Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Plastic Surgery
Here are the questions most often asked by our prospective patients – they are general information & rough guidelines only and are subject to change. Not all answers may apply too all cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery patients.
If you’d like to get our FREE DOWNLOADABLE Guides to cosmetic surgery procedures performed by FRACS qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons, some of the most highly trained surgeons with extensive experience, simply send an enquiry form below requesting the downloadable EBOOKS or phone us on (03) 8849 1444 during Clinic Hours.
It’s important that you see a Specialist Plastic Surgeon from our team in person to know what surgery techniques suit your particular situation. It’s also important to know that results can vary from patient to patient, and that what you are starting with has an impact on the attainable results.
Each patient is different and you will be given specific and detailed personal advice and instructions during your consultation.
If you have any other questions, please contact us or call us to discuss them at your convenience.
FAQs about CONSULTATIONS
What is the waiting time for a consult with a Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne?
- Our plastic surgeons are always busy.
- However, with clever management of their diaries, we can usually get you a surgery consultation within 5 to 10 working days.
Are you keen to progress and know your ideal cosmetic surgery date?
Last minute consultations are often available as some patients may need to reschedule at short notice. Sometimes surgery can also be arranged in a short period of time after the required waiting period, but it’s always better to plan for your surgery so that you can arrange time off from your normal activities to recover and heal properly.
Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Consultation fees (as of June 2017).
Your initial Consultation fee with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon is usually $200 ($350 for Body Lift/Multiple Procedures).
This needs to be paid in advance to secure your consultation date. We have online payment methods if necessary.
Please make sure you specify for an appointment at either the Hawthorn or Berwick or Williamstown clinics. Each of our Surgeons consults in a specific location, sometimes two locations, so if you choose a particular surgeon you may need to attend at that Surgeon’s clinic. If you are more concerned with how close the consultation location is, rest assured that ALL of our Surgeons at our three locations are experienced in their specialty areas of surgery, with decades of expertise and quality, long lasting results. They are artisans who take into consideration each individual physique or facial anatomy to get you the best possible results to suit your body or face and to help you balance out any appearance concerns or reshape and refine your appearance to suit your preferences.
We strongly recommended you bring a supportive friend or relative along to your
consultation to help you think about all the information and discuss your surgical options.
Initial consultations may also be available after-hours and on Saturday mornings — please ask our Patient Care Coordinator.
Please call us on (03) 8849 1444 or contact us using the contact form to arrange a convenient time for your consultation.
What is the fee for a Plastic Surgery Consultation?
Is the consultation fee deducted from the Surgery cost?
The cost for an initial consultation with a Specialist Surgeon is typically $200 which must be paid when booking your consult time. Some of your consultation fee may be claimable through Medicare if you bring a referral from your GP. If you don’t want the Medicare rebate (about $70), you don’t need to bring a GP Referral. It is not necessary.
If you prefer, we can also offer complimentary consultation with a Nurse or Patient Care Coordinator to discuss the range of procedures we offer and suggest a Surgeon to suit you.
You are also most welcome to attend one of our regular practice events to meet our surgeons and our staff, and hear from past patients. See the Events page for upcoming events.
Please call us or contact us using the contact form to arrange a convenient time for your consultation.
The consultation fee is typically separate to surgery but includes TWO consultations for the price of one, and if you have a Medicare card and a GP referral to one of our Specialists, you’ll usually get a partial fee rebate. Why two consultations? (1) if you progress with surgery, a second consultation is usually needed for customisation and planning purposes, as well as to review the surgery details, schedules, risks and consent forms and photographs. (2) if you for any reason do not want to proceed with the Surgeon you met with on your first consultation, we offer you the chance to meet with another of our leading team of Specialist Plastic Surgeons to discuss your original request of a certain procedure. This gives you flexibility, as whilst all of our Cosmetic, Reconstructive and Plastic Surgeons are top surgeons in their areas of expertise, each has a bit of a different personality and style of communication.
It’s best if you feel 100% comfortable with your choice of Plastic Surgeon.
So we’re happy to offer a second consultation with another surgeon if you’re feeling very uncertain about comfort with the personality or communication style. That noted, all of our Surgeons pride themselves on patient education and on being honest, caring communications that respect patient dignity at all times.
So we think that you’ll find our Plastic Surgeons a great choice, no matter which of our leading Specialists you choose.
What can I expect at my Initial Consultation with my Surgeon?
