Commonly asked Plastic Surgery Questions
What questions do surgery patients ask the most when considering having a procedure performed (plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery FAQs)?
The top 5 Plastic Surgery Questions from patients about to have surgery include:
- Which Surgeon to choose
- What type of Procedure should I have?
- What my scars will look like after the surgery (and where they will be)
- How much will cosmetic surgery Cost (PRICES) and where is it performed?
- Recovery time – does surgery hurt and how long will they need to take off from work, studies, exercising and childcare?
Which Surgeon to choose
Are Cosmetic Surgeons the same as Plastic Surgeons?
- Having FRACS (Plas) – Plastic Surgeon qualifications means your doctor is an elite, highly qualified and AHPRA recognised Specialist Surgeon in the field of Cosmetic, Plastic and Reconstructive surgery.
- Compare this to a so-called cosmetic surgeon – this could mean anything from being a GP or other doctor who decided to offer cosmetic surgery and breast augmentation WITHOUT undertaking Specialist Plastic Surgery training, exams and RACS qualifications.
TIP: Only an actual RACS recognised Specialist can use the term SPECIALIST PLASTIC SURGEON; if your surgeon is only a cosmetic surgeon, which is an unprotected medical title anyone can use; and NOT a Plastic Surgeon – be sure you understand the differences.
How do you know who is a Plastic Surgeon versus just a cosmetic doctor?
Look for recognition on sites such as ASAPS, ASPS, RACS and AHRPA. IF your Surgeon is really a Plastic Surgeon, they will have memberships or recognition in these groups:
Which cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure will get good results?
How do you pick a procedure such as a tummy tuck or an extended lipectomy?
- Only a Surgeon can properly evaluate your best procedure options and explain WHY they think a particular surgical approach will help you.
- Attend a no-obligation procedure with a Plastic Surgeon to find out which option you have – and what can and cannot be accomplished through each approach.
- Recognise that results can vary from patient to patient and not all patients are suitable candidates for surgical procedures.
- Download a GUIDE for pre-consultation information THEN schedule a consultation for personalised advice.
Should I have separate or combined procedures?
There are both advantages and disadvantages for combining your plastic surgeries. One big advantage is the saving of money, time and recovery downtime.
We offer a discount on any second or third procedure done at the same time as the first procedure while in hospital. Your hospital fees and anaesthetist fees will also be less if you combine your procedures.
Many significant weight loss patients could have combined operations – like upper and lower body lifts including circumferential abdominoplasty, breast reduction, arm and thigh lift – even a facelift or nose job. The downside is the real risk and recovery time from such a large combined operation, especially in a previously obese patient.
One of our advantages in having a team of specialist plastic surgeons is that they can work together at the same time to perform different plastic surgery procedures. For example, you could have face, body and breastwork done in combination. This speeds up the operation, lowering risk, reducing your time under general anaesthetic and gets a better outcome.
Many patients combine procedures for a “makeover” effect.
- Combining Breast and Tummy procedures (a mummy makeover)
- Add extra Liposuction for better results (remove stubborn fat pockets)
- Face and Body surgery can also be done at the same time
Depending on your overall health, ability to recover or for a better aesthetic result, your surgeon may ask you to do your surgeries separately – in a staged procedure. This can cost more but is done to reduce risks, reduce the chance of infection and get a better final result.
How much does surgery cost? Variances in Prices of Cosmetic Surgery in Australia
Why is surgery offered at cheaper rates by some surgeons?
- Different doctors have different experiences and varying recognition by medical boards and surgery monitoring groups
- A Specialist Surgeon will be qualified and recognised by the RACS (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons).
- Look for FRACS (Plas) and other memberships.
- Note that cosmetic doctors can’t operate in private Hospitals
- They have to work out of their own clinic back rooms or self-run hospitals, which is NOT the same as operating in a private hospital accredited in Australia and monitored/sanctioned by a large board or health insurance companies.
- A Plastic Surgeon usually operates with a higher price, surgery fee or cost than a GP or cosmetic surgeon, because they are far more highly trained and experienced as evidenced by RACS and AHPRA recognition as a SPECIALIST versus a GP or other doctor.
- 12 Years of training in medicine and surgery VERSUS a 1-year cosmetic doctor surgery training is a huge difference – ask yourself – which Surgeon do YOU want to operate on your one and only body, face, nose, eyelids, pair of breasts, or other body parts?
Be sure you watch the Four Corners (ABC) program and report about the cosmetic surgery industry including costs of breast surgery when consumers did not recognise the difference between types of surgeons.
Is cheap surgery the same thing as plastic surgery by a Specialist Plastic Surgeon?
