What should I consider before making a decision to have surgery?

Most patients put more focus on the desired outcome of a plastic surgery procedure than the surgical process. It is very important to first and foremost establish a relationship with your doctor and ascertain his qualifications. This is becoming more difficult in the internet age of sophisticated marketing that very often does not address true qualifications and experience.

Your plastic surgeon should be certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgeons, the only board that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify physicians in the areas of plastic surgery of the face and the entire body. He should have earned a membership in the American Society of Aesthetic Surgeons because of extensive cosmetic surgery experience and superior results. The facility that your plastic surgeon operates from should be fully accredited and conform to strict safety standards. Your surgeon should have hospital privileges to perform the same procedures that are performed in an outpatient surgical setting. All personnel should be certified in their specialty and board-certified anesthesiologists should be utilized. Your plastic surgeon should consult with you directly, answer your questions when you need to reach him and provide your postoperative care personally. The office staff should maintain a standard of professionalism and gladly schedule you for an appointment should a postoperative concern arise.


Is there a “right” age to pursue plastic surgery?

There is no definitive rule addressing the “right” age for plastic surgery. Although different procedures will provide benefits at greatly varying ages, there are age tendencies for certain procedures. A young child will benefit from an otoplasty to correct an ear deformity while a young mother’s body image may be greatly improved from a mommy makeover. A young person may not see much benefit from a standard facelift or eyelid lift but a young woman with congenital eyelid hooding and softening of her face, will see a dramatically refreshed appearance with a mini-lift and upper lid blepharoplasty. A nose that does not fit a young man’s face may be corrected in early adulthood and change his vision of his own face positively for many years. A woman in her 40’s or 50’s that does not think her face matches her true personality anymore, after a facelift may once again see herself as revitalized, matching her youthful lifestyle. All surgical procedures are individually determined for appropriate candidates based on your unique aging changes and body issues for which you desire surgical correction.


Can I have several plastic surgery procedures performed simultaneously?

Yes, it is quite common for more than one procedure to be performed at once. This often allows Dr. Hand to better sculpt your appearance. During consultation, you and Dr. Hand will decide on a desired surgical plan that will be based on patient safety, surgical time required and patient finances. When planning your plastic surgery, Dr. Hand will consider your age/health, the procedures being done and the time required to complete each procedure. Often, when multiple procedures are requested, they are staged on 2 separate days.


Is plastic surgery covered by insurance?

When the plastic surgery procedure is being performed for cosmetic reasons, insurance will not cover any portion of the fees. When the surgery is for reconstructive purposes, the procedure may be partially or fully covered.


Do you offer financing?

Yes, once you have had your consultation, Cheri, Dr. Hand’s patient coordinator can discuss cash, check or credit card options or help you submit an application to CareCredit® Financing. Should you decide to apply for financing, the process takes a very short time to complete and an answer regarding approval is received quickly. You may also be approved prior to your consultation at our office by CareCredit® with no obligation to undergo a surgical procedure. The direct connection to the site may be found on the financing page of our website.


Are there risks associated with cosmetic surgery?

With any surgical procedure, some degree of risk and potential for complications exist. In order to minimize potential problems, Dr. Hand will carefully review your medical history and current health before deciding if it is safe to proceed with surgery. He may require that medical clearance be given by your primary care physician or other specialist involved in previous treatment for medical conditions. It is very important that all pertinent information regarding your health history be disclosed so that Dr. Hand has a clear understanding of your health status, reducing the possibility of complications.


Can anyone have surgery at the outpatient surgical facility?

No, only people in good health may have their procedures performed at our accredited Marin County outpatient surgical facility. If you are in good health but have a documented health history which makes it advisable to have your procedure performed at the hospital, the surgery may be scheduled at Marin General Hospital. A favorable cosmetic surgery fee package with an optional 23 hour overnight stay is available.


Does Dr. Hand perform any non-surgical procedures?

