Contrary to its name, plastic surgery does not involve the use of plastics
during surgery. The word plastic is taken from a Greek word that simply
means ‘moulding’ or ‘giving form’. Plastic Surgery seeks to restore form and function to the body (esp. to those specialised parts of the body that can be seen on the outside)
Cosmetic or Aesthetic surgery is designed to improve a person’s appearance by reshaping facial or bodily features. Reconstructive surgery is surgery to improve function or minimize disfigurement that has occurred as a result of an accident, disease or birth defect.
Medically indicated, non-accident procedures will be covered by private insurers according to your policy.
If you have no insurance then you would be responsible for the full cost.
We are a ‘Southern Cross Affiliated Provider’ for skin cancers and a number of hand surgery procedures.
We are an ACC accredited provider.
You must have a registered and accepted ACC claim to visit a specialist. This is available from a ‘Primary Practitioner’ – your GP, local A&E, physio etc.
ACC consultations are then fully covered by ACC.
If an operative procedure is required then a further request by the specialist must be submitted to, and accepted by ACC before any procedure can be performed.
Cosmetic procedures are generally self funded unless they have a functional component. Procedures like breast reduction surgery, or drooping upper eyelids obscuring part of your vision surgery fall into this category. Different insurers have different requirements. Check with your insurer.
Costs can be highly variable.
Total costs include
- Surgeons Fee – for
- Anaesthetist Fee
- Hospital charges
- Sundry charges – dressings, medications, special garments, prostheses
The Surgeon Fee is a ‘procedure charge’. It covers the procedure and the first 3 months follow-up.
The hospital and anaesthetist fees are largely ‘time based’ and will vary according to how long is spent in theatre.
Surgeon, estimated anaesthetist fees and approx 75% of the estimated hospital cost are usually paid in advance.
Some cosmetic procedures eg. upper eyelid surgery – are often performed under a local anaesthetic which means anaesthetist and hospital charges can be avoided.
While a rough estimate can often be given over the phone, a consultation is required to give you more specific costs.
This varies with the type of operation, your occupation and how anxious you are about the ‘visibility’ of surgery.
As a general rule think in terms of 2-3days, 2-3weeks, 2-3months.
2-3days – This is when bruising and swelling increases and the period in which a well approximated wound’s surface starts to heal across. The more you do, the more swelling will occur. You will however be encouraged to be up and around as soon after your procedure as practicable (unless you had have a lower leg operation). You may need pain relief. There may be a dressing cover to collect bleeding. You should largely rest and elevate the part that has been operated on. You do not want to do activities that produce a sweat or make you breathless.
2-3weeks – This is the time bruising and swelling subsides and initial wound healing takes place. The operated part needs to be cared for but generally over this time it returns to normal use. If you have had a cosmetic procedure and you don’t want people to know then you will need to disguise, cover or hide the operated area over this time. Most people will be free of dressings, are back to their normal day to day activities and are lightly exercising at the end of this time.
2-3months – this is the time scar tissue is laid down and wounds become strong.
It is a time you may be restricted for very heavy or very active activities. Direct forceful trauma to the operated area should be avoided but you will slowly return to these activities over this period with some guidance depending on what has been done. You may be aware of tightness, numbness or firmness in the tissue operated on or lumpiness in the scars. These will start to settle over this period and will continue to do so even after this period
You will be given more operation specific advice at a consultation.
Whenever the skin is cut, healing occurs with scar tissue. The quality and appearance of the scars varies widely depending on many factors
- The initial problem – A surgeon has more options in scar placement and size when performing cosmetic surgery than when performing a cancer removal. Some sites are ‘kinder’ to healing e.g. – forehead and scalp – while other areas are known to have a high incidence of problem scars – e.g. central and upper chest
- What the surgeon does – the direction of the cuts, the suture repair technique etc
- How you look after the wound – keeping it clean to minimise infection risk, keeping the part elevated to reduce swelling, too much exercise too early may produce swelling, bleeding or wound disruption etc
- What nature does – scar healing can vary widely between individuals depending on skin type, age, family history etc
- Whether there are any problems – e.g. a wound infection will greatly increase the chance of a poor scar.
You will be given more specific advice after surgery on caring for your wounds and scars.