At your initial appointment with your surgeon you will typically:
- Spend time with your surgeon and nurse/patient coordinator
- Have your photos taken
- Have a physical examination by the surgeon
- See photos of past patient results
- Find out more about your recommended surgical options
- Receive detailed information about your surgery
- Go through the possible complications and risks of surgery
- Begin 3D modelling and sizing options (for some procedures)
- Find out about surgery pricing and available dates
- Ask any other questions you may have
Please allow up to 1.5 hours for your initial appointment
Our surgeons believe it’s very important to establish a strong relationship with you prior to any surgery. You will spend time with both your surgeon and patient care coordinator/nurse at your first consultation appointment.
We strongly recommended you bring a supportive friend or relative along to your consultation to help you think about all the information and discuss your surgical options.
Please call us on (03) 8849 1444 or contact us using the contact form to arrange a convenient time for your consultation.
We apologise in advance if our Surgeon is running slightly behind schedule on the day you attend. They usually run on time, but occasionally – working in health care – there may be a lag or a slight delay. We have a beautiful, relaxing reception area and FREE coffee and chocolates, so simply allow an extra bit of time just in case.
Remember, however, that parking on the street is a 2 hour parking (FREE) before you’ll want to move yoru car. Parking on site in our parking lot is unlimited so long as you’re attending our Clinic at the time.
Do I need a GP (or specialist) Referral to make an appointment?
You do not need to have a medical referral (from a GP or specialist) to book a consultation (Item number 104 consultation) with one of our surgeons, however we do recommend it as having a referral can allow you to claim a small rebate (around $70) on the cost of your first consultation back from Medicare.
Please note that a GP referral has a validity of 12 months before expiring and a specialist referral only has a 3 month validity.
Is Vectra 3D imaging used during consultations to show options?
Yes, we can use Canfield Vectra 3D imaging during consultations to show you a range of possible outcomes after your procedure.
In addition, for breast implant surgery patients, we show you different breast implants and you can try on a range of sizers to get a feel for your results.
We also use the Canfield Facial Camera and imaging system to demonstrate facial surgery results.
FAQs about Our Team of Plastic Surgeons
We have a team of FIVE highly experienced Plastic Surgeons. Each is fully-qualified and performs primary surgery procedures in accredited hospitals (NOT in back rooms or Day Surgery centres), and uses experienced support staff including anaesthetist.
Dr Craig Rubinstein, Dr Doug McManamny, Dr Geoff Barnett, Dr Rebecca Wyten, Dr Richard Sackelariou and Dr Richard Maxwell and Dr Benjamin Burt are all specialists in their fields of plastic surgery or Ocuplastic Surgery and fully customise every procedure for each individual patient. You can read more about each surgeon on Our Surgeons pages.
We also recommend reading the “Why Us” section. You can also call one of our Patient Care Coordinators on (03) 8849 1444 or schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Nurses before booking your Surgeon consult or attend one of our practice events to meet our Team and learn more about your procedure.
Why choose us?
Changing Confidence, Changing Lives
We change lives!
Our surgeons are on a mission to help people improve their lives and to make a real difference for individuals, communities and the medical profession.
Our Practice makes a positive difference to people’s lives:
- building confidence
- enhancing self-esteem
- reducing pain and discomfort
We help our patients – both younger and mature patients – with transformative changes or restorative changes that really make a difference to your life. Feeling great about yourself and your appearance may help you get a better partner, career or lifestyle.
FAQs about SURGERY (General)
Current waiting time for surgery
Our plastic surgeons are always busy and do occasionally take holidays, however, with clever management of their surgical lists and good relationships with our hospitals, we can often acquire additional surgical lists to meet patient demand in busy times.
We hear there is nothing worse than having to wait more than 3 months for Surgery when you are ready now.
If you are eligible and would like to be on our special “Stand-by list” for surgery ASAP, please let us know.
Current Surgery WAITING TIMES By Surgeon
We work hard to accommodate special date requests for most patients and minimize surgical and consult wait times.
There are mandatory wait times, however, so if you have a specific date in mind, please get in touch with us as soon as possible to help you schedule your Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery to best meet your scheduling preferences.
Surgery wait times can vary depending on the time of year and other factors including the type of surgery you are wanting and whether their is preparation required for your procedure.
Stand-by surgery times can also be available at short notice, as occasionally patients need to reschedule for personal reasons (e.g. due to illness) – please ask.
PLEASE NOTE: There is also a mandatory cooling off period for some procedures and insured patients may need to seek permission from insurance fund or medicare for some procedures.
If you are NOT insured and are payment methods your own surgery – you could have surgery now – please enquire about “Stand by” surgery lists and prices.
How much does the surgical procedure cost?