See above, but also recognise that breast surgery is NOT a simple procedure if performed properly. It requires proper anatomy measurements and physiology assessments including dermal health (skin elasticity and tissue thickness), choosing the right type and style of the breast prosthesis, and more.
Typically, quality plastic surgery is also performed inpatient safety-focused settings such as hospitals; this may not be true of a back-room operating theatre in a strip shopping centre or back of office location.
Safety-focused settings for surgery might include a hospital or well-accredited private hospital, not a back room of a clinic converted into a surgery room; and these facilities cost a bit more.
Operations also involve high insurance premiums.
What’s included in a Price Quote for cosmetic surgery?
What should I look for when comparing surgery costs for cosmetic procedures?
What’s INCLUDED in a price quote for cosmetic surgery such as the cost of a breast reduction in Melbourne or Sydney is ALSO a variance in pricing.
- When comparing quotes, it’s important you know what’s INCLUDED in the price and what you might be expected to pay for (but aren’t told in advance) AS you progress through surgery.
- This may include or exclude various aspects of surgery such as hospital fees, anaesthesia, medications, follow up appointments, scar treatments and garments.
- Also, check into WHAT TYPE of doctor is operating on you (and how many procedures have they performed)?
- Junior surgeons with less experience may operate at reduced rates.
- Results from a less experienced or less-trained/non-specialist might be compromised.
- Complication risks are also likely to be elevated when patients choose a less-trained, less experienced surgeon or junior doctor or GP or dermatologist just entering the field of medicine or cosmetic surgery after gaining basic qualifications but NOT the FRACS (Plas) qualification.
- Look for ISAPS, ASAPS/ASPS and FRACS (Plas) to be sure you’re getting a Specialist Plastic Surgeon rather than a GP or non-plastic surgeon.
Experience counts – but it comes at a price! That said, you only have ONE body so be sure you don’t let price or cost differences guide you into choosing the WRONG surgeon for your procedure.
Scheduling and Planning Your Procedure
How soon can I get a consultation?
What is the waiting time for a consult with a Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne?
- Our plastic surgeons are always busy and it helps to plan ahead and to try not to change an existing appointment time.
- However, with clever management of their consultation diaries and theatre dates, we can typically arrange your consultation within 5 to 10 working days up to 2 to 3 weeks.
- Occasionally schedules will be more difficult and have longer waiting periods, such as when our Surgeons present at international conferences such as ASAPS/ISAPS or the Breast Masters in Sydney. Read more about our 20 point differences from other groups – WHY US.
How do I schedule a consultation or surgery date?
- Last-minute consultations are often available as some patients may need to reschedule at short notice.
- Sometimes surgery can also be arranged in a short period of time after the mandatory waiting period.
- It’s usually best to plan for your surgery so you can arrange time off from your normal activities so you can rest, recover and heal properly.
How much does a consultation cost with a Plastic Surgeon or Specialist?
- Your initial Consultation Booking Fee with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon is usually $200 ($350 for Body Lift/Multiple Procedures).
- Your booking fee of $200 is paid ahead of your appointment and will secure your consultation date.
- You can pay by phone by calling 0388491444 or 0388491400 to affirm payment or book an appointment time. (New patients please phone 0388491444)
- We have online payment methods if necessary.
TIP: If you progress with surgery, a second consultation is usually needed for customisation and planning purposes, as well as to review the surgery details, schedules, risks and consent forms and photographs. That second consultation is included in your surgery package price (but there may be a limit on time if you have surgery far in advance of your first consultation).
Where can I have a consultation for Plastic Surgery or Cosmetic Procedures?
Melbourne or Sydney locations available
- Please specify you are seeking either the Hawthorn, Berwick for Victoria or Double Bay if in Sydney.
- Each of our Surgeons consults in a specific location, sometimes two locations.
- If you choose a particular surgeon you will need to attend that Surgeon’s specific clinic for a consultation.
Can I bring a friend, partner or family member with me to the consultation?
- Yes – this is not required but is strongly recommended.
- We recommended you bring a supportive friend, partner or relative along to your consultation to HELP you think about all the information provided, and to discuss your surgical options with afterwards.
Initial consultations may also be available after-hours and on Saturday mornings – please ask our Patient Care Coordinator.
What if I don’t like the Surgeon I met with first?
- Our Surgeons are known for their expertise, caring nature, empathic style and positive communication styles.
- They aim to provide respect and dignity at all stages of your surgery journey.
- If, however, for any reason YOU do not want to proceed with the first Surgeon you met with at our clinic, we offer you the chance to meet with another of our top Specialist Plastic Surgeons to discuss your chosen procedure.
