Considering Surgery

Here at CAPS we understand there is more to cosmetic surgery in Canberra than just the surgery.  The decision to undertake this type of procedure can take years to come to fruition.  Cosmetic surgery is a very personal decision, our patients have often spent years thinking about it, researching it, talking about it and finally working up the courage to set foot inside our front door.

Surgery is surgery and before entering into any form of procedure it is vital you understand your options, risks and personal responsibilities, which is why we have invested a huge amount of time making this website as educational as we can.  We want our patients to feel confident and understand our commitment to every facet of this journey.

At CAPS we have been privileged to see the change we can make in a person’s life.  The journey of any form of rejuvenation procedure or cosmetic surgery can be challenging but it can also be rewarding and the beginning of a whole new, more confident you.

From your first telephone call to your final post-operative visit, Dr Taylor and his team are there to provide advice, support and ensure your surgical journey achieves the best possible outcome.

You are encouraged to bring a relative or friend to take part in the consultation, should you wish to do so.

Your consultation with Dr Taylor will be a ‘two way’ conversation.  You will have the opportunity to voice your concerns, your specific issues and your expectations.

Dr Taylor will take the time to listen to your needs and discuss your desired results – demonstrating the possibilities with before and after photos and technical imagery.  During the consultation, he will assess your suitability for surgery, advise you on the most appropriate surgical options and alternatives, give you clear and detailed information about the procedures and explain the risks and expected outcomes.

Following your consultation, you will meet with a member of our Support Team and be provided with a comprehensive information pack which fully outlines all aspects of the specific procedure,  a quote for the surgery and advice in relation to what, if any, rebates can be claimed will be discussed.

There is no pressure for you to make a decision during the assessment stage. You are encouraged to take the relevant information home and fully consider all implications of the procedure. During this time you are able phone the Clinic with further questions and or to clarify any issues. You even have the option of speaking confidentially with former patients.

Every surgeon will have their own opinion of what is right for you. This is why I recommend you have a couple of consultations for surgery in Canberra with different surgeons to help you decide what is right for you. In some case this may confuse you if two surgeons are telling you completely different things. So here are some tips to help you sort out what is what.

1. Go to your consult prepared – do your homework and understand the basics of the surgery you are considering. ASPS and the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons (NZAPS) have established the Australasian Foundation for Plastic Surgery Limited (the Foundation) to support quality health outcomes for everyone involved with Plastic Surgery. The Foundation provides patients with reliable and accurate information on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery including comprehensive information on procedures and a range of other useful patient resources. http://www.plasticsurgeryfoundation.org.au/patient-information/procedures/

2. Don’t search too many blogs – these can be misleading, confusing and often detrimental to your research. Remember everyone is different, you are different, your circumstances might be different and certainly the outcome you will personally achieve is different.

3. Take a second person with you to the consult – two pairs of ears and eyes at a consultation is much better than one. During a consultation you will have an enormous amount of information presented to you, taking this in when you are mindful of the limited time you have with the surgeon can be very stressful and often things can be misconstrued or misunderstood.

4. Look at the surgeons before and after photos – are the results in the photos results you would be happy with. Are you seeing a cross section of whole range of different body shapes and types in the portfolio or do all the pre and post op photos look the same? If this is the case the surgeon may not be able to provide you with the same results.

5. Finally – what is believable? Are you being offered alternatives or are you being offered the ‘one size fits all’ standard talk. Remember no two surgeries are the same, if you are being sold the robot solution – run!

If all else fails arrange a second consultation with the surgeon you feel most comfortable with and discuss your concerns. Overall this could be the best investment you can make.

In the excitement of the surgery patients often overlook the importance of preparing for it. What patients do in the lead up to surgery and knowing how to plan appropriately for your recovery can make the difference between an anxious process or a more relaxed one.

Because we were frequently approached by patients who wanted to know what they could do in preparation for the surgery we put together a “pre-surgery program”. Now seven years later we know the value of this program and offer it to our patients as part of the service we provide.

If your surgeons doesn’t offer this then you can do it yourself. We use a multivitamin to ‘detox’ the body which aids recovery getting patients back on their feet faster. We also use a herbal medication to reduce the bruising and swelling associated with the surgery, again we have found this to be highly effective.

Knowing what to expect is vital to the planning of your recovery. Understanding what you can and cannot do will ensure you are not put in a position where you put yourself or the success of your surgery at risk. All this will depend on your personal situation. How much time do you need off work? Do you need to drive? Do you live alone? Do you have a family that relies on you? Do you have small children? Do you have to lift children or heavy objects in your day to day life? Do you play sport? What is going on in your life for the first six weeks after surgery?

Again answering these questions will ensure you have planned appropriately for your surgery and your recovery.