We can offer you a price range for different procedures depending on your chosen plastic surgeon, hospital and how long you want to stay in the hospital.
At the time of your consultation you will be given a detailed quote for your procedure. This will include the surgeon’s fee, anaesthetist fee, surgical assistant fee and the hospital fees. We can also provide you with an approximate out of pocket expense over the telephone.
Please call our friendly team today to find out more or visit our Payment methods pages for payment information.
Where do your surgeries do surgeries?
To ensure safety and excellent care from fully-qualified staff, all our major procedures are performed at accredited Hospitals.
St. Vincent’s Private Hospital Kew (Dr Rubinstein & Dr McManamny)
Epworth Hospital East Melbourne – Cliveden (Dr Rubinstein & Dr Burt)
Epworth Hospital Hawthorn (Dr Barnett)
Masada Private Hospital Caulfield (Dr McManamny)
Peninsula Private Frankston (Our Specialist Team of Surgeons)
All these facilities are fully accredited hospitals and each charges different theatre and overnight fees – so your procedure costs will vary by hospital chosen and length of stay.
Smaller medical procedures like minor surgical revisions, removal of skin cancers or lesions, some hand surgery and upper eye surgery can be performed under local anaesthesia in our treatment rooms at Berwick and Hawthorn.
Each surgeon has a very small, select group of anaesthetists for their procedures. These anaesthetists have been with our surgeons for up to two decades, making them experts in Plastic Surgery Anaesthesia. This results in a shorter anaesthetic with minimal chance of post-operative complications and better post-operative pain management. Where indicated, our anaesthetists organise for Patient Controlled Analgesia devices to be implemented, for efficient post-operative pain management in the ward.
All Anaesthetists are fully qualified and experienced in working in accredited hospitals.
• Dr Andrew Rubinfeld
• Dr Paul Rozental
• Dr Manash Patel
• Dr Maurice Amir
• Dr Allison Lilley
• Dr Alain Aronowicz
• Dr James Mitchell
• Dr Emily Dickson
• Dr Keng Low
Is my plastic surgery covered by Medicare or private insurance?
Sadly, most cosmetic plastic procedures are NOT covered by medicare and many Health Insurance Companies are reducing their coverage of many plastic surgery procedures.
If your procedure has a Medicare item code (usually for a Medical Reason rather than a Cosmetic reason), then you are likely to get approval for a Medicare rebate, e.g.:
- Breast Lift /Mastopexy (Item 45558 only if one of your children is aged >1 and <7)
- Breast Reduction (Item 45520)
- Removal of implants (Item 45551)
- Breast Implant Exchange and Capsulectomy (Item 45554)
- Male Breast Reduction (Item 31527)
- Inverted Nipple Surgery (Item 31563)
- Otoplasty / Ear Surgery (Item 45569)
- Upper Arm lift / Brachioplasty (Item 30171)
- Blepharoplasty -Vision obscured (Item 45617)
- Abdominoplasty due to weight loss (Item 30177)
Please Note: you are unlikely to get any subsidies, refunds or medicare rebates for
- Abdominoplasty (Medicare code recently deleted)
- Blepharoplasty – Cosmetic
- Breast Augmentation
- Butt lift
- Face lift
- Neck Lift
Your own super fund may be able to help pay for your surgery on “compassionate grounds” – please see information on our payment methods page.
Always check with your Health insurer before organizing surgery to ensure that you are covered and that there are no exclusions written in the fine print of your policy.
Our team can help you assess if your procedure is likely to get a Medicare rebate.
FAQs about RECOVERY
How many nights should I spend in hospital?
Your stay in hospital depends on how quickly you can recover which varies from patient to patient.
- For breast augmentation patients, we recommend an overnight stay in hospital
- For breast reduction patients we advise a 1 to 2 night stay
- For tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) patients we advise a 2 to 3 nights
At the time of your consultation your surgeon will discuss the length of your hospital stay and explain why a longer stay may be required for certain procedures or patients.
How much time will I need to be off work after surgery?
Each patient is different so your time off work will vary due to your speed of recovery, your level of bruising and pain and also on the type of work that you do.
Smokers and obese patients generally take longer to recover and have a poorer final result.
- For breast augmentation patients we recommend 1-2 weeks off work
- For breast reduction we suggest 1-2 weeks off work
- For abdominoplasty or major body surgery around 3-4 weeks off work. (longer if your tummy muscles have split due to pregnancy or obesity)
- For nose and facial surgeries, depending on your swelling and bruising, your “social downtime” can be around 2-3 weeks
Your time off work really depends on the activity level in the type of work you do – for breast surgeries this can be 2 weeks for an office/desk job, 3 weeks for an ‘on your feet’ shop job or 4+ weeks for an active job.
