Deciding whether to get implants is sometimes less difficult than finding the right surgeon. Below are tips for picking the right doctor to perform the surgery and specific questions to ask during your appointment.

Experience

When did you begin practicing?

How many times have you done this procedure?

With what boards are you certified?

Could you show me before and after pictures? (Were these patients of yours?)

Which professional associations do you belong to?

Do you have privileges at any local hospitals?

TIP: Having hospital privileges is a good sign; it means that the hospital has vetted the surgeon and believes that he or she has a low potential for malpractice liability.

TIP: Certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery indicates that the surgeon has substantial training, a commitment to quality, and extensive knowledge and experience.

Cost

What do you anticipate the total cost of surgery will be?

What would the difference in price be if I were to choose a different type of implant (silicone vs. saline) or incision?

Will I receive an estimate in writing?

Could you itemize the estimate?

What insurance policies do you accept (for reconstruction)?

Are you able to perform nipple reconstruction as well (for reconstruction)?

Does your practice offer any financing options?

TIP: An itemized estimate will help you understand exactly what you're paying for.

The Procedure

Who will be assisting during the surgery?

What type of anesthesia do you prefer?

Does my medical history necessitate any special accommodations?

Do you recommend a certain incision location? Why?

Would you be comfortable with a different incision location if I decided that I that it was important to me?

Where will the procedure be done?

What happens if an emergency or other complications were to arise during surgery?

How far in advance do I need to schedule the procedure?

Do you offer any type of guarantee if my (saline) implant were to rupture shortly after surgery?

What type of flap procedure do you prefer (for reconstruction)? Why? Would you be comfortable performing a different type if I requested it?

What are the risks of this surgery?

TIP: A handful of surgeons allow patients to remain awake during surgery to decide on implant size and placement. If this is of interest to you, you may have to travel to have your procedure; keep in mind, this is not necessarily for the weak of heart or stomach!

TIP: Some surgeons will only perform one or two types of incisions. If you have set opinions about the location of your incision, make sure this is clear from the beginning.

TIP: All surgeries come with risks; an overly optimistic surgeon who is not forthcoming about the potential for complications should not be seriously considered.

TIP: Having the surgery done at a hospital may be more expensive; however, hospitals are often best equipped to handle emergencies. Ask for a tour of the facility if you have concerns.

Recovery

What rate of complications have your patients experienced?

How long will recovery take?

What restrictions will be placed on my everyday activities?

Will I need to ask a friend or family member to care for me after surgery?

When should I come in for follow ups?

TIP: A good surgeon will want to see you at least once after surgery to make sure your recovery is going well.