Frequently Asked Questions
Are you board certified and why is it important?
I am board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and I am a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Be aware that there are physicians in your community who call themselves “plastic surgeons,” but don’t have these credentials. This does not mean that they are not capable of performing plastic surgery procedures. It simply means that they have not had the specific training and certifications that you should expect from your surgeon. Choosing your surgeon is probably the most important decision you will make when deciding to have plastic surgery. Assume nothing when it comes to choosing your surgeon.
Is Westlake Plastic Surgery related to Westlake Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery?
There is no relationship between the two health care providers. Westlake Plastic Surgery was established before Westlake Dermatology. Dr. Robert Caridi is Westlake Plastic Surgery.
Where will my procedure be performed?
The vast majority of my procedures are performed in my own fully accredited 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 room with my carefully chosen staff of medical professionals.
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 general anesthesia. I believe in the comfort provided by anesthesia and have not seen a problem with it in my entire career. My philosophy is to surround my patients with the best medical practitioners in the business.
What are the costs for the various procedures?
This is probably the most commonly asked question from my patients. Surgery is not inexpensive and the need to know how much your procedure costs is important. Some procedures, such as a breast augmentation or a laser service have a fixed price. However, other procedures, such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) or liposuction have fees associated with the degree of difficulty, the amount of areas treated and other surgical considerations. You can call my office at (512) 732-0732 and speak with my staff for approximate costs, however; the best way to obtain the actual number is to come in for a consultation and you will be given the specific fee based on your actual case. Our Fees & Financing page is also a good resource for basic information regarding payments.
How important is the consultation process?
It is absolutely critical. This is your time to get to know the surgeon and the office. I suggest asking yourself these questions: Do you get a good feeling? Is the surgeon comfortable and knowledgeable? Do you have a rapport? Does he/she listen to your concerns and have a good eye for beauty? Do you feel confident in your doctor? It is my policy to consult with my patients on several occasions. My staff and I do not schedule a patient for surgery until they have time to go home and think about it. There is no rush. You need to become fully informed as to the nature of your procedure and the risks and benefits. The more you learn, the easier your decision will be. The more you trust your doctor and the staff, the less stressful your decision will be. At Westlake Plastic Surgery, the same team of professionals you have encountered during your consultation will be the same people caring for you during and after your procedure. I guarantee that you will know who is taking care of you by first name. My practice is fully self contained. I control every individual staff member you will come in contact with.
Is surgery painful?
One of the greatest differences over the past ten years is that there is much less pain and discomfort associated with any procedure. I offer a “pain pump” with most abdominoplasties and breast augmentations. The pump significantly reduces post operative discomfort. This is not to say that you will have a pain free recovery, but I can tell you from experience that most patients are pleasantly surprised with the general ease of recovery with most procedures. In the “old days” a breast augmentation was described as painful-but nowadays it’s “not that bad!”
When can I resume exercise after surgery?
Most of my patients are fairly active and they tend to go crazy if they can’t exercise. The time frame for exercise varies with the procedure. With most procedures, you can start light exercise in two weeks or so 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).
Do you recommend telling my friends or co-workers about my procedure?
This all depends on your friends and your personality. Generally speaking, I would suggest you don’t tell people about your procedure as it won’t benefit you much. Some people can become jealous and may hurt your feelings. I think that if your surgery is done well you won’t look “operated on” or unnatural in appearance. You might prefer to “keep them guessing.”
What days do you do consultations?
We do consultations Monday through Thursday, generally in the afternoons. This may change depending on supply and demand issues. We do our very best to accommodate those patients with scheduling limitations.
What days do you operate?
I generally operate Monday through Thursday. 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 don’t 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 don’t 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.
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’re interested in improving your midsection and you have loose skin and a thick layer of fat and weakened fascia from child birth, 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.
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 on reliable web sites only. A good start is the web site of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and I consider it balanced and factual. The ultimate source of information will be our consultation. During our consultation, I will tell you the facts and give you my advice and experience. I will not sell you on any procedure. I try to be a devil’s advocate in discussing the procedure you are interested in, and I will always present you with reasons why you don’t want the procedure. Remember, surgery carries risks. You want a true professional, not a salesman, as your surgeon.
What if I have a question or a problem after hours?
I am on call for my practice 24/7. If for some reason I am out-of-town or not immediately available, I have several colleagues that are on call for my patients. Thankfully, I don’t get too many calls in the evening. This is a tribute to our patient education and preparation process and to my wonderful nurses.
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.
Is there a consultation fee?
There is a thirty dollar consultation fee. This is money well spent in my opinion and inexpensive considering the advice you receive. This money is credited to the cost of your procedure if you schedule surgery.
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. In some cases implants are extra. 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.
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.
Is there a guarantee that comes with a surgical procedure?
Certainly not. Unlike a car or piece of electronic equipment, the science and art of plastic surgery does not come with a guarantee.
I do, however, guarantee that I will do my very best to ensure that your procedure is performed safely and that I will try my very best to make sure you are pleased with your investment.
Would you tell me if you thought I would benefit from a procedure other than what I have originally come to see you for?
Generally speaking, I would if I thought the potential benefits from another procedure were compelling based on the information you provided in the consultation. However, my goal is for you to be happy with the procedure you want, and of course, the final results, even if I don’t necessarily agree with your plan.
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 indeed and I have learned that “tweaking” results can bring us much closer to our ideal outcome. 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 1800 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!
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.