It is often up to you to decide when you are ready to return to work.
Some General Guidelines to Estimating your Time off work
- We advise that you do NOT drive or operate heavy equipment for a minimum of one week after having surgery with a general Anaesthetic; ask your Surgeon for specifics in relation to your procedure.
- There is always a small risk of having a surgical complication and your return to work being delayed.
- We can provide a confidential Medical Certificate for time off work.
When can I start exercising after my procedure?
We encourage leisurely walking and light duties following your procedure. At the time of your consultation, we will discuss the type of exercise that you would like to do and how soon you can return to the activity.
For fitness enthusiasts, this may mean 10-12 weeks before heavy gym exercise like weights, bouncing or running, sometimes longer.
GENERAL FAQs for Considering Surgery
Are your surgeons Cosmetic Surgeons or Plastic Surgeons? What’s the difference?
All of our six surgeons are qualified Plastic Surgeons – this is NOT the same as Cosmetic Surgeons. Our team of surgeons specialise in different areas of cosmetic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery and have decades of experience and training.
The difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon is significant.
Anyone with an MBBS qualification (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) can call themselves a ‘cosmetic surgeon,’ however they have not had the minimum 12 years of rigorous training that is required to become a Plastic Surgeon and most are not accredited to operate in leading hospitals (that’s why they operate in their backroom clinic or in day surgeries).
Some people calling themselves ‘cosmetic surgeons’ actually trained as dentists or dermatologists (Skin doctors).
Membership of RACS (Royal Australian College of Surgeons) means you are surgeon but you could be a Maxillofacial surgeon or ENT surgeon and may not have much expertise in Plastic Surgery.
Please choose a quality Plastic Surgeon that is accredited by a recognised association – look for membership of ASPS, ASAPS or ISAPS as a minimum qualification for your surgeon. These members are regarded as highly trained specialists in their field.
Is there a Minimum Age for Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery?
We prefer a minimum age of 18 years, although some younger patients can be operated on for corrective or reconstructive purposes. We are well aware of the difficult life faced by teenagers that are not considered to have “normal looks” by their peers – especially the consequences of being bullied at school.
You are welcome to bring in your daughter or son for a talk about their future possibilities.
What is the Maximum Age for Plastic Surgery?
Many patients in their 50’s and 60’s ask whether they are too old for Plastic Surgery. The general answer is you are NOT too old for surgery if you are in good health, and we see many patients of different ages transforming their lives with face, body and breast surgery.
We have had plastic surgery patients as old as 80. You’re never too old to look your best!
FAQs about Planning your SURGERY
Should I have my surgeries separately or combined?
There are both advantages and disadvantages for combining your plastic surgeries. One big advantage is the saving of money, time and recovery downtime.
We offer a discount on any second or third procedure done at the same time as the first procedure while in hospital. Your hospital fees and anaesthetist fees will also be less if you combine your procedures.
Many significant weight loss patients could have combined operations – like upper and lower body lifts including circumferential abdominoplasty, breast reduction, arm and thigh lift – even a facelift or nose job. The downside is the real risk and recovery time from such a large combined operation – especially in a previously obese patient.
One of our advantages in having a team of specialist plastic surgeons is that they can work together at the same time to perform different plastic surgery procedures. For example you could have face, body and breast work done in combination. This speeds up the operation, lowering risk, reducing your time under general anaesthetic and gets a better outcome.
Many patients combine procedures for a “makeover” effect
- Combining Breast and Tummy procedures (a mummy makeover)
- Add extra Liposuction for better results (remove stubborn fat pockets)
- Face and Body surgery can also be done a the same time
Depending on your overall health, ability to recover or for a better aesthetic result, your surgeon may ask you to do your surgeries separately – in a staged procedure. This can cost more but is done to reduce risks, reduce chance of infection and get a better final result.
What are the possible side effects, complications and risks of the surgery?
Surgery is serious business and there are complications. All our surgeons are experienced plastic surgeons and will explain in detail ALL the risks and complications related to your surgery. You will be fully informed and consented prior to undertaking any surgery.
We always say “The best time to get surgery right is the first time.”
What is your surgery success rate (Surgical Complications Statistics)?
It is ironic that many surgeons who claim to have low complication rates never actually see their own patients with the surgical complication – their patients go elsewhere for revision surgery to get it fixed.
Our highly-experienced group of Plastic Surgeons do revision surgeries and attract unhappy patients from all over the country.
Other surgeons really know which surgeons do the best work.
