon/Nurse/Agent should be able to put you in contact with past patients who can be a valuable resource for you. I recommend you talk with patients who had the same procedure you are considering so you can get a real feel of what to expect from the Surgeon and his team, and the level of support and information they provide. Warning- some companies have paid women (who had not even had surgery) to give a glowing report of the Company and Surgeon. Recommendations can provide you with a good starting point, but are to be considered as just the beginning. There is a very clear step-by-step strategy you can follow after you have identified a potential Surgeon/Company/Agent.
Preliminary Consultation: Many practices offer a free consultation with a cosmetic consultant who is typically a nurse! Make sure that your consultation must be with a Consultant Plastic Surgeon. Take as much time as necessary to make sure you are fully informed. Repeat any questions if the answers were not clear to you.
Make sure you understand your procedure and do not be satisfied with an incomplete answer from anyone. If you are going through a Company/Agent to facilitate your surgery, don’t make the mistake thinking the person sat behind that huge desk is medically qualified or knows any more than you, he may not. Don’t be intimidated and don’t be fobbed off. Write down questions and make sure the answers you receive satisfy you 100%. It they don’t, keep asking.
Please note: some procedures and the relating specific surgical techniques used are not employed by all Surgeons. If you have seen several Surgeons all telling you something slightly different, then this is the way they have been trained in that particular procedure. It doesn’t mean they are incorrect. Cosmetic surgery being hands on specialty, most Surgeons use tried, tested and trusted methods of achieving the desired results for their clients, ones they have employed over many years, know works and how to handle any expected minor complications there are likely to be.
Make Sure Your Surgeon is Fully Qualified: Check the Surgeon’s standing with the relevant accreditation body. If you initially go through a company they should be able to give you all the information you require without having to personally ask the Surgeon. If the surgeon has a web site, his CV will almost certainly be published for you to check online.
Meeting the Surgeon: So you have gathered your information, your recommendations, maybe spoken with his patient coordinator and have now decided it’s time you actually met the Man! Call the Surgeon’s office/Company contact number and book a consultation appointment. Please note that the questions below are to assist you in getting started and are not designed to be an exhaustive list to cover all contingencies or surgical procedures. What they should provide you with is initially a very good feeling about the surgeon and staff and how you feel about the whole procedure. Never feel rushed when going through your list of questions. It is important you’re given time to ask the questions and to get direct and detailed answers.
Any well-trained and confident Surgeon will recognise the importance of your comfort and knowledge and will encourage you to be fully informed. Be wary of the Surgeon or their staff if they are not willing to spend the time needed to answer your questions to your complete satisfaction. Remember, this is just to give you a feel of the professional practice and how it operates. Although these seem like fairly simple questions, pay attention to how quickly, clear and upfront the answers are given. Throughout the consultation it is wise to take note of the doctor’s opinions and personality; how he answers your questions; and how he explains things. Also is he listening to you? Or trying to do several tasks at once. All of this will help when it comes to the final comparison.
At this stage, you have not made a commitment to the Surgeon as you are still in a “fact gathering mode” Remember, the Surgeon is working for you not the other way around. They will have recommendations and suggestions, but the final decision whether to use them or not is completely up to you. Never, ever feel pressured to make a decision before you’re ready. If you feel this pressure, you should definitely not proceed any further. Good surgeons are confident in themselves and their ability, without being arrogant. Good surgeons are honest with you. They will tell you if they cannot give you the result you desire. In some cases, they will send you to a colleague for a second opinion.
The most caring Surgeons may even send you to a colleague they know would give you a better result as they may be more experienced in a particular procedure. You need to be able to trust your Surgeon. The best Surgeons recognise this and never abuse your trust. The Surgeon should make you feel comfortable and will gladly answer any of your questions. If he doesn’t, be wary. How do you feel, are you feeling comfortable, or is there something bothering you, something you can’t just put your finger on? Of course there will be some nerves at this point, but check deep into your instinct. Some people are very sensitive to situations and people. It’s a gut feeling. I can tell instantly, sometimes simply just by looking at someone if I like or trust that person.
Some Questions to Ask (not a definitive list):
- Will I be fully informed of the benefits and possible complications?
- How will I be informed – Written information? Web site? Consultation with a staff member? Consultation with the Surgeon? Access to other patients? Pre and Postoperative photographs? Other?
- What is the approximate total cost of the procedure i.e. including the Anaesthetist, Hospital fees, Theatre fees, Pre-op tests, Medications and garments, Hospital and post operative follow-up? If going through a Company you may have already received a price, make sure any prices you receive are confirmed in writing, dated and signed.
- Are there any extras involved?
- What are the benefits and potential complications of the procedure?
- Is this procedure right for me?
- Is there an alternative procedure for me?
- How long will the effects last?
- What will happen in the hospital – Before the operation? During the operation? After the operation?
- How do I contact the Surgeon if I have a problem?
- How will I be followed up?
- When does the Surgeon see me after the surgery?
- Can I see some photographs of the usual results achieved?