Post-Operative Care is vital to your surgery in Canberra and should be included as part of your surgical fee.  Your surgeon should be present at your post operative appointment and certainly should manage any complications you may experience.

Dr Taylor’s nurses provide the clinical follow-up ie. Removal of sutures, wound checks etc and you will see him at key times in your recovery and definitely if there is medical problem which must be managed.

Your post operative care should also include advice on how to manage and improve your scarring.  Ask these questions;

  • Where is the surgeon located and how available are they post operatively? (If your surgeon doesn’t live in the area, who manages their patients in their absence?)
  • In the case of patients who select to have surgery overseas (instead of your surgery in Canberra) who will manage your clinical recovery?  Generally, you will not find Australian Surgeons in private clinics who will willingly take you on.
  • What appointments are scheduled for post operative care?  i.e. Removal of Sutures, six weeks post op, six months post op
  • Are they included in the cost and if not, what fees are associated with this?
  • Who performs them – the nurse or the surgeon?
  • What if there is a problem post operatively – how will it be handled? 

Choosing Your Surgeon

Who performs your surgery in Canberra is very important.  You need to make sure your surgeon is fully qualified and trained to perform the procedure.  In Australia, anyone with a medical degree can call themselves a “Cosmetic Surgeon”.  This creates a great deal of confusion and blurs the lines between a non surgically trained doctor, and a fully trained specialist surgeon.

FACT: In Australia anyone with a Medical Degree can call themselves a Cosmetic Surgeon.

So how do you know who is surgically trained and who is not? The first thing you should look for is FRACS in the qualification.  FRACS stands for ‘Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons” this means your surgeon has undertaken significantly more training in all facets of surgery than a General Practitioner.

Next look for ASPS.  ASPS stands for Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.  Members of these societies have not only qualified as surgeons but also specialised in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery.  There are many arguments about qualification for cosmetic surgery but the fact remains these qualifications are the ‘Gold Standard’.   All members have spent at least eight years training in surgical procedures and four of those specifically in Plastic surgery. You can check your surgeon’s credentials by contacting ASPS on 1300 367 446 or going to the website www.plasticsurgery.org.au.

So what does this really mean to you?

Plastic surgeons are well trained, they have had extensive experience in all facets of reconstructive surgery, have experienced and had to cope with all sorts of medical issues and most importantly they know how to ‘think on their feet’.  For these reasons patients can have confidence their surgery will be well considered and managed from consultation to recovery.

In saying this, it is also important you consult with your surgeon. This consultation should be a ‘two way’ conversation.  You should have the opportunity to voice your concerns, your specific issues and your expectations and the surgeon should be your voice of reason providing you with options specific to your personal situation and desires whilst also ensuring you understand the risks and personal responsibility you are taking with the surgery.

Many surgeons perform surgery in Canberra in a private hospital but there are some who will operate in their own private rooms.  Hospitals should be state and federally licensed to operate, they should also have accreditation with an external body such as ISO or ACHS.  Private rooms often do not have this form of license or accreditation and therefore may not be able to provide adequate support in the case of emergency.  So the questions you should be asking are:

  • Where is the surgery performed?
  • Does the hospital hold a State Licence and is it Accredited or is this in their rooms without appropriate equipment and drugs to handle an emergency?
  • Will the surgery be performed under sedation or general anaesthetic?
  • Is there a qualified anaesthetist present or is the Surgeon managing your anaesthetic as well as your surgery?
  • Will qualified nurses be taking care of you post operatively or will you be left unsupervised as you recover from your anaesthetic?

Answering all these questions should reassure you both the surgeon and the facility can manage any unexpected situations and significantly reduce the risk of your surgery.

The world is moving towards ‘shorter stay’ surgery but is this really what we want as patients?  Certainly some surgeries are minor, require simple anaesthetic and minimal recovery – these surgeries are well suited to a ‘day stay’ procedure.  However the issue faced by these facilities is the ‘what if’.

What if the patient does not recover well from surgery? What if the patient is nauseous after surgery? What if the patient cannot cope with the pain of the surgery? What if something happens in theatre which may delay the recovery of the patient?  Surgery should only be performed as a day case if the hospital has the ability to keep the patient overnight or transfer them to a private licensed hospital and the patient should be made aware of any costs incurred if this is required.

Some surgeons prefer to perform this surgery as a day case, at CAPS we believe in providing an overnight stay.  We want our patients to take their time to rest and recover.   It also provides us an opportunity to monitor our patients to ensure their pain relief and post op nausea (if present) is well controlled before being discharged to the care of their family or friends.