There are published plastic surgery industry statistics for rates of infection and complications like Hematoma and Seroma. You will be informed about your risks during your consultation and you will be asked to sign a consent form.
Rest assured that we do everything possible to reduce infection and complication rates.
What are the busy and best times of the year to have surgery?
- February and November are the quietest months for surgery.
- Around the start of all school holidays is the busy time. Many patients choose to have surgery pre and post Xmas day to recover during the Summer Holidays. Others choose Easter Holiday breaks, mid year breaks or September School Holidays.
- Surgery while the kids are at school can reduce disruption to the family.
- Some patients choose Winter months as a good time to have plastic surgery because you can hibernate and recover at home.
FAQs about Post-pregnancy Breast Surgery, Tummy Tuck or “Mummy Makeover”
How long should I wait after pregnancy before having a Tummy Tuck surgery?
We recommend waiting one year (12 months) after childbirth before having tummy surgery.
You are however most welcome to come in for a consultation at any time to plan for your upcoming surgery. Early consultations can be very beneficial to help you prepare your body for the best surgery outcomes as well as plan your recovery time – contact us to schedule a consultation.
How long should I wait after finishing breastfeeding before having Breast Surgery?
We recommend waiting several months after you’ve finished breastfeeding your last child before having breast surgery – typically a minimum of three months after breastfeeding finishes.
FAQs about BREAST SURGERY
Do I really need a breast lift as well (I already know I want implants)?
This is a common question asked by patients trying to solve the problem of saggy breasts by having a standard breast augmentation with implants but don’t want surgical scars associated with a breast lift.
If you have significantly ptotic breasts (See our chart here and do the test for ptotic breasts here) you really have a choice of either a breast lift surgery (mastopexy) or a breast augmentation with a breast lift (masto-augmentation or BAM). Our top breast surgeons are renowned for their breast lift operations and use the latest techniques to get the best results. The Masto-Augmentation procedure is a particularly challenging operation to get right and really needs the skill of an experienced breast plastic surgeon.
Please don’t get just breast implants (or really large breast implants) to try to solve your problem of ptotic, saggy or droopy breasts. You probably need a breast lift and it’s a much more complex operation that needs to be done by an experienced plastic surgeon.
Can I have Breast Reduction surgery again?
For patients that have already had breast reduction surgery at a younger age (primary breast surgery), you can have another breast reduction or breast revision surgery (Called secondary breast surgery) but there are some added risks. Please contact us.
Will my breast surgery affect breastfeeding later in life?
The answer depends on exactly what type of breast surgery. For safety and better results, it is best to avoid surgery using incisions around the nipple areola complex and avoid having “above the muscle” implant placement. You should also choose an experienced plastic surgeon – not a underqualified ‘cosmetic surgeon’ or physician.
We generally recommend either “below the muscle” implants and making incisions under the breast for best results if you are going to breastfeed children later in life or want the lowest chance of loss of nipple sensation.
Want to know more or book your consultation?
Submit a question or phone our caring Patient Care Coordinator on (03) 8849 1444.
What’s next? How do I begin my Surgical Journey?
Support for Interstate or International Patients
If you live outside of Melbourne, Australia, contact us OR visit our INTERSTATE & OVERSEAS SURGERY PATIENT page to find out how we can help you.
NEXT STEPS on your Surgical Journey
Visit our FAQs pages, learn more about your procedure, have a look at our photo galleries.
How to Book your Initial Consultation
- Email us or Call on (03) 8849 1444 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
- A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
- Schedule a confidential consultation with your selected Specialist Surgeon by paying the $200 booking fee.
What to Bring to your Surgeon Consultation
- Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
- Take lots of notes and read the documents provided thoroughly
- You may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
Want more information before scheduling your Surgeon consultation?
- Request more information about the procedure – call or contact us
- Book a Complimentary Nurse Consultation (FREE)
- Organise a phone call with Patient Coordinator (FREE)
- Attend our Regular Practice Events and hear from our of Specialist Surgeons and their top support team (FREE)
- Organise a Skype call consultation with a Surgeon (available for Interstate patients)
- Speak with a past patient that has had the procedure – call or contact us
- Browse our Frequently Asked Questions including including how to choose a Surgeon for your procedure
Please contact us using this form to arrange to book a consultation with one of our expert Specialist Plastic Surgeons or to speak with our Patient Care Coordinator.
Send a Confidential enquiry form today to request additional information or to arrange for an appointment with one of our leading Plastic Surgeons in Melbourne or Sydney.
If during clinic hours, you can also phone (03) 8849 1444 and ask for a Patient Care Coordinator.