If you’ve been exploring plastic surgery options or if you’re investigating them for the first time, you probably have a number of questions. To help you make a sound decision that is right for you, we’ve assembled brief answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Of course, if you have additional questions, we’ll be glad to answer those as well, either over the phone, via e-mail or in-person. Please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can best help you obtain the answers you need.

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

The short answer is as much information as you can gather in order to make a well-informed decision that’s right for you. Specific to plastic surgery, though, there are a couple of things to think about as you determine whether plastic surgery is an option for you: expectations and risk.

Expectations – Very often, plastic surgery can enhance your appearance and boost your self-confidence. But it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause others to treat you differently. Take some time and think carefully about your expectations… understanding that the circumstances and experience of every individual will be unique. Once you have made the decision to move forward, be sure to discuss your expectations in detail with Dr. Epstein, who can best help you understand the particular procedure you’re interested in and the results you can reasonably expect from it.

Uncertainty and Risk – All surgery carries some degree of uncertainty and risk, including the possibility of infection, bleeding, blood clots and adverse reactions to the anesthesia. However, when performed by a qualified, board certified plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Epstein and Dr. Gutowski, complications will naturally be less frequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, you can reduce your risks by closely following Dr. Epstein’s and Dr. Gutowski’s advice, both before and after surgery.

What’s the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is performed in order to reshape normal structures of the body. The goal of such a procedure is to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem. Most often, it is not covered by health insurance, as it’s an elective procedure.

Reconstructive Surgery is performed to correct abnormal structures of the body, caused by birth defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, injury, infections, tumors or disease. It is most often done to improve functionability, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. Unlike cosmetic surgery, it is typically covered by most health insurance policies, although coverage levels will, of course, vary.

How can I best prepare for surgery?

As you meet with our team prior to surgery, we’ll give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure, including guidelines on:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications
  • How to wash the area of your body to be operated on

Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. In addition, Dr. Epstein and his staff will be available to answer any questions you might have or any concerns that arise. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What can I expect after surgery?

In the first few weeks after surgery, you’ll see Dr. Epstein for follow-up visits (which will taper off in frequency over time) in order to check on the progress of your healing. Meanwhile, it’s important for you to keep in mind that healing, of any form, is a gradual process.

During the initial phases of recovery, you’ll experience some pain and discomfort along with swelling and bruising around the operative areas. This is normal. You’ll be given medications to handle the pain, and in time, the swelling and bruising will disappear. It’s also not unusual to feel depressed in the days or weeks following surgery. Again, keep in mind that this is normal and will subside as you begin to look and feel better.

Of course, if you have any unusual symptoms between visits, or questions about your recovery, don’t hesitate to call us. While some questions will need to be handled with a one-on-one visit with Dr. Epstein, most often he can be properly addressed through a brief telephone call.

How safe is plastic surgery?

Although thousands of people have plastic surgery every year without complications, no surgical procedure is completely risk-free. Frankly, there is always risk associated with any surgical procedure. However, as a patient, you can play an important role in reducing that risk by ensuring the following:

Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon, one who’s accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). In addition, that surgeon should, at minimum, also be a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). It’s even better if he/she is also a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). While such excellent credentials can’t guarantee a successful outcome, they do significantly increase the likelihood of it.

Make sure that the facility conforms to strict safety standards, such as those of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF), or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Studies have shown that plastic surgery procedures performed in accredited surgical facilities by board certified surgeons, like Dr. Epstein, have an excellent safety record.

Inform your doctor of any drugs you’re taking and your full medical history, so that he/she can properly evaluate your medical condition and prepare for any potential complications, especially those related to blood clotting.

Make sure you’ll receive proper anesthesia care, by verifying that the facility will use skilled, licensed personnel who will individually monitor you before, during and after the procedure.

In relation to these guidelines, Dr. Epstein is proud to be accredited by ABPS (and member of both ASPS and ASAPS), has licensed, professional anesthesiologists on staff, and performs surgery in an accredited surgical facility, ensuring that you receive the safest care possible… the kind of expert care and attention that you deserve.

Where can my surgery be performed?

In almost all cases, Dr. Epstein will perform surgery at our fully accredited surgical facility Northbrook Plastic Surgery, located within our office suites. Dr. Epstein also enjoys operating privileges at many Chicago-area hospitals. Whether you choose to have your procedure done in the peaceful seclusion of our state-of-the-art facility or in an area hospital, rest assured that you’ll receive the finest care available.

How can I pay for my surgery?

Because surgery itself is taxing enough, we want to make your payment method as stress-free as we can. That’s why we offer a variety of ways to pay including pre-authorized insurance coverage, financing and cash/check/credit card options.

In the case of insurance coverage, you simply need to contact your insurance carrier and have them pre-authorize your procedure. From there, we’ll work with them to arrange payment, billing you directly for the balance, if any.

In the case of financing, we offer a number of different options to help you spread payments out over a number of installments, with a small finance fee. If you’d like more information on financing options, please contact Jill, our patient care coordinator, at 847-205-1680.

Finally, you can always pay by cash, personal check or a major credit card — VISA or MasterCard, whichever is most convenient for you.

Will my insurance cover the expense of plastic surgery?

Most insurance policies do not cover the costs of purely cosmetic surgery. However, if the procedure is performed for reconstructive purposes, either to correct a health-related problem or a marked deformity following injury, the procedure may be covered. In any case, it’s best to check with your insurer/provider and obtain pre-authorization for your surgery.