Yes, Dr. Hand injects all of our dermal fillers such as Juvéderm, Restylane®, and Sculptra™. Dr. Hand also administers all laser treatments, Botox®, TCA and phenol skin peels. Our registered nurse Lisa performs minor skin freshening peels and dermaplaning for monthly skin rejuvenation. Facial products designed to assist in your skin transformation are available.


Will I see Dr. Hand again after my initial consultation for further questions?

Yes, all potential patients are encouraged to return for 2nd or even 3rd consults before scheduling surgery if there are more questions that need to be addressed. We encourage bringing a significant other if desired. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your surgical procedure, you will be seen for your preoperative visit. At that time, all remaining concerns will be addressed, a physical exam done, measurements for garments taken, postoperative medications prescribed, fees collected and lab tests will be ordered.


Are there any medications that I should avoid before surgery?

Yes, at your consultation you will be given a list of medications to avoid. All aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofen, etc.) should be discontinued 2 weeks prior to your surgery. The usage of Tylenol and a regular multivitamin are OK. Additional megadoses of vitamins and herbal supplements should be discontinued. Dr. Hand will review your regular medications at your consult and advise you of their impact on your surgery.


Will I be able to tolerate the pain post-operatively?

Although most patients tolerate pain differently, Dr. Hand understands the probable amount of discomfort that will occur and prescribes appropriate pain medications to greatly relieve most discomfort. All postoperative medications will be prescribed at the preoperative visit.


When can I resume smoking and alcohol intake?

Smoking should be discontinued for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery and 2 week post surgery. Cosmetic surgery results will always be better for those who choose to discontinue smoking permanently. Alcohol should be avoided for 1 week prior to surgery and 2 weeks post surgery.


Will I need help after my procedure?

It is recommended that you have a responsible family member or friend accompany you during the first day following surgery. Most of the time, you will just need a hand to help you to the restroom and to assist you with medications and nourishment. If this is not feasible, our office can help in making arrangements for a postoperative recovery facility for the first 24 hours or longer for an additional fee. If you feel that additional professional health care will be required, we can refer you to an outpatient care facility that will pick you up, care for you and return you to our office the following day.


How long will I be away from work?

Immediately following surgery, it is mandatory that you rest and limit movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Patients that are most compliant with our post-operative instructions usually have uneventful, speedy recoveries.

Most patients are able to return to work in 5 to 7 days following breast surgery or liposuction. For most facial procedures, sutures are removed between 4 and 10 days after the procedure. Although you may be feeling back to normal mentally, bruising and swelling usually is not totally resolved until 2 weeks post-surgery and may take up to 6 weeks. Postoperative facial makeup may be applied after the first week to hide bruising should you need to return to work sooner. Abdominoplasty and body lifts procedures always need at least 2 weeks recuperation if your job has no lifting requirements. If you have a physically strenuous job, 4 to 6 weeks may be necessary depending on the extent of the procedure. During your consultation, Dr. Hand will be able to discuss your expected recovery period and any post-operative instructions in detail.


What options are available for out of town patients?

Our office has several local motels located within minutes of our facility. Our office staff is happy to make lodging arrangements for you when you decide to have surgery.


How long do I need to stay in town after a procedure?

Dr. Hand recommends a postoperative visit at our office 1-2 days after surgery. Depending on what type of procedure has been performed, Dr. Hand generally recommends staying in the immediate area for 10 to 14 days prior to returning home.


Would Dr. Hand consider speaking to our group?

Yes, Dr. Hand truly enjoys teaching others about plastic surgery and interacting with our community. He is a fascinating speaker that presents current, relevant information regarding fact and fiction to a variety of groups. Women’s clubs in particular have especially enjoyed learning more about the latest advances in plastic surgery with talks tailored to their particular areas of interest.

Due to Dr. Hand’s busy schedule, he usually limits his speaking engagements to groups of 20 or more in the Marin County/North Bay area. If your group is interested in having Dr. Hand speak at one of your meetings, please contact us at 415-461-6742.