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SUMMARY:  Just like with every big decision we choose to make in our life, it all begins with preparation. If you are considering a facelift, be sure to include these 3 important steps as a part of your preparation.

The decision to have facial plastic surgery usually follows a defining moment. It could be as simple as looking in the mirror only to realize that the reflection looking back at you is not a face you know. Perhaps your face no longer reflects how young you actually feel, or maybe an unassuming comment from a stranger triggers an epiphany. No matter what the circumstances, the choice to start researching facelift surgery can be a confusing yet rewarding step. Here, I’ve compiled a few tips that can help you navigate the road to your refreshed face.

Familiarize Yourself With the Procedure

Do your homework and research anything and everything related to facelifts. Get familiarized with the procedure itself, in addition to the cost, recovery, and potential risks. Educating yourself ahead of time is a good way to ensure your expectations are realistic so you get the most out of your facial plastic surgery.

A helpful resource is the American Academy of Facial Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, where you can learn about this plastic surgery procedure in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. This site provides a lot of good information, including what to expect after the surgery and before-and-after photos.

Search for the Right Doctor

As a patient, it is very important for you to be proactive about making sure your surgeon is qualified. When you’re checking your surgeon’s credentials, make sure he or she is certified by a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, such as the American Board of Otolaryngology, which certifies many facial plastic surgeons.

Patients have many different choices when it comes to facial surgeons, even beyond the credential stage, which can make the process a little overwhelming. Make sure you find a surgeon who you are comfortable with — someone whom you can trust and easily communicate with. Also, take the time to visit sites like RealSelf.com, where actual patients provide ratings and reviews for many plastic surgeons. When it comes down to it, finding a qualified, dedicated surgeon is a much easier process if you do your homework.

Ask the Best Questions

The preoperative consultation is one of the most important and valuable steps in the plastic surgery process. This face-to-face time is critical, because it’s the perfect environment to discuss any concerns, ask any questions, and really get to know your physician and his or her practice philosophy. Consultations are a great opportunity to obtain valuable information from your doctor about your cosmetic surgery, so it’s always a good idea to have a list of questions ready.

Think of the consultation as more of an interview process: every patient will have different concerns and questions, and don’t be afraid to get the most out of the time with your doctor. Facelift surgery is one of the most customizable cosmetic procedures, so it’s worth it to take your time and find out exactly what your surgeon has in mind. Dr. J. Kevin Duplechain, one of the plastic surgeons performing facelift surgery  in the Lafayette, LA area, even suggests multiple consultations before ultimately deciding. ““Facelift surgery is often a difficult decision for many patients,” his website says. “I will often meet with the patient on two or sometimes three occasions to ensure their needs are met in the operating room.”

Remember, the idea of a consultation is to address 2 very important questions: Who the right plastic surgeon is and whether facelift surgery is the right fit for you. Doing your research beforehand and coming prepared is the best way to answer those questions for yourself so you can approach your surgery with confidence.

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