Patient Resources

Welcome to Patient Resources Page

This page contains useful information about Preparing for your surgery, Instructions after your surgery- Postoperative Instructions and How to achieve the best scar possible.

For those of you thinking about starting your journey with us, here are information about things to consider, the risks, the cost of procedures and why you should choose a Specialist Plastic Surgeon like Dr Leo Kim. If any questions, just ask us on Ask Us page and we will respond to you in a timely and confidential manner. 🙂

 

Thinking about a procedure?

Any surgical procedure is a serious business. It needs to be a carefully considered and a well discussed decision, and can come with amazing results that brings about a positive change in your life. Very rarely though it can also come with risks and unintended complications having the opposite effect. We will walk you through your journey, take more than enough time to discuss and tailor every individual treatment that is right for you because there is no shortcuts in proper care.

Here are some things to think about when you do your research- feel free to browse the detailed information under our Procedures.

  • Procedure- Is it right for me?
  • Complications- What can go wrong?
  • Surgeon- Who is right person to do this?
  • Timing- When should I do this?
  • Expected Down time- How long will I need off to recover?
  • Cost- How much does it cost?

Take your time, do your research and make a well informed decision. And simply, Ask Us. 🙂

Facts about Specialist Plastic Surgeon

What is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon?

A Specialist Plastic Surgeon is a Commonwealth Government accredited plastic surgeon, trained and qualified to perform invasive reconstructive and cosmetic surgery in public and private hospitals, and accredited day surgeries. In Australia, the national Medical Board states that the “Specialist Plastic Surgeon” title can only be used by FRACS approved specialist surgeons in the recognised specialty of plastic surgery.

Why should I choose a Specialist Plastic Surgeon?

Currently in Australia, it is legal for any doctor with a basic medical degree to perform surgery. Specialist Plastic Surgeons, on the other hand, have extensive surgical education and training including a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education, with at least 5 years of specialist postgraduate training. All surgical procedures carry risk, but you can reduce the chance of risk and complication by consulting a Specialist Plastic Surgeon who is trained, qualified and accredited to perform reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

How are Specialist Plastic Surgeons educated, trained and accredited?

Specialist Plastic Surgeons are accredited by the Commonwealth Governments of Australia and New Zealand, through the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and New Zealand Medical Council (NZMC) respectively, to perform all aspects of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. All Specialist Plastic Surgeons must undergo extensive medical education and training to become accredited. The surgical specialist pathway includes a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education, with at least 5 years of specialist postgraduate training. The five year postgraduate Surgical Education and Training Program (SET) for surgical registrars in reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery is provided by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and administered by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Inc (ASPS). It is important to note that RACS is the only College in Australia that is accredited by the Commonwealth Government to deliver specialist surgical training. Upon completion of their surgical education and training, qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons become “Fellows” of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS).

 

 

The Cost of Your Consultation and Surgery

The first non-cosmetic consultation is $200, with $110 for the subsequent consultations thereafter with appropriate referral from your GP which you can claim a portion back from Medicare.

The first cosmetic consultation is $250 (with no claimable portion from Medicare) however the second visit will not incur a consultation fee. Dr Kim will not perform any cosmetic operations without at least a second consultation in order to allow enough time to think and discuss all aspects of your care, to space out the minimum two visits so that we can assist you in achieving the best outcome possible.

You will be provided with an estimate of the cost of your surgery at the time of your consultation as part of our routine financial consent.

The cost of your surgery may vary depending on the nature of your surgery, your Medicare status and whether you have private health insurance and if so what operations are and what operations are not covered under your policy.

Note there are hundreds of different private health funds in Australia and continued changes in policies by the Medicare and private health insurance companies to exclude and no longer pay for certain operations can make it difficult to reliably estimate your out of pocket expenses.

We will work with you and your need for operations to provide you with transparent estimates and clear explanation prior to you making an informed and well considered decision so that you can confidently proceed with your procedure.

If you are experiencing financial hardship but are in need of necessary cancer surgery please discuss this with us because concessions can be made on a case by case basis.

Preparing for your surgery

Getting ready

Before Your Surgery

You will be contacted by the hospital to be given instructions on

  • Where to present on the day.
  • Time.
  • Fasting instructions.
  • Things to bring with you.

Some Dos.

  • Ask plenty of questions, there is no such thing as silly questions.
  • Take all your regular medications unless told to do so otherwise.
  • Think positive thoughts, bring partners and loved ones.
  • Having second thoughts? Tell us, we are here for you.
  • Tell us what kind of music you love- Dr Kim listens to music while he operates, it’s good for wound healing and good for the soul.

Some things to avoid.

  • Some big changes in your life? Do tell us and let’s take our time. We can easily make another day and we are here for you. No need to rush. 🙂
  • Stay away from the bad stuff, let’s get you healed the best we can.
    • No smoking for at least 6 weeks before your surgery- if you need help with that, we can point you in the right direction to your first step to freedom.
    • No excess alcohol leading up to the surgery day.

