Plastic Surgery: Be extremely selective

In Quebec, any doctor with the requisite training can wield the scalpel. General practitioners, ophthalmologists, dermatologists … more and more people are doing cosmetic surgery.

While plastic surgeons have completed a demanding surgical training of 5 years under the supervision of a surgeon, a general practitioner can perform certain aesthetic procedures following only a three-month internship.

It is therefore essential to be extremely meticulous in choosing your doctor when you elect cosmetic surgery procedures.

Start with the following steps:

  • Contact the Association des spécialistes en chirurgie plastique et esthétique du Québec to obtain contact information for surgeons according to the specialty you are looking for.
  • Check with the Collège des médecins du Québec to determine whether the specialist you have selected is not the subject of any complaint.

Once you have decided on a specialist, do not trust the certificates hanging on the wall. Ask him or her the following questions:

  • Are you trained in plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery?
  • Are you certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (or are you a member of a group of specialists, such as the Association des spécialistes en chirurgie plastique et esthétique du Québec)?
  • What training did you follow specifically regarding this procedure, where and how long was it?
  • How long have you been doing the procedure that you have elected?
  • How many times have you performed the procedure that you have elected?
  • Do you have surgical privileges in a reputed hospital?

Plastic surgery, when done for aesthetic reasons, is called an elective surgery. Like all surgeries, these involve many risks and different complications. Never rely entirely on the information found on the internet: it is rarely complete or totally objective. Have you been properly informed so that you have informed consent? If you are unsure, try the following:

  • Get accompanied to the doctor, take notes and ask for documentation;
  • Ask what are the risks and complications associated with this procedure, however small they may be;
  • Ask the doctor to explain the technical terms in the consent form, if any;
  • Ask about the side effects;
  • Ask if there are any reasons not to proceed with the procedure given your state of health;
  • As much as possible, try to visit the premises, observe the equipment, discuss with the staff to know the conditions of your operation. If you have any doubt, visit other clinics;
  • Meet several doctors to get different diagnoses as well as their opinion on the techniques that you have been offered elsewhere;
  • Ask what are all the signs and symptoms for which you should consult post-operatively;
  • Ask what will happen if the results are not up to your expectations.

You will also note that any clause providing for an exemption from liability is void and presumed unwritten.

Though tedious, this process is the only way to reduce the risks associated with your surgery.

To find out more about our medical liability specialists, click here to contact us online today.