Q: Do I need a referral from my general
practitioner to see a plastic surgeon?
A: If you want cosmetic surgery it is not strictly necessary
to have a referral, as there will not be a Medicare rebate.
For all other surgery a referral is required to obtain a refund
from Medicare. If you are in doubt ask our secretaries.
Q: I am planning to have some plastic
surgery but I am a little worried about the anaesthetic. What
do I need to know?
A: All anaesthetics given in hospital are administered
by a specialist anaesthetist. The safety equipment used means
that the patient can be assured of constant monitoring of
their heart and lung functions. The level of anaesthetic will
vary with the type of operation being performed.
Q: Are many operations performed
as day surgery?
A: These days, more and more operations are suitable for
day stays. This will be discussed at the time of your consultation
and you will have the opportunity to talk about your preferences.
Q: How long will I be in Hospital?
A: The more complex surgical procedures may require two
or three days hospitalization. It is very rare for patients
to spend more than 5 days in hospital for any procedure.
Q: When can I return to work after
A: The length of time to recuperate after plastic surgery
varies depending on the procedure performed. Most patients
will require assistance for the first two days. After that,
most are able to care for themselves. An estimate for
some operations is as follows:
Eyelid Surgery: Usually can get around independently
by the second day. With the use of sunglasses, may feel comfortable
going out by day 3 or 4. With make up could possibly return
to work by 5 to 7 days.
Facelift Surgery: Usually can get around independently
by the second day. Usually do not feel comfortable going out
in public for 5 to 7 days. Requires 10 to 14 days before returning
to work if in the public eye.
Breast Surgery: Usually can get around independently
by the second day. Augmentation patients may return to work
at 5 to 7 days if not required to lift more than 15 pounds.
Reduction patients may need 2 to 3 weeks off work.
Liposuction: Usually can get around independently by the
2nd day, earlier if smaller areas treated. Return to work and normal
activities in 5 to 10 days.
Abdominoplasty: Patients make take between 2 to 4
days before getting around independently. Recovery is similar
to caesarian section. May be able to return to a desk job
at 7 days, other jobs 2 to 3 weeks.
Q: Will I experience any postoperative
A: The amount of pain a patient may feel depends on the type
of procedure and their own tolerance levels. Appropriate pain medications
are prescribed for patients for their postoperative phase, and these
help minimize discomfort. In general plastic surgery procedures
are not particularly painful.
Q: How long does it take to heal
A: After any operation, care should be taken of the surgical
area for at least 3 weeks so that it heals without complications.
Good healing makes good scars. As there will be specific limitations
after each operation, it is important to discuss these with
Dr Richards at the time of consultation.
Q: Will there be any visible scars
A: Any time a cut or incision is made in the skin, there
is a scar left behind as part of the normal healing process.
Often the scars will be placed in normal skin creases as in
a facelift or eyelid reduction. Some operations, such as breast
reduction or 'tummy tucks' leave quite long scars. Dr Richards
can show you examples of these scars and instruct you how
to care for the incision after surgery to give the best results.
Scars go on improving for many months or even years after
Q: What are the most commonly performed
cosmetic surgery operations?
A: Breast surgery, both increasing and decreasing the
size, are the most common operations. Other very common ones
are facelift, liposuction, eyelid reduction and abdominal
Q: What will my surgery cost?
A: Costs of each operation comprise surgical and anaesthetic
fees, hospital charges and, when necessary, implant costs.
Dr Richards bases his surgical fees on the
length of time that the procedure takes and the complexity
of the treatment. You will be provided with a detailed written
quotation of all charges at your initial consultation.
Q: Do I pay for my post-operative
A: Routine post-operative visits are included in the surgical
Some Common Questions Related
to Specific Procedures:
Face Lift and Facial Skin rejuvenation
Q: What is involved in a facelift?
A: Facelift surgery, also called a rhytidectomy, is a highly
effective and safe means of significantly improving one's appearance.
Essentially a facelift cannot stop aging; however, it can effect
a lasting change, so that one would always appear younger than one
would otherwise. The incisions are well hidden and for a scar to
be noticeable is unusual. The deeper muscle and fascial layers are
repositioned into a more youthful and natural position. Generally,
convalescence can be as long as two to three weeks, but with the
aid of a small amount of make-up, individuals are usually able to
resume social activities after about ten days
Q: After a facelift is done, are there
any marks that show on the face?
A: If done correctly, all of the incisions associated with a
facelift can be hidden in the normal creases and folds of the face,
or in the hairline.