- This gives you flexibility, as whilst all of our Cosmetic, Reconstructive and Plastic Surgeons are top surgeons in their areas of expertise, each has a bit of a different personality and style of communication.
It’s best if you feel 100% comfortable with your choice of Plastic Surgeon.
- So we’re happy to offer a second consultation with another surgeon if you’re feeling very uncertain about comfort with the personality or communication style.
- That noted all of our Surgeons pride themselves on patient education and on being honest, caring communications that respect patient dignity at all times.
Your first visit – what to expect
What can I expect at my Initial Consultation with my Specialist Plastic Surgeon?
At your initial appointment with your surgeon you will typically:
- Spend time with your surgeon and nurse/patient coordinator
- Have your photos taken
- Have a physical examination by the surgeon
- See photos of past patient results
- Find out more about your recommended surgical options
- Receive detailed information about your surgery
- Go through the possible complications and risks of surgery
- Begin 3D modelling and sizing options (for some procedures)
- Find out about surgery pricing and available dates
- Ask any other questions you may have
Please allow up to 1.5 hours for your initial appointment
Our surgeons believe it’s very important to establish a strong relationship with you prior to any surgery. You will spend time with both your surgeon and patient care coordinator/nurse at your first consultation appointment.
We strongly recommended you bring a supportive friend or relative along to your consultation to help you think about all the information and discuss your surgical options.
How much time should I allow? What if my Surgeon is running late?
- It’s best to allow extra time for your appointment as medical settings may have some unpredictability about timing.
- Allow 120 minutes (ideally) or at least 90 minutes of time.
- We apologise in advance if our Surgeon is running slightly behind schedule on the day you attend.
- They usually run on time, but occasionally – working in health care – there may be a lag or a slight delay. We have a beautiful, relaxing reception area and FREE coffee and chocolates, so simply allow an extra bit of time just in case.
- Remember, however, that parking on the street is 2-hour parking (FREE) before you’ll want to move your car.
- Parking on-site in our parking lot is unlimited so long as you’re attending our Clinic at the time.
Do I need a GP (or specialist) Referral to make an appointment?
You do not need to have a medical referral (from a GP or specialist) to book a consultation (Item number 104 consultation) with one of our surgeons, however we do recommend it as having a referral can allow you to claim a small rebate (around $70) on the cost of your first consultation back from Medicare.
Please note that a GP referral has a validity of 12 months before expiring and a specialist referral only has a 3-month validity.
Do you use Vectra 3D imaging for sizing?
Yes, we can use Canfield Vectra 3D or Crisolix imaging during consultations to show you a range of possible outcomes after your procedure.
In addition, for breast implant surgery patients, we show you different breast implants and you can try on a range of sizers to get a feel for your results.
We also use the Canfield Facial Camera and imaging system to demonstrate facial surgery results.
Why choose us?
Changing Confidence, Changing Lives. Our surgeons are on a mission to help people improve their lives and to make a real difference for individuals, communities and the medical profession.
Our Practice makes a positive difference in people’s lives:
- building confidence
- enhancing self-esteem
- reducing pain and discomfort
We help our patients – both younger and mature patients – with transformative changes or restorative changes that really make a difference in your life. Feeling great about yourself and your appearance may help you get a better partner, career or lifestyle.
How long will I need to wait?
How long are surgery waiting times?
We work hard to accommodate special date requests for most patients and minimise surgical and consult wait times.
There are mandatory wait times, however, so if you have a specific date in mind, please get in touch with us as soon as possible to help you schedule your Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery to best meet your scheduling preferences.
Surgery wait times can vary depending on the time of year and other factors including the type of surgery you are wanting and whether there is preparation required for your procedure.
Sometimes your Surgeon may have a month to six month waiting period for surgery; so it pays to get your desired surgery date booked as far in advance as possible, especially if you NEED to have surgery on a specific week or time of year (over Christmas or school holidays, for example).
Stand-by surgery times can also be available at short notice, as occasionally patients need to reschedule for personal reasons (e.g. due to illness) – please ask.
There are also mandatory waiting periods or cooling-off periods (see next question).
What are the mandatory waiting periods for cosmetic surgery?
- There is a mandatory cooling-off period for some procedures.
- Insured patients or medically necessary procedures may incur delays:
- patients may need to seek permission or assess coverage and/or
- provide extensive documentation and photographs in order to apply for rebates from Medicare and Insurance companies for some procedures.
- If you are NOT insured and are payment methods your own surgery – you could have surgery now – please enquire about “Stand by” surgery lists and prices.
Which Australia Hospitals do you operate at in Melbourne?
