CallDirection

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

What to bring:

  • Your Medicare card and any concession cards (Safety Net Card and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Card)
  • Means of payment for any out of pocket expenses (cash, debit or credit card)
  • Your private health fund details
  • Name and address of your General Practitioner
  • Emergency contact details of your next of kin
  • Any letters, X-rays and reports, scans or investigations related to your condition
  • Any current medications you are taking, including natural remedies and supplements in their original packets
  • A list of allergies to food, medications, tapes, dyes, and dressings
  • If your procedure is covered by Workers Compensation or the TAC: your claim details, employer and the date, time, and place of workplace accident/motor vehicle accident
  • Pyjamas or nightgown, dressing gown, and slippers (non-slip sole)
  • Personal toiletries
  • A small amount of money for items such as newspapers and magazines
  • Bring your personal items in a small bag that can fit into the limited storage space provided in patient rooms

What not to bring:

  • Jewellery, valuables or excess cash

The hospital and Practice will not accept any responsibility for loss or damage of personal property.

Please shower but not shave near the surgical site, as this may increase the potential for infection. Dress in clean, loose-fitting and comfortable clothes; and please avoid wearing makeup or nail polish to hospital and during your admission, as this may interfere with your monitoring medical equipment.

Fasting

You will be advised if you are required to fast for your procedure and, if so, when to commence. Fasting includes no food, liquids, lozenges, gum or smoking. If fasting times are not followed correctly, your surgery may be postponed in the interests of your health and safety.

Medications

If oral medications are required pre-operatively on the day of surgery, they may be swallowed with a small sip of water at the usual time, unless otherwise directed. It is important that you follow instructions regarding your medications prior to surgery. All herbal supplements (e.g. fish or krill oil, ginko, garlic, ginseng, St John’s Wart) are to be ceased 14 days prior to your procedure.

Before you come to hospital, you will be advised whether your surgery will be performed as a day procedure or if you are required to stay overnight. Most patients are admitted on the day of their planned procedure.

Upon arrival at hospital, caregivers will ensure all necessary admission requirements are complete and you will be asked to confirm you have given written consent for the operation. Once admitted, you will be given a patient identification band and a hospital gown to wear. Calf-compression stockings may be worn during your admission to decrease the risk of blood clots in the legs. Caregivers will confirm your identification before providing treatment or a procedure, including giving medication. Please do not be alarmed as this process is designed to ensure your safety whilst in hospital.

You may need to wait in a patient lounge or your room before having your procedure. We will do everything possible to minimise your waiting times and keep you informed of any unforeseen delays.

  • Organise for someone to take you home – you should not drive for a minimum of 24 hours after sedation or general anaesthetic
  • Collect all medications, X-rays and scans
  • Collect any follow-up information
  • Pack and check room for personal items
  • Settle your account

There is no such thing as “scarless surgery” and scars are inevitable with any invasive procedure. Incisions will be placed where least visible and kept as minimal as possible, often hidden in discrete natural skin creases or junctions between areas where natural transitions occur. An atraumatic technique will help to optimise your result. Scars fade over time, so even if they initially appear more pronounced than you imagined after your procedure, they are likely to be less so in years to come.

Your scar may be lumpy and raised for the first 3-4 months, and red for up to 12 months. It will finally be mature at 18 months where it should heal as an inconspicuous fine pale line. Scars are only occasionally troublesome and, if required, you may consider further treatment.

During the healing period, you will be advised on how best to care for your incision. Whilst you will be advised specifically after your surgery, in general, these include:

  • Resting and elevating the operated area during the first 1-2 weeks after surgery
  • Removal of sutures at approximately 1 week after surgery
  • Applying Micropore tape along the incision for 6 weeks after the operation to support and flatten the scar. You will usually be able to shower with this dressing on from the first post-operative day and change the tape every 2-3 days when it is lifting off
  • When changing tape, massage a simple moisturiser into the incision for 3 minutes, three times a day (before breakfast, at lunch, and after dinner) to help reduce swelling, and breakdown any internal scar that has formed
  • From 6 weeks to 6 months, apply a silicone gel, daily, along the incision to help the scar flatten and reduce any redness
  • Dr Richardson will advise you if any further treatments are required. These may include LED light, radiofrequency (RF) therapy, skin needling, scar revision, or microdermabrasion

If you are more prone to scarring or have questions or concerns, be sure to discuss them with Dr Richardson.

To perform your operation safely, and keep you comfortable and rested, a general anaesthetic (“going to sleep”) may be required, although heavy (“twilight”) sedation with local anaesthetic may be appropriate in some cases. Either way, you will not be in pain and will have minimal to no recall of the operation. Some procedures may be performed using only local anaesthetic, where the area is numbed and you remain awake throughout the procedure.

It is very important that you inform Dr Richardson and his team if you have any medical conditions or allergies, including any previous reactions to anaesthetics, no matter how minor, as these may affect the treatment and anaesthesia that may safely be provided to you.

The duration of your procedure depends on a number of factors including your anatomy, your fitness for surgery, the type of anaesthesia required, the extent of surgery required, and if any additional procedures are performed at the same time.

You will be given a more accurate duration estimate during your consultations with Dr Richardson.

Dr Richardson operates at Epworth Freemasons (East Melbourne), Epworth Richmond, St Vincent’s Private Kew, St John of God Berwick Hospitals, and Vermont Private Hospitals. These are all fully accredited hospitals, and operations with sedation (“twilight anaesthesia”) or general anaesthesia are performed here. Please refer to Contact Locations for further information. 

Procedures under local anaesthetic are performed at Dr Richardson’s Rooms at Queens Parade Specialists.