- Can I speak with some of your recent patients? Most importantly, ask to speak to one of his clients who developed a complication, or were not satisfied initially with the results of the surgery. What did the Surgeon do about it, what was his attitude, was he argumentative was he dismissive, or supportive, did he put it right, are they now satisfied, would they go back to the same Surgeon if they wanted any other procedures?
- What happens if something goes wrong? This is the most important question to ask. You need to be satisfied you will receive extra special care and continued support.
- Will it cost me any extra? -What will I have to pay for?
- Will any revision procedures cost me extra?
- What is the worst thing that can happen to me?
Complications happen: In an ideal surgical procedure nothing will go wrong. Thankfully this is the case in the vast majority of cosmetic operations. However, please understand that Cosmetic Surgery is real Surgery and the potential for complications are ever present. This is another critical reason to search out a Surgeon with considerable experience and a long list of satisfied patients. Here are two questions to ask yourself when deciding on which Doctor will perform your Cosmetic surgery and provide the follow up care. Does this person have the experience to know how to deal with potential complications that may appear during the operation? Do I trust this person to work with me to get the best outcome, and if in the remote chance, that something goes wrong during or after the procedure will he be able to appropriately deal with it?
Don't choose a Surgeon/Company/Agent who:
- Starts telling you what they think you need before asking you what part of your body you are unhappy about and want the change.
- Rushes you into make a decision there and then on your surgery.
- Wants to add unnecessary procedures.
- Keeps calling you to make a decision.
- Has an environment that is un-sterile.
- Looks like they could do with a good nights sleep.
- Is unwilling to answer your questions, no matter how small (or silly you may think they are).
- Provide you with requested information.
- Is impatient and does not explain things fully.
- Makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Does not have a professional office or a professional personal appearance.
- You get a negative feeling from. Listen to your gut!
Deciding to Proceed: After your conversations with the Surgeon, you will know instinctively if this is the Surgeon and staff you can trust. The rest is easy. Once you’ve made the choice, all you need to do is tell the staff you would like to proceed; they will take care of the rest as a professional medical team. You will have gathered enough information and had enough questions answered to ensure that you have put yourself in the hands of a wonderful and trusted Surgeon and his team. Relax and enjoy the whole experience and say goodbye to the old you.
Disappointment after surgery: What happens if when all the swelling and bruising has subsided, you are disappointed and really not satisfied with your results. Depending on the procedure(s), expect it to take between 4-6 months for all the swelling and bruising to settle down. It is important to understand why? This should have been explained to you at some stage prior to surgery. Accept this settling down period and most of all have patience. You feel great but do not have the results you expected. Your body seems slow to catch up you are wondering if something is wrong? Probably not.
Expect any of the following on the operated areas: Abdominal swelling. Where is that flat tummy you were promised? Breasts may feel hard and appear very high on your chest; the shape may seem strange, as they appear to have now migrated to under your arms. Your incision (s) may take time to completely heal, usually due to a suture that requires removal or where a stretch mark meets the incision (Blood supply is compromised) Feeling lumps and bumps, along the incision line and under the skin especially after having liposuction. Your face seems very tight and when you smile it may even appear lopsided, Eyes may react differently, they may tear, you may develop a facial tic (Brief, repetitive, sporadic spasms of facial muscles or eyes) Strange aches and pains, heightened, loss or impaired sensation, numbness that seems to last for ages.....all quite normal.
Complaining to the Surgeon: However, if after this period, you still feel that you have been patient enough but the results are really not what you expected, or were promised. Then although you may feel you really don’t want to go back to see the surgeon, YOU MUST. Take a friend or family member. Try to explain your concerns without getting to emotional. He is a professional and should understand your feelings. Your emotions will be running high. You may even feel your problem is due to something you have done or not done and may in fact be your entire fault.
The doctor should listen to your concerns, and either explain what the “problem is” sufficiently to reassure you enough to wait another couple of months, or agree that you have a genuine grievance and ‘not to worry’ he can put it right. Just want you wanted to hear- Complete Result! Most surgeons will do the work for free under a local anesthetic with a small charge for the theatre use. If the correction requires you be more deeply anaesthetised, expect an additional charge, usually minimal.
What happens if he begins arguing with you? If he begins to argue with you, says you are imagining things, that it is all in your mind and as far as he is concerned you look absolutely wonderful (and his staff agree!) our advice – just walk away. By staying you will only make the situation worse, which may well lead to a full scale argument thus upsetting yourself, even more than you are already. If you have had a bad experience of trying to complain when you know deep inside you are right, you feel completely alone, venerable and most of all USED! You put your complete trust in someone, only to have it thrown back in your face. You feel stupid, you feel bad.
They have your hard earned money and you are left to just get on with it. Thinking about it; were the signs there all along but you though it was all in your imagination? So just because the Surgeon is qualified in this and that and has certificates coming out of his ears. It does not tell you what kind of a person the man really is, when it comes down to it. The most important thing in choosing your doctor is to remember that the decision really is yours, so only you can make the right one.