A nice hospital in a holiday destination that is cheap looks tempting.  But you really don’t know what is going to be happening to you once you are anaesthetised.  There are many risks associated with surgery and to believe ‘it won’t happen to you’ may be the biggest mistake you make.  There may be language barriers, you run the risk of having inferior implants not approved in this county inserted or being left with results that do not meet your expectations.  Once you leave the country your opportunity to address these issues is limited and may be expensive to fix in Australia. Generally, you will not find Australian Surgeons in private clinics who will willingly take you on.

Surgery without accountability is good for the surgeon but not so good for the patient.

For more information regarding the facts and fiction of overseas surgery, click here.

Nobody wants to talk about fees but here at CAPS we make the commitment that our patients will be fully informed of any expected out of pocket expenses prior to your surgery.

Frequently, there are gaps between the surgical and anaesthetic fees and the rebate you will receive from Medicare and your health fund. Unfortunately, Medicare rebates continue to lag well behind inflation. Conversely, practice and insurance costs have risen much faster than inflation.

In setting its fees The CAPS Clinic also has regard to the AMA-recommended fee schedule, costs of providing professional and safe facilities and running an efficient and effective practice.

Our staff are trained to understand this labyrinth of health rebates and we will endeavour to advise you of all fees associated with your surgery and Medicare and Health Fund rebates that may available to you. If you have any questions in relation to this please talk to the Admin team – they will advise you what to do.

The Five Star Difference

The CAPS team are experienced professionals who understand that although we do this everyday – you don’t.  We want you to relax knowing your surgery will be performed expertly and efficiently and your post operative recovery is attentive and caring.   AT CAPS our mission is to provide Surgery, Service and Support.  We give you our commitment to do exactly that.

Provision of quality surgery performed by a qualified and very experienced, local Plastic Surgeon.

  • FRACS Qualification and Training
  • Over 18 Years Experience
  • Local Surgeon Providing Surgery to Local People
  • No quick fix procedures – only performing surgery procedures that provide lasting results
  • Friendly and professional team to answer questions and support your journey

From preoperative counselling, detailed guidelines and helpful hints, The CAPS Clinic recognises that surgery is just one of the many steps involved for a patient undergoing any procedure.

  • Detailed information and documentation relating to your surgery and preparation for it
  • Pre surgery program including vitamins and herbal medication designed to reduce bruising and swelling and speed recovery. Contained in a fashionable overnight bag to use during your hospital stay.
  • Communication in the lead up to surgery. As you count down….so do we, with reminder emails and details relating to your admission.
  • Professional Nursing care and attention ensuring all post operative issues are addressed quickly and effectively
  • Confidentiality (your secrets are safe with us!)
We delight in providing our patients with excellent and personalised care from the minute you walk in the door until your last follow-up visit. Recognising the importance of this step we built our own hospital for our patients, provide a 24 hours telephone support service, and include 6 months post operative care in your surgical fee. Our team recognises the commitment you have made to the surgery and will make a commitment to you, to provide the best and most comprehensive post operative care available.
  • Your surgery will take place at Sole’vita Surgery, a five star hospital offering superior comfort and attention from our dedicated and friendly team.
  • Post operative kit containing surgical garment, supporting items and products which will assist you in your recovery
  • 24 Hour nursing contact to ensure you are recovering well from your surgery
  • All post operative care for up to 6 months (including a our scar management program)
  • Gift Voucher to spoil yourself during your recovery 

Get The Facts

Risks

“I once listened to a patient who told me she had seen a surgeon who told her he had never had a patient with a post operative complication – What rubbish!  Every surgeon, even the best surgeons in the world have patients with complications and if they tell you otherwise – they are either lying or delusional.”  – Dr Taylor

No surgery happens without risks and, complications can and do happen after surgery. What is important is how those complications are handled and how quickly they are addressed.  Early intervention will significantly reduce the time it takes to heal. This is why it is vital you remain close to your place of surgery or your surgeon remains close to you.

Bleeding can occur into the surgical space and, while rare, if severe enough may warrant another trip back to the operating theatre to tie off the bleeding vessel. In extreme cases a blood transfusion may be required.
Seroma is a collection of serum, a thin, straw coloured fluid the body exudes when healing wounds. This can lead to irregularity in the final contour of the surgical site, increased possibility of infection and occasionally it will require frequent drainage of serum from the wound until it settles.

Preventing a seroma involves making the skin flap and muscle wall heal together as fast as possible, this will minimise the space between them. Suction drains are often used in the cavity to drain excess serum as it forms and a pressure garment is used to press the two layers together. If a seroma collects, after drain removal, it will need to be drained by needle every few days. In difficult cases a drain may need to be reinserted. This will require a further trip to the operating theatre.

Skin necrosis is the loss of skin from the wound due to lack of blood and oxygen supply to the surgical site.  Early intervention and treatment is critical if this is the result of a wound infection.