Certain risks and complications can occur with any procedure. These are generally uncommon, and can include:

  • Bleeding (haematoma) from the surgical site – sometimes requiring drainage.
  • Pain, bruising, swelling, and numbness at the surgical site. You will be given medication to control any discomfort you have, and bruising should settle over the first few weeks. Numbness and some minor swelling may persist for several weeks to months, depending on the extent of your operation.
  • Infection requiring oral or intravenous antibiotics, or further surgery.
  • Slow wound healing or skin breakdown – more common in patients who smoke or are diabetic.
  • Skin flap or graft loss – where part of the flap or graft may not survive. This is usually treated with dressings and antibiotic ointment and rarely requires further surgery.
  • Poor scarring – it takes 18 months for a scar to settle and it may initially be raised, pink, lumpy, itchy, or irregular. Occasionally, the scar may stretch or become hypertrophic or keloid.
  • Minor asymmetry or contour irregularity – these may settle or require a minor adjustment.
  • Allergic reaction to medications, antiseptic solutions, sutures, tapes and dressings.

Serious complications are rare and patients should allow for adequate recuperation time, if required.

Dr Richardson and his team will discuss any procedure-specific complications with you, prior to your operation. 

Recovery from plastic surgery depends on the type of procedure performed. Recovery will be more rapid for minor or superficial procedures, and longer for more invasive or extensive ones. Your procedure will be evaluated and recovery carefully discussed with you at your consultations.

Dr Richardson and his team provide expert and attentive professional care in a friendly, discrete and supportive environment. We aim to be transparent with all our services and any anticipated costs that you may incur. 

As every patient experience is important and each journey is unique, no question or concern is too small. Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns that you have as we aim to ensure that every patient is well-informed, comfortable, and confident going into their surgery.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9486 6721 or at reception@jeremyrichardson.com.au.

Please contact Dr Richardson and his team if you are concerned about your recovery or experience any of the following:

  • Heavy bleeding from the surgical site
  • Leakage of blood or fluid from the surgical site after the first post-operative day
  • Redness and swelling spreading around the surgical site
  • Increase in pain or tenderness at the surgical site
  • Shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Temperature exceeding 38°C or chills
  • If you have any concerns regarding your surgery, especially if the area appears to be getting worse.

You should have someone stay with you on the day after your procedure, and  you should take care to drink fluids regularly. You will be prescribed medication to treat any discomfort as needed, and a narrow tube may be inserted into the skin to collect excess fluid / blood.

You may have to take some time off work as you recover, and need as much rest as possible. Light duties may be undertaken on the second week following the procedure, but you may not be able to resume your usual lifestyle for up to six weeks.

The fee policy of the Practice is based on that of The Australasian Society of Plastic Surgeons Inc. (ASPS) and those recommended by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). Fees and payment policy may be discussed with our team before and after the consultation and prior to any procedure. Should the account present you with a financial problem, please discuss the matter with the Practice staff.

The Practice will provide a Surgical Fee Estimate of likely medical costs you will be required to pay during your elective in-patient or day surgical procedure. You should discuss these costs with Dr Richardson’s team before your procedure to be sure you understand what costs you are liable for, including those not covered by Medicare or your private health fund.

It is the responsibility of the patient to cover the surgeon’s fee. Unless otherwise stated, this estimate is only for surgical fees charged by this Practice and is valid for three months. It does not cover services provided by other doctors (e.g. anaesthetists, pathologists); costs associated with your stay in hospital or day surgery unit (e.g. accommodation, TV, pharmacy); or costs associated with allied health services (e.g. physiotherapy, occupational therapy, hand therapy).

As with any medical procedure, unforeseen circumstances may arise. These may necessitate additional medical services or a change in predicted Medicare item numbers, resulting in additional costs, or an increase or decrease in the rebate estimate provided to you. If further procedures are requested after acceptance of the signed Surgical Fee Estimate, additional costs may be incurred by the patient.

After your procedure, once pathology and Medicare item numbers have been confirmed, an invoice will be issued.

Anaesthetic fees

If required, patients will be notified of their anaesthetist, and the anaesthetist’s contact details enclosed in the Pre-Operative Confirmation. Please call their rooms directly for a quotation.

Hospital fees

Patients with private health cover should contact their health fund to confirm they will be covered for the anticipated admission and procedure. The predicted Medicare item numbers are provided to you in the Surgical Fee Estimate. Your health fund will be able to advise if you are covered for these item numbers and what excess, if any, will need to be paid to the hospital on the day of admission. Some Private hospitals may also charge a facility fee that is not Medicare rebatable.

Assistant fees

Dr Richardson may use a surgical assistant for some procedures, and confirmation will be given prior to the operation. If an assistant is required, they may bill you or your health fund directly.

Prostheses and post-operative compression garments

If required, the Practice will purchase implants / prostheses and post-operative compression garments on your behalf. The cost of these are included in your Surgical Fee Estimate and payment is to be made in full prior to the procedure. Post-operative compression garments are to be worn for the first six weeks after surgery, and we suggest purchasing two garments for ease of care when washing. The Practice has no financial interest in these products or companies, and prices charged by the company may change without prior notification.

Late Cancellation

We ask patients to give at least two weeks’ notice if you are unable to attend an appointment or your procedure, to allow us to reallocate your scheduled time. Late cancellations will attract an administration fee of not less than 20% of the total value of the booking. Please contact management if there are extenuating circumstances, and this fee may be waived at management’s discretion.

If you have any queries, please call Dr Richardson’s Rooms on 03 9486 6721.

"How you feel about yourself matters"

Dr Jeremy Richardson