The Twenty most common and best questions to consider asking during your consult. By James E. Murphy, MD on July 24, 2015

So you've finally decided to take the next step towards having cosmetic surgery. You've scheduled your consultation appointment, but, now what? We have compiled a list of the top 20 questions you should ask during your cosmetic consultation with the surgeon.

First of all, make sure your consult is with the Surgeon, not the office staff.

1. Are you Board Certified in Plastic /Reconstructive Surgery?

Dr. James E. Murphyis Board Certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery, since 2000. You must complete your general surgery and plastic surgery residencies, and be in practice for 2 years before you are eligible to apply for board eligibility. Dr. Murphy started practice in 1998. This August, will start his 17th year of practice.

The Mission Statement of The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. is to promote safe, ethical, efficacious plastic surgery to the public by maintaining high standards for the education, examination, certification and maintenance of certification of plastic surgeons as specialists and sub-specialists.

By choosing a plastic surgeon who is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc., you can be assured that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and has completed at least five years of additional training as a resident surgeon in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Medical Education or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This includes a minimum of five years of residency training in all areas of surgery, including at least two years devoted entirely to plastic surgery. Certification is a voluntary process a surgeon seeks after this training. To become certified, the doctor then must pass comprehensive written and oral exams.

You can find more information about the American Board of Plastic Surgery at  

2. Do you have before / after pictures for review?

Dr. Murphyhas an extensive photo gallery on his website, and picture albums in the office for cosmetic consultation patients to view.  

Any surgeon with experience should be able to provide you with a good gallery of before and after pictures, of any procedure you are considering.


3. How many years of experience do you have?

Dr. Murphyhas 17+ years of experience in private practice, in Reno, Nevada. This does not include his surgical residency of 7 years, of which 5 years were spent in Seattle, Washington in General Surgery, and 2 more years in a fellowship of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Make sure you ask your surgeon, how long have they been in private or group practice, as the primary surgeon. This should not include the number of years one has spent in medical school and residency. 

4. How many of these specific procedures have you performed?

For instance, according to the national average, Dr. James Murphy performs twice

as many Breast Augmentations as any other Plastic Surgeon across the country.  

5. Where do you perform the surgery? Is it an accredited facility?

Dr. Murphyperforms all of his cosmetic surgery cases at Renown Medical Center, South Meadows. Yes, it is an accredited facility.

6. Where do you have hospital privileges?

Dr. Murphyhas privileges at Renown Medical Center on Mill Street, Renown Medical Center, South Meadows, Saint Mary’s Medical Center, Summit Surgery Center and Surgical Arts.

7. What are the risks and possible complications of this surgery?

Every surgery has risks and potential complications.  When you meet with your surgeon, he or she should review all the risks involved with your particular procedure.  In addition, you will receive consent forms that will detail each and every risk associated with your surgery.  You can also ask for the consent forms in advance of your surgery.  This way you can review the paperwork before coming in for you pre-operative visit.   Just remember that when choosing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon your risks and complications are much reduced as you have chosen his or her for the advanced education and experience they offer. 

8. How risky is this surgery for me?

Before you are scheduled for your procedure it is imperative to divulge any current health issues with your surgeon.  You will also need to provide a list of any medications you are currently taking.  With this information your surgeon will determine if the procedures risks outweigh the benefits for you.  


9. How long is the recovery time?

Recovery time has many variables. Number one, what is the procedure?  Some procedures have a very quick recovery and others are a bit longer.  The other variable to keep in mind is that recovery and pain is a very personal thing.  Some people bounce back very quickly while others take more time to recover. Dr. Murphy will tell you how much time, as a general idea, you will need to be less active.

10. Will anyone be assisting you on the procedure?

A certified surgical technologist or surgical assistant should be used in surgical procedures where it benefits the patient.   These would be lengthy and or more involved procedures where the surgical technologist can help the surgeon manage the time in surgery more efficiently. In addition when using a surgical technologist or surgical assistant the surgeon has done extensive one on one training in addition to the certification of the assistant.

