Frequently Asked Questions
Are you board certified and why is it important?
Appropriate board certification is a big deal. Do not be fooled by those who claim to be board certified and even “double boarded” as if this means they have more or better training. The ABMS or American Board of Medical Specialties is THE ultimate source of board certification and is the Gold Standard of certification authorities. Truth be told, people can group up together and make up their own “board” and call themselves “board certified”. Check the ABMS website to ensure that your surgeon is properly certified.
I am board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and I am a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS). Simply put, these are the best credentials in the business and allow consumers to know that their surgeon has been through the rigors and scrutiny of the very best medical certifying body in the world.
Be aware that there are physicians in your community who call themselves “plastic surgeons,” but do not have these credentials. There are many Ear Nose and Throat surgeons who call themselves plastic surgeons. There are even medical doctors and OBGYN practitioners who are less than truthful when presenting their credentials to perspective patients. Choosing your surgeon is the most important decision you will make when deciding to have plastic surgery – assume nothing. I encourage all prospective patients to do their homework on me and my practice as I feel very confident they will be impressed with my credentials and history of safety and results. I have no disciplinary actions taken by the Texas Medical Board or any other governing entity. I have never lost a patient nor have I transferred a patient to a hospital from my operative facility. Considering the advanced scope of my practice and my 3 decades of practice these facts speak for themselves and I couldn’t be more proud of this achievement.
Is Westlake Plastic Surgery related to Westlake Dermatology?
There is no relationship between these two medical practices. Westlake Plastic Surgery™ is a trademarked name owned by Dr. Robert Caridi. This is an exclusive plastic surgery practice that is 100% cosmetic surgery with its own in-house operative facility and full time dedicated staff.
Where will my procedure be performed?
The vast majority of my procedures are performed in my own fully accredited in-office operating facility. I also have privileges to perform surgery in most Austin area hospitals should the need arise. Most patients choose to have their procedures in the comfort and privacy of my office operating facility with my carefully chosen staff of medical professionals. Every case in my facility is managed with at least two highly certified and experienced doctors and two experienced nurses. When it comes to your safety, we deliver in ways most practices simply cannot match or choose not to because of the increased expense of experienced personnel and healthcare professionals. You do not want to compromise your health and safety for money. You get the best of both worlds at my operative facility – experienced and professional caregivers in a private and comfortable environment. My facility has an exceptional track record of safety. My facility is certified by AAAASF which is the preeminent certifying body for outpatient plastic surgery practices. We are reviewed and inspected every 3 years to ensure our compliance with current requirements.
Who will provide my anesthesia?
I am fortunate to have a full-time board certified anesthesiologist, Dr. James Wilson. I realize that many of my patients have concerns and experience anxiety about anesthesia. I believe in the comfort provided by anesthesia and have not seen a complication with it in my entire career. My philosophy is to surround my patients with the best medical practitioners in the business. Frankly, the benefits of appropriate anesthesia are important to your results, safety and the quality of your experience. I have not come across many patients who prefer pain over no pain. I have nothing but supreme confidence in Dr. Wilson. He takes care of my family members – enough said.
Do I need a caregiver after surgery?
Unless your case is minor and performed under local anesthesia, a caregiver is needed to care for you after surgery. My office is an outpatient facility. This means that all patients go home after treatment and recover at home usually with friends, family or professional caregivers. As we have many patients who travel from out of town it is not uncommon for them to use local caregivers. The reason why this is needed is because it is mandated by the credentialing body after a patient has received anesthesia. It would be like sending someone home when they are drunk. This may happen in the real world after a party but it cannot happen from the surgeon’s office! A caregiver is like a designated driver. Taking an Uber or Taxi back to the hotel is not an option. This is essential for your comfort, health, and safety following your procedure.
Is the Online Consultation as good as an in-person initial consultation in the actual office?
Because of my 30 years’ experience as a plastic surgeon, it is proven quite easy for me to examine submitted medical histories and photos through my online consultation portal to suggest a surgical plan and to provide the patient with approximate costs. Cost is the number one inquiry for prospective patients and can easily be given upon examination of properly submitted photos. In some cases, I may suggest an additional in-person consultation mostly to determine the quality of the skin.