To improve patient-safety measures and excellent care from fully-qualified medical and surgical staff, our major plastic surgery procedures are performed at accredited Hospitals.
Note that Cosmetic Surgeons vs Plastic Surgeons often don’t have operating rights in actual hospitals. Having major surgery in the back room of someone’s clinic may not be as good for patient-safety as having surgery in a genuine hospital.
Our Surgeons may operate at:
- St Vincent’s Private Hospital – Kew
- Masada Private Hospital – St Kilda
- Epworth Hospital – Hawthorn
- Epworth Hospital – Richmond
- Epworth Hospital – Cliveden
- St John Of God Hospital – Berwick
- The Avenue Hospital – Windsor
- Our Clinic (Upper Eyelids or scar revisions only)
Which Anaesthetists do you use?
Each surgeon has a very small, select group of anaesthetists for their procedures. These anaesthetists have been with our surgeons for up to two decades, making them experts in Plastic Surgery Anaesthesia. This results in a shorter anaesthetic with minimal chance of post-operative complications and better postoperative pain management. Where indicated, our anaesthetists organise for Patient Controlled Analgesia devices to be implemented, for efficient post-operative pain management in the ward.
All Anaesthetists are fully qualified and experienced in working in accredited hospitals.
• Dr Andrew Rubinfeld
• Dr Paul Rozental
• Dr Manash Patel
• Dr Maurice Amir
• Dr Allison Lilley
• Dr Alain Aronowicz
• Dr James Mitchell
• Dr Emily Dickson
• Dr Keng Low
Is my surgery covered by Medicare?
Is my plastic surgery covered by Medicare or private insurance?
Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Recovery
How many nights should I spend in the hospital?
Your stay in hospital depends on how quickly you can recover which varies from patient to patient.
- For breast augmentation patients, we recommend an overnight stay in hospital
- For breast reduction patients we advise a 1 to 2-night stay
- For tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) patients we advise a 2 to 3 nights
At the time of your consultation, your surgeon will discuss the length of your hospital stay and explain why a longer stay may be required for certain procedures or patients.
How much time will I need to be off work after surgery?
Each patient is different so your time off work will vary due to your speed of recovery, your level of bruising and pain and also on the type of work that you do.
Smokers and obese patients generally take longer to recover and have a poorer final result.
- For breast augmentation patients we recommend 1-2 weeks off work
- For breast reduction, we suggest 1-2 weeks off work
- For abdominoplasty or major body surgery around 3-4 weeks off work. (longer if your tummy muscles have split due to pregnancy or obesity)
- For nose and facial surgeries, depending on your swelling and bruising, your “social downtime” can be around 2-3 weeks
Your time off work really depends on the activity level in the type of work you do – for breast surgeries this can be 2 weeks for an office/desk job, 3 weeks for an ‘on your feet’ shop job or 4+ weeks for an active job.
It is often up to you to decide when you are ready to return to work.
Some General Guidelines for Estimating your Time off work
- We advise that you do NOT drive or operate heavy equipment for a minimum of one week after having surgery with a general Anaesthetic; ask your Surgeon for specifics in relation to your procedure.
- There is always a small risk of having a surgical complication and your return to work being delayed.
- We can provide a confidential Medical Certificate for time off work.
When can I start exercising after my procedure?
This varies from patient to patient and surgery to surgery. Don’t try to do too much too soon.
We encourage leisurely walking and light duties following your procedure. At the time of your consultation, we will discuss the type of exercise that you would like to do and how soon you can return to the activity.
For fitness enthusiasts, this may mean 10-12 weeks before heavy gym exercise like weights, bouncing or running, sometimes longer.
Is there a Minimum Age for Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery?
We prefer a minimum age of 18 years, although some younger patients can be operated on for corrective or reconstructive purposes. We are well aware of the difficult life faced by teenagers that are not considered to have “normal looks” by their peers – especially the consequences of being bullied at school.
You are welcome to bring in your daughter or son for a talk about their future possibilities.
What is the Maximum Age for Plastic Surgery?
Many patients in their 50’s and 60’s ask whether they are too old for Plastic Surgery. The general answer is you are NOT too old for surgery if you are in good health, and we see many patients of different ages transforming their lives with face, body and breast surgery.
We have had plastic surgery patients as old as 80. You’re never too old to look your best!
What are the possible side effects, complications and risks of the surgery?
Surgery is serious business and there are complications. All our surgeons are experienced plastic surgeons and will explain in detail ALL the risks and complications related to your surgery. You will be fully informed and consented prior to undertaking any surgery.
We always say “The best time to get surgery right is the first time.”
What is your surgery success rate (Surgical Complications Statistics)?