11. What type of anesthesia do you use?

 The majority of surgical procedures a Board Certified Anesthesiologist will administer a General Anesthesia.  Patients get a bit nervous when it comes to having a General Anesthetic and think it is unsafe.  In reality it is much the opposite.  When anesthesia is being administered by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist in a controlled hospital or accredited outpatient facility it is the safest way to have surgery.  This way your surgeon can concentrate on your procedure while the anesthesiologist is monitoring your vital signs and keeping you comfortable.  The two together make a winning and safe combination.

12. What anesthesia group do you work with?                                                      13. Are they Board Certified?

Most surgeons have a certain group of anesthesiologists they prefer to work with.  Because their personal surgical routine is essential to the patient’s surgical results it is imperative that the anesthesiologist is very aware of that routine, as well as the rest of the operating room staff.  They all work as a team for the patient and his or her safety. Dr. Murphy works with Associated Anesthesiologists of Reno, and has used them his entire career.  They are Board Certified and have been established in Reno since 1949.

14. Will you be giving me exact pricing for my surgery?

After your evaluation and consultation with Dr. Murphy, our Cosmetic Counselor will give you pricing in a written quote.  This will include Dr. Murphy’s fee as well as any implant costs, hospital charges and anesthesia fees (when applicable).  Pricing is determined by the time spent on the procedure as well as the difficulty of each procedure.  Two patients may have what seems to be the “same surgery” but the pricing may differ.  Every patient is an individual and prices will reflect that. You will find that pricing will differ from surgeon to surgeon.  Before looking for the lowest price for your procedure, do your research and homework.  Look at the gallery of before and after pictures of each surgeon.  Compare those pictures side by side.  Usually this gives you clarity on choosing your surgeon.  In addition, search for reviews.  It is very helpful to read feedback from our patients.


15. Will you determine the approximate size of the implants you recommend for me, prior to surgery?  

There are many factors that come into choosing the size and projection of Breast Implants for your individual frame. For instance the size and shape of your chest wall, as well as how your natural breasts sit on your chest. Dr. Murphy will discuss your options with you at length, as well as explain why he suggests a certain size and projection.  Together, you will decide what will give you the best possible result.


16.  How do you assess symmetry of the breasts in surgery?        

Dr. Murphytakes a great amount of pride in the work. He is acutely aware that his patients will be out in the community living with the results that he works very hard to achieve.  Keeping this in mind, when he performs a Breast Augmentation he will sit the patient up periodically during surgery to check the symmetry of the breasts.  Yes, this takes a bit more time in surgery but in the end the amazing results shine through!


17. Do you perform multiple procedures at one time in surgery? Is there an increased risk?

In some cases more than one procedure can be done at a time.  However there are risks to be considered when combining procedures.  If the combination will jeopardize the patient’s safety or interfere with the best possible result then             Dr. Murphy will not agree to perform more than one procedure together.  The popular train of thought is I’m already under anesthesia, I may as well do it all together”.  In reality it is much safer to split things up.  And in the end, the recovery and results are much better.

18. How many patients a day do you perform surgery on? How many total procedures? Is it more than 5 a day?  

It depends on the type of procedures that are scheduled for that particular day. Usually no more than 3 patients per surgery day.  We try to avoid multiple complicated and long procedure on any one day.  Dr. Murphy wants to be as fresh on the last procedure of the day as he is on the first.  We strive to keep a surgery day to no more than eight or nine hours in the operating room.

20. Do you have lasers to help the scarring after surgery?

We have several laser options in the office for pre and post-surgery. For scars specifically, we have the Cynosure Icon laser with a 1540 wavelength to help the healing process. As soon as the incision line has no open areas, and has begun healing, we can start laser therapy. We can do treatment every 4 weeks, for 4-6 treatments. The laser helps the collagen lay down in an organized fashion, making a much cleaner, nicer scar. We can treat any type of scar, from surgical to traumatic to acne scars.    Dr. Murphy's cosmetic patients receive 50% off of the cost for scar therapy.







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Dr. James Murphy

Murphy Plastic Surgery & Medical Spa

Dr. James Murphy is a highly trained, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has been in practice 25 years. He serves patients throughout Reno and Lake Tahoe and is affiliated with several prestigious organizations, including: 

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons 
  • American College of Surgeons 
  • American Medical Association 
  • Reno Surgical Society

Schedule your consultation today by contacting us online or call (775) 322-3446. Se habla español. If you would like to text us during business hours, we can respond via text to you. You can also send pictures to us with questions.

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