Smoking will increase the risk of skin necrosis as nicotine causes small blood vessels to constrict decreasing blood supply and nutrient to the wound site. It is important to be in your best health and follow are pre and post operative instructions such as the cessation of smoking for 4 weeks before and after surgery.

Anytime you cut the skin you risk introducing infection into the body.  Ensuring your surgery takes place in an accredited and licensed facility ensures you can be confident this risk is minimised. Patients at risk will receive antibiotics before, during or after surgery simply as precaution.
All efforts are made to avoid scar problems but they can occur. Stretching can lead to a wider scar that is either flat or indented and can be up to one centimetre in width and whilst they are not uncomfortable they can be unsightly.  Most scars will heal well, leaving only a thin white line on the skin.  At CAPS we have a comprehensive scar management program which begins the day of surgery and can last up to one year.

Thickened scars can be a problem as they become raised, hard and wide. They are often red and itchy. Dr Taylor will ask you if you have had any previous keloid or thickened scars. Keloid scars can be treated with pressure therapy and steroid injection, should they occur.

Deep venous thrombosis is the formation of clots in the veins of the legs. These clots can detach and travel to the lungs (pulmonary emboli). In cases of large emboli, patients can die. To prevent this happening, the calves are exercised during the operation with a special machine and injections of a blood-thinning agent are administered post operatively.

Oral contraceptives and smoking both increase the risk of deep venous thrombosis, and should be ceased before the operation.

Essentials

Whilst it can be confronting for patients, photography forms a vital component of the medical record of a patient’s surgical journey.  During a consultation with Dr Taylor he will not only discuss the surgery but also use before and after photos to help demonstrate and manage patients expectations.

It is essential to ensure the photographs are taken in a neutral lighting environment with consideration to light and shadowing.

There is a lot of misinformation out there;  some surgeons will publish ‘before and after’ ads where the subject is shot in different lighting, with make-up, in different clothes, some even use professional models to promote their work.  This is highly unethical.  By establishing uniformity between shots, Dr Taylor can show the patient how effective their work has been, and use this as a guide for prospective patients.

All of Dr Taylor’s patients receive a copy of their before and after photos to add to their own personal medical record.  Patients may give permission for Dr Taylor to use these photos for consultation, promotional or medical presentations. 

Privacy in this industry is vital.  The decision to undertake any form of elective surgery is personal and at CAPS we completely understand you may want to keep this part of your life quiet.  Dr Taylor and The CAPS Clinic team practice the highest possible standard of patient care and you can be assured we place a high priority on patient confidentiality.

Sole’vita surgery has been established for our patients as an alternative to large private hospitals.  Our staff will respect your decision to have surgery and treat you with the same level of compassion as any pre or post-operative patient.

The CAPS Clinic’s privacy policy ensures patients and clients providing personal information to the clinic are protected and all information including any personal or medical treatments remain confidential within the scope of the provision of patient care.

Sometimes: Cosmetic surgery does not attract a medicare rebate and therefore generally the health fund won’t cover anything either. However, there are a number of procedures I perform which are perceived to be cosmetic but can attract a Medicare rebate, this would include things like Breast Reduction, Abdominoplasty, Rhinoplasty, Body-lifting. These procedures fall under the Plastic and Reconstructive area of surgery and are covered but there are things you need to be sure of.

Firstly – I must have clinical evidence to justify to Medicare the use of the item number.

Secondly – You must have appropriate health fund coverage to be eligible for claiming on Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The item number for a breast reduction is 45520 and as women generally require surgery on both breasts this item number is times two. The Australian government determine the value of the rebate and set this figure as the ‘schedule fee’. The rebate on 45520 (the item number for a breast reduction) is roughly $900. The way the schedule works is the second item (claimed on a surgery which takes place at the same time as the first item number), will only attract 50% of the schedule fee. So for a breast reduction where the breasts are operated on bilaterally, the rebate is $900 for the first breast and only $450.00 for the second breast. The total schedule fee for this surgery is $1350. The schedule fee is rebated to the patient in a 75%-25% split where medicare pay the 75% and the health fund pay the remaining 25%.

If your surgical fee is $8000 your rebate is $1350 this leaves you with a ‘gap’ (out of pocket) payment of $6,650.00.

The same equation is used for anaesthetists.

So you may ask why be in a health fund?

Unlike Medicare the health fund pay for the theatre and hospital accommodation and this can be a significant saving to you. In the case of breast reduction the theatre can be anything from $2,000 to $2,700 and the hospital accommodation (i.e. overnight stay) ranges anywhere from $800 to $1000 per night.

Some surgeons may offer different accommodation like a Step-down facility or Medi-hotel. These may or may not be covered by the health fund and patients should confirm all expected out of pocket fees prior to surgery.

Although it may be more marginally more expensive there is no comparison to a fully staffed and accredited hospital when you are recovering from any form of surgery.