It is ironic that many surgeons who claim to have low complication rates never actually see their own patients with the surgical complication – their patients go elsewhere for revision surgery to get it fixed.
Our highly-experienced group of Plastic Surgeons do revision surgeries and attract unhappy patients from all over the country.
Other surgeons really know which surgeons do the best work.
There are published plastic surgery industry statistics for rates of infection and complications like Hematoma and Seroma. You will be informed about your risks during your consultation and you will be asked to sign a consent form.
Rest assured that we do everything possible to reduce infection and complication rates.
What are the busy and best times of the year to have surgery?
- February and November are the quietest months for surgery.
- Around the start of all the school holidays is a busy time. Many patients choose to have surgery pre and post-Xmas day to recover during the Summer Holidays. Others choose Easter Holiday breaks, mid-year breaks or September School Holidays.
- Surgery, while the kids are at school, can reduce disruption to the family.
- Some patients choose Winter months as a good time to have plastic surgery because you can hibernate and recover at home.
Post-pregnancy Breast Surgery, Tummy Tuck or “Mummy Makeover”
How long should I wait after pregnancy before having a Tummy Tuck surgery?
We recommend waiting for one year (12 months) after childbirth before having tummy surgery.
You are however most welcome to come in for a consultation at any time to plan for your upcoming surgery. Early consultations can be very beneficial to help you prepare your body for the best surgery outcomes as well as plan your recovery time – contact us to schedule a consultation.
How long should I wait after finishing breastfeeding before having Breast Surgery?
We recommend waiting several months after you’ve finished breastfeeding your last child before having breast surgery – typically a minimum of three months after breastfeeding finishes.
Do I really need a breast lift as well (I already know I want implants)?
This is a common question asked by patients trying to solve the problem of saggy breasts by having a standard breast augmentation with implants but don’t want surgical scars associated with a breast lift.
If you have significantly ptotic breasts (See our chart here and do the test for ptotic breasts here) you really have a choice of either a breast lift surgery (mastopexy) or a breast augmentation with a breast lift (masto-augmentation or BAM). Our top breast surgeons are renowned for their breast lift operations and use the latest techniques to get the best results. The Masto-Augmentation procedure is a particularly challenging operation to get right and really needs the skill of an experienced breast plastic surgeon.
Please don’t get just breast implants (or really large breast implants) to try to solve your problem of ptotic, saggy or droopy breasts. You probably need a breast lift and it’s a much more complex operation that needs to be done by an experienced plastic surgeon.
Can I have Breast Reduction surgery again?
For patients that have already had breast reduction surgery at a younger age (primary breast surgery), you can have another breast reduction or breast revision surgery (Called secondary breast surgery) but there are some added risks. Please contact us.
Will my breast surgery affect breastfeeding later in life?
The answer depends on exactly what type of breast surgery. For operation-safety and satisfactory, it is usually best to avoid surgery using incisions around the nipple-areola complex and, depending on the patient, it may help o avoid having “above the muscle” implant placement. But this can vary from patient to patient.
You should also choose an experienced plastic surgeon – not an underqualified ‘cosmetic surgeon’ or physician.
We generally recommend either “below the muscle” implants and making incisions under the breast for best results if you are going to breastfeed children later in life or want the lowest chance of loss of nipple sensation.
Cosmetic Surgery FAQs – for Plastic Surgery patients and Disclaimers
- Note this information on surgery FAQS including recovery times and scars IS general information only.
- This information does not constitute medical advice nor a medical relationship.
- These answers may be subject to changes and should not be substituted for direct information given to you by YOUR SURGEON.
- Plus, in a group setting, NOT all answers apply to ALL Surgeons NOR TO ALL surgery patients.
There is a large degree of surgery customisation and varying methods and surgical techniques between different surgeons and Surgery groups in Australia. So please be sure you affirm any information found online with your personally selected Specialist Plastic Surgeon, whose opinions and techniques may vary.
Next steps on your Surgical Journey
Visit our FAQs pages, learn more about your procedure, have a look at our photo galleries. Avoid the dangers of overseas medical tourism.
How to Book your Initial Consultation
- Email us or Call on (03) 8849 1444 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
- A Referral from your GP or from your specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
- Schedule a confidential consultation with your selected Specialist Surgeon by paying the $200 booking fee.
Want more information before scheduling your Surgeon consultation?
- Attend our Regular Practice Events and hear from our of Specialist Plastic Surgeons and their top support team (FREE)
- Please contact us using this form to arrange to book a consultation with one of our expert Specialist Plastic Surgeons or to speak with our Patient Care Coordinator.
If during clinic hours, you can also phone (03) 8849 1444 and ask for a Patient Care Coordinator.