The Online Consultation is a wonderful screening tool that helps alleviate and avoid all the hassle and inconvenience of traveling for an in-office visit. Patients have been more at ease when they arrive for their subsequent in-office appointments when the conversation has already been started and introductions have already been made.
Establishing a relationship with your surgeon before coming to the office enhances and opens the dialogue between the doctor and patient that allows more time to be spent in person discussing more in depth aspects of the procedure. My website is very comprehensive with necessary information about all the procedures that I perform. This helps the patient to educate and prepare themselves entirely before coming to the office. Something only possible by engaging in the digital age. Information is power! I know you will find it very enlightening and easy. As a bonus – it’s also free!
What are the costs for the various procedures?
This is the most commonly asked question from my patients. Plastic surgery is not inexpensive and it seems that the cost varies significantly amongst providers and even cities. I can tell you in general that in the world of surgery, you get what you pay for. There are always “cheaper” options out there but I should remind all those seeking surgery that this is a big deal and you should be very careful selecting your surgeon on price alone. You never want to put your health and safety in harm’s way because of money.
Some procedures, such as a breast augmentation have a fixed price. However, other procedures, such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), gynecomastia or liposuction have fees associated with the degree of difficulty, the amount of areas treated and other surgical considerations.
We offer our patients our highly popular Online Consultation feature. We have been pioneers in the development and use of the Online Consultation. This is the best way to find out what I think about your areas of concern all done in the privacy of your own home. No need to fight any traffic or wait a long time in the doctor’s office. This feature is private and secure. After submitting some medical information and photos, I will evaluate your case and offer you my recommendations. My staff will provide you with the approximate cost of the various procedures and then you can schedule a personal visit if you prefer or even schedule treatment.
Why do you have some negative reviews?
I have a lot of personality. I’m not a boring doctor by any measure. I am blunt and honest with my patients. I will always address the issues involved in your care and safety even if it may hit a nerve or be uncomfortable. Some patients simply cannot handle the truth or do not want to know the truth. It would be easy for me to just become a “yes man” and perform any procedure that you want, no matter the consequences, but that will never happen. I want my patient’s to understand the reality of surgery and be educated and prepared to make the best decision. I want to be loved like everyone else but I am more than willing to accept the consequences of being truthful and honest with my patients when I am ultimately responsible for your well being. When you come here, you are family and are treated as such.
In my core I will not compromise my integrity or values when it comes to patient safety. I remind everyone that Westlake Plastic Surgery is not like Nordstrom’s – it’s a surgical practice that deals with serious stuff every day. I feel very confident that we do right by our patients each and every day (even if they don’t realize it). Safety is my number one concern – always has been and always will be.
When can I resume exercise after surgery?
Most of my patients are fairly active and they tend to go crazy if they cannot exercise. The time frame for exercise varies with the procedure. With most procedures, you can start light exercise in two weeks and gradually work back to your normal regimen. In general, if it hurts, then you should back off. The big concern with exercise is that it tends to raise your blood pressure and cause bleeding and maybe even a hematoma (collection of blood). It should be noted that you are investing in your result, and ample recovery time should be given to ensure that you are healed properly and without complication.
What days do you operate?
I generally operate Monday through Thursday in the mornings and into the early afternoon. This may change depending on supply and demand issues.
Can multiple procedures be performed at the same time?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. We don’t suggest you consider an “Extreme Makeover” as this can be risky, and we do not believe in unnecessary risk (I’m sure you agree). Depending on your health, age and procedure selection, we will suggest you consider staging your procedures so you get the best result with the greatest degree of safety. Remember, we do not cut corners at Westlake Plastic Surgery. We want you to obtain the best result possible but this is only done in the context of safety and comfort. Sometimes more is less. Sometimes less is more. Many patients want things done “all at once” so they have one procedure and one recovery and less cost. However, experience has shown that this could put patients at risk and compromise the results of treatment. Surgeon judgment is critical in keeping you safe and sound with the results that you really want.
What is a staged surgery?