Let's look after you

After your surgery

If you went home on the day of the surgery,

  • You will be contacted by Dr Kim prior to your next visit to make sure you are doing okay.
  • Read and follow all the instructions on “After your operation- postoperative instructions” sheet.
  • The discomfort from surgery is usually the worst in the first day or so expect it. It should improve with time.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. 🙂

If you stayed overnight after the surgery,

  • As you’re waking up from your procedure, your partner, loved ones or closest of friends will be contacted by Dr Kim to let them know how well you did.
  • You will be seen by Dr Kim to check in on you again, and again.
  • You will feel worse before you feel better. And we will do our absolute best to get you feeling much much better soon.
  • If you’re worried, call us, any time. 🙂

After your operation- Postoperative Instructions

  • During the day and when you sleep-
    • Keep the wound elevated as much as you can, this will help to reduce swelling, which helps with wound healing.
    • Wounds in the leg is especially difficult to heal- keep them up at all times and avoid walking around and being upright.
  • Dressings
    • Leave dressings intact unless instructed otherwise.
    • Keep the wound dry unless instructed otherwise.
  • Bleeding/oozing
    • Some bleeding/oozing on the dressings is expected and normal, but if there is excessive bleeding or you continue to bleed call Dr Kim’s office or present to your nearest emergency department.
    • Apply firm pressure with your hand/fingers for 5-15 minutes on the site of bleeding- this should stop further excessive bleeding. Continue this pressure if it continues to bleed and call for help.
  • Bruising and Swelling
    • This is expected and part of normal healing process, it should improve in the next couple of weeks.
  • Avoid strenuous activities and no smoking.
  • Pain relief
    • It will be uncomfortable for the first day or so and this is normal, but the pain should get better rather than worse- if it continues to get worse call the office or present to your nearest emergency department.
    • Take 2 tablets of Paracetamol(or as directed by Dr Kim) after breakfast, lunch, dinner and before you sleep, this will keep base level of pain at bay.
    • Replace one or more of those doses with Panadeine Forte (or as directed by Dr Kim), 2 tablets as needed (only take panadeine forte if you need it, it can constipate you and make you feel drowsy). Remember panadeine forte is paracetamol PLUS codeine so do not take them together at the same time- take either 2 tablets of paracetamol OR 2 tablets of panadeine forte, not together.
  • Stitches
    • Dr Kim will advise you if and when they are to be removed.
  • Oral antibiotic tablets
    • Only take those if you are instructed by Dr Kim.
  • How do I know if there is an infection?
    • Some signs of infection are redness, swelling, wound feeling hot, yellow discharge from the wound and other general symptoms such as fever, chills and feeling unwell.
    • This is uncommon but can happen- call us if you’re worried.

 

If there is any concern, don’t hesitate to get in touch- we are here to make sure we get you healed and you are looked after.

How do I achieve the best scar possible?

Let’s achieve the Best Scar possible.

  • Things you can DO.
    • Healthy body, Healthy mind
      • Good, balanced nutrition, happy thoughts and exercise are vital in your recovery. No house work until you are recovered.
    • Apply SuncreenAs often as you can and as long as you can.
      • Put it on 4 times a day for at least 3 months, if not 6-12 months after your operation.
      • Scars can tan compared to the normal skin and this makes the scar more visible and it can be permanent.
      • Avoid the sun as much as you can, especially during and either side of lunch time.
    • Massage the scar- As often as you can and as long as you can.
      • Do this when you put sunscreen on.
      • Scars can contract and become lumpy- massaging is proven to help break this up and improve the texture and contour of the scar.
      • Frequently Asked Question- are vitamin E, Bio oil etc good for scars?
        • There is no evidence that these help with better scars, but it can’t hurt- the most important thing is massaging and massaging regularly as often as you can.
      • Silicone Dressings
        • It works by moisturising the scar and applying pressure, much like massaging.
        • It must be worn all the time for at least 6 weeks and beyond. This may be problematic depending on the location of your scar.
        • It can also be costly.
      • Things to AVOID
        • Stop smoking
          • Smoking can compromise wound healing and up to ten times higher rate of complications including infection, wound break down, poor scar healing.
          • The toxic chemicals in your system and poor local blood supply can lead to poor wound healing.
        • Excessive tension in the wound
          • Initial time required for wound to seal is 1-2 weeks
          • It takes 6 weeks for it to be relatively strong
          • Scar is said to be “mature” 6-12 months. This means the scar is still remodelling up to a year after the procedure.
          • Tension in the wound can lead to stretched scars.

 

  • Can anything be done about the scar later?
    • Yes, but these interventions and their timing must be tailored to your circumstance and undertaken only after medical specialist advice. Preventing poor scars is always better.

 

If there is a sudden change in your scar, see us quickly.

Dr Leo Kim

Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

Master of Surgery in Paediatric Burns Surgery, University of Sydney

Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Medicine, University of Sydney

Bachelor of Commerce (Axiss Scholarship), University of New South Wales

 

Postgraduate Fellow at the Children’s Hospital, Westmead

Visiting Medical Officer at The Skin Hospital (Darlinghurst and Westmead)

Visiting Medical Officer at Castlecrag Private Hospital

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