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What, if any, board certifications does the doctor have?
You will want a doctor who is board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Choose carefully. There are many doctors who are board certified by a similar institution or claim to be double or triple board certified. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) at 1-888-4-PLASTIC (1-888-475-2784) will provide you with names of doctors who are legitimate plastic surgeons with outstanding qualifications. You can also visit the ASPS web site at The ASPS is the only one of the 24 boards approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties that certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the face and all areas of the body.

To further evaluate a plastic surgeon’s credentials, you should ask about his training. Has the surgeon completed an accredited residency program specifically in plastic surgery? Such a program usually includes three years of intensive training in the full spectrum of reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. Typically, this residency is done upon completion of at least 3 years of general surgery training. Doctors must pass comprehensive oral and written exams to become board certified. Membership in ASPS also requires a plastic surgeon to regularly attend continuing medical education courses and to adhere to a strict code of ethics. Remember that a board certified doctor is not necessarily certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Again, we are board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

How long has the doctor been performing a procedure you are considering?
Experience is important. You will want to choose a doctor who has performed the procedure several times in order to perfect his technique. Over the past 30 years, we have performed thousands of cosmetic breast, liposuction, tummy tuck, nasal, eyelid, facial rejuvenation, body lift and reconstructive procedures, plus hundreds of other minor cosmetic procedures including laser skin rejuvenation, BOTOX®, and JUVÉDERM® Injectable Gel injections. See Dr. Hamacher and Dr. Bernsten’s biographies to learn more about their educational information.

If the procedure is to be done in an outpatient center is the facility accredited?
If a facility is accredited, it means there is strict adherence to safety, operational, management, and sterilization protocols. Ask your surgeon if a hospital has granted them privileges to perform this procedure at the hospital. Perhaps there is a reason this surgery is done in the office. Make sure you are in safe hands.

Does the office offer financing?
Can you pay by credit card? Which cards are accepted? Are there finance arrangements offered directly by the office? What about payment plans? Since many people cannot afford to pay for cosmetic procedures in one lump sum, these may be important questions to consider. For instance, our office offers you multiple financing options as well as accepting, cashier's checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express, as well as financing through CareCredit.

Who is a candidate for plastic surgery?
The best plastic surgery candidate is someone with realistic expectations and an understanding of the limitations set by medicine, technology, and each patient’s own body. Good candidates have a strong self-image and well-developed reasons for pursuing a plastic surgery procedure. They are looking for improvement of a physical trait, knowing that while this positive change may enhance their self-image, it will not change people’s perception of them. Dangerous motivations for plastic surgery would include gaining popularity or attempting to reverse recent life crises.

Why is it so important for my plastic surgeon to know detailed information about my personal and family health history, even if I am only having a simple cosmetic procedure?
There is always risk with any surgical procedure. However, as a patient, you can play an important role in reducing your risk by providing a full and complete health history to your surgeon. The more information Dr. Hamacher or Dr. Bernsten has about you, the more accurately he can assess your needs.

Certain elements of your personal or family health histories may increase your risk of complications. Dr. Hamacher or Dr. Bernsten will review your complete history prior to the surgery.

How can I be sure that the anesthesia care I receive in my plastic surgeon’s surgical facility is adequate?
Anesthesia care in an accredited facility has reached a level of sophistication that is absolutely comparable to the care received in the hospital.

All anesthesia will be administered by a qualified anesthesia provider. Dr. Bernsten and Dr. Hamacher perform cosmetic surgery with CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists).

Before any type of anesthesia is used, the surgeon and anesthesia provider must take a full medical history. Dr. Hamacher or Dr. Bernsten will also perform a physical examination and determine whether appropriate lab tests may need to be performed. Dr. Hamacher and Dr. Bernsten need to know if you have any serious medical problems or have had previous adverse reaction to any other type of anesthesia. Also, you must let the anesthesia provider know about any medications you are taking (including herbal supplements), any known drug allergies, when you last ate, and whether you smoke cigarettes, use alcohol, or use illegal drugs.

You should be assured that you will receive individual monitoring by skilled, licensed personnel before, during, and after the procedure. Staff who are familiar with the warning signs of cardiac or respiratory distress and are trained in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) will be on hand to monitor your procedure and the recovery following your surgery.

In an accredited facility, you will receive around-the-clock care and monitoring by two or more skilled and licensed staff members with at least one trained in ACLS. You will also be assured that the facility has the necessary equipment and medications to handle complications that may arise. An emergency plan is in place in case you would need to be transferred to the hospital.

Is plastic surgery safe?
All surgical procedures are accompanied by a certain degree of risk, whether the procedures are for medical or cosmetic reasons. Our expert team is dedicated to making your operation go smoothly. We carefully review your medical history and current health condition before deciding if it is safe for you to proceed with surgery. It is important that you fully disclose all pertinent information so that we are able to make an accurate assessment of the risks involved. We will take every precaution necessary to reduce the possibility of any complications.

Can I have several procedures performed simultaneously?
It is a relatively common practice for a plastic surgeon to perform multiple procedures during one operation. This allows the surgeon to better “sculpt” your final appearance. In addition, having several procedures done simultaneously saves you the expense of paying the operating room and anesthesia costs more than once. However, having too much done at one time can lead to complications. The decision to have multiple procedures done depends on which procedures are being done, the extent of surgery, the operating time, and your age/health. Ultimately, the surgeon decides whether or not it is appropriate to include more than one procedure in your operation.

What happens during my initial consultation?
All initial consultations are free. During your consultation we will discuss your desired changes and expectations, review your medical history and current health, and make an assessment as to whether the procedure(s) in question is right for you. This is a good time to ask specific questions about the procedure so that you are fully prepared, both mentally and emotionally, for surgery. We will discuss the results that can be achieved, and provide you a visual representation with the aid of photos and/or computer imaging.

How long will it take to recover from my surgery?
Generally, post-operative instructions call for rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. The length of recovery varies with each procedure and is different for each individual. Bruises usually disappear within a few days, and most swelling is gone in a matter of weeks. If you follow our post-operative instructions carefully, you will soon be able to enjoy your normal activities. Your incisions will fade over time, but are permanent. We take care to conceal any incisions so that they are barely visible, if at all. The image-enhancing effects of plastic surgery become more evident over time with certain procedures taking up to a year for your body to fully adjust and settle into its new look. When you come in for your consultation, we can discuss your expected recovery period and any post-operative instructions in detail.

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Madison Plastic Surgery
20 S. Park St. - Ste. 360 | Madison, WI 53715 | Phone: 608-257-2208 | Toll Free: 866-257-6772
Midwestern Skin Care & Laser Center | Phone: 608-257-2208
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