Sometimes it is best to perform your procedures in a particular sequence in order for you to obtain the best results. For instance, if you are interested in improving your midsection and you have loose skin and a thick layer of fat with weakened fascia from childbirth, it may be best to perform an extensive liposuction followed by a period of recovery and then a second procedure to tighten the abdominal fascia and remove excess skin. I would recommend staged procedures if I believe it would be safer or if your results would be significantly better than if it were done all at once. As much as I would like to “keep it simple” or “get it all over at once,” this might not be appropriate for your particular situation. In my practice, staging a procedure doesn’t cost more than a single procedure.
What sources of information do you recommend?
Thanks to the era of the Internet, we don’t spend as much time or energy dispensing pamphlets and literature. Your computer has a wealth of information available about any procedure imaginable. Please be aware that not all the information that you come across is factual or even realistic. In fact, there is an abundance of misinformation on the Internet. Use it as a guide only. Travel to reliable websites only. A good start is the website of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. I consider it balanced and factual. People tend to search out information that supports their beliefs even if what they believe is nonsense. Keep an open mind when doing research. Try to take in various perspectives from different sources that are reliable. Don’t believe everything you read – often, if it sounds too good to be true it isn’t true.
What if I have a question or a problem after hours?
I am on call for my practice 24/7. My nurses are available after hours to handle patient inquiries. If for some reason I am out-of-town or not immediately available, I have several colleagues that are on call for my patients.
Does my office accept insurance? Does insurance pay for cosmetic surgery?
My practice is all cosmetic surgery related and we do not accept any insurance. As a general rule, cosmetic surgery procedures are not covered by insurance plans. Gynecomastia is not a procedure that insurance carriers cover as they consider it strictly cosmetic. A female breast reduction is often covered by insurance. Check with your insurance carrier if you are not sure about coverage.
Is there a consultation fee?
Consultations that are performed in the office have an associated fee (100 dollars). The fee for the consultation is applied to any surgery procedure performed. Our Online Consultation is Free and available 24/7 and is encouraged for all initial consultations.
What are the components of a surgical fee?
The surgery fee is made up of the surgeon’s fee, anesthesiologist fee and the operating and recovery facility fee. If there are any additional fees they will be discussed at the time of your consultation. For more information, visit our Fees and Financing page.
Can I pay for my plastic surgery with a credit card?
We do not accept credit cards for major procedures. We will accept them for non-surgical services and minor procedures.
What if I have a complication as a result of my procedure?
Thankfully, complications in my hands are rare – as they should be. However, it’s entirely possible that a complication can occur. If it is a minor complication, it can be handled in the office. If it’s a major complication, you may need to be seen in a local hospital where I have privileges. Your insurance company may/may not cover a complication related to a cosmetic procedure. You should check with your insurance carrier beforehand if you are concerned. Any complication treated in my office operating room is subject to additional fees for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and the facility fee.
What is your policy on “revisions” or “touch ups?”
I am a perfectionist at heart and I want all my patients to be satisfied with my work and their results. However, perfection is an elusive goal and sometimes the enemy of good is better. Timing is also important here as plastic surgery results need time measured in years and not just weeks or months. One of the many benefits of having my own office operating facility is that I can control some of the overhead costs better than a hospital or surgery center. Although many people think that these costs are modest, they are not, as the cost for my nurses, supplies, and anesthesia services are real.
Any trip to my operating room is associated with a fee no matter what the circumstances are. The fees that you would be quoted vary on the complexity of the problem and your anesthesia needs (the range is probably from about 500 to 2500 dollars). This is the reality that must be accepted by all patients before they consider any procedure.
Does your office accommodate Spanish speaking patients?
Communication is critical to successful plastic surgery outcomes. I have studied Spanish in high school and college and I used these skills often in the Spanish communities in New York City where I completed my plastic surgery training. I very much enjoy practicing my Spanish and find that even though my patients know my Spanish is not perfect, they appreciate that I try hard to make it happen. I am able to hold my own with any Spanish speaking individual but I would always recommend that you speak more slowly and clearly and even bring someone along to help through some rough spots if needed! I also have staff that speak Spanish fluently.
What if I have some health problems?
All my patients have their health issues screened by my anesthesiologist, Dr. James Wilson. We will assess your general health and decide if you have a problem significant enough to avoid surgery. We may, in some cases, ask you to obtain medical clearance from your other medical professionals before a procedure. Generally speaking, we only operate on healthy patients in my office operating room facility.