Q: Will facial skin resurfacing eliminate
A: Skin peeling alone will not remove scars as it only removes
superficial skin layers. To remove scars means taking deeper layers
and this can be achieved by laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. Resurfacing
to these depths may alter the colour and texture of the skin and
so it is important that each patient is assessed carefully to see
if they are suitable. If the patient does not wear any make-up it
is more difficult to hide any such changes.
Q: Can I have injections to reduce wrinkles?
A: Wrinkles are caused by several factors which include sun
damage and aging.Wrinkles may be treated by the use of filing material.
If looseness of the skin is the main problem then it may be that
surgery to tighten the skin is the best answer.
Q: How long do these injections last?
A: If the wrinkles are filled then this will usually last for
three or four months. Injections to paralyze the muscles will usually
last up to six months or longer with repeated injections.
Q: What type of implants are used for breast enlargement?
A: In Australia silicone implants are now freely available after extensive investigations into their safety by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). Silicone implants are available in both teardrop and round shapes. They have a tougher shell to make rupture more difficult and most contain a thicker silicone (cohesive gel). Saline implants are also available in the same shapes and sizes as silicone ones.
Q: Should breast implants be placed under or on top of the pectoral muscles?
A: This depends on several factors, particularly the amount of breast tissue that is present to start with. Each patient is different and Dr Richards will discuss the pros and cons of each position during your consultation.
Q: Will I be able to breast feed after a breast enlargement?
A: Yes. The breast tissue is not disturbed by this operation.
Q: Will I lose sensitivity in my nipples after breast surgery?
A: This is possible after both breast enlargement and reduction operations. Should this occur it will usually recover in six to twelve months but may not do so in every case.
Q: Are the nipples removed to make my breasts smaller?
A: Very rarely. Usually the nipples are left attached to some
breast tissue and are lifted up during the operation.
Q: How small will I be after my breast
A: Basically, you can choose your size, but most women wish
to restore breasts, which are in harmony with their general body
shape, whilst reducing the weight of the breasts.
Q: Will a breast reduction help my migraine,
or my neck or upper back pain?
A: Although there are many causes for neck, upper back pain
and migraines, many women report improvement or even complete resolution
of these symptoms after a breast reduction.
Q: Will I be able to breastfeed after a
A: Most modern techniques preserve some breast tissue attached
to the nipple and about 50% of patients are able to breastfeed after
Q: Can abdominal surgery remove my stretch
A: Usually, any stretch marks in the lower abdomen will be removed
by abdominal reduction surgery. Dr Richards will be able to tell
you whether any of your marks will remain after the operation.
Q: What will happen to my belly button?
A: The umbilicus is preserved and brought through a new opening
when the abdominal reduction is completed.
Q: My tummy muscles are very weak. Can
anything be done about this?
A: Following childbirth the abdominal muscles can be separated
and you may notice a bulge between them. These muscles can be tightened
during the operation.
Q: When can I go back to the gym after
my abdominal surgery?
A: If the muscles are being repaired it is important not to
stress them too soon by doing exercises such as sit-ups and heavy
weight lifting. However, gentle aerobic exercise can usually be
commenced at about 3 to 4 weeks after surgery.
Q: Can liposuction be used as a weight loss method?
A: No. Liposuction is used to get rid of isolated areas of fat
which have not responded to diet or exercise. It is not designed
for weight loss.
Q: What areas can be treated with liposuction?
A: Many areas of the body are amenable to liposuction, including under the chin, the hips, the inner and outer thighs and the buttocks, knees and ankles. Some areas respond better than others and success depends on the elasticity or tone of the skin, the amount that needs to be removed and the age of the patient.
Q: Will I need to wear any special clothing
after my liposuction?
A: Usually an elasticized garment is worn for perhaps 2 to 3
weeks post-operatively. Your surgeon will order this for you if
Q: Will there be any visible scarring on
A: Many procedures to reshape the nose are performed only with
scars inside the nostrils, but occasionally an external incision
is made between the nostrils where the nose joins the upper lip.
Dr Richards will advise which is best for you.
Q: Will my nose be swollen after surgery?
A: Yes. Most swelling will resolve after 3 weeks, however there
will be some minor swelling which may persist for many months.
Q: Will my breathing improve after surgery?
A: If your nose has been previously blocked, many nose reshaping
procedures can be combined with surgery to improve the nasal airway.
Q: I am worried about my moles and wonder who should check them?
A: This is best done by your General Practitioner. He or she may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) or surgeon if appropriate.
Q: How do I know if my skin spots are dangerous?
A: Any change in size, shape or colour should be checked by
your general practitioner.
Q: Will I have scars after surgery for skin cancer?
A: There will always be some scarring after any surgery. For small spots the scar may only be a fine line. If a skin graft or other reconstruction is necessary, the scarring may be more obvious.