Frequently asked questions

Happy Patients are Well-Informed

What is the difference between a Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon?

A Plastic Surgeon who is a Member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). The Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) is an award to qualified and fully accredited Plastic Surgeons by the Australian Medical Council authorised by the Commonwealth Government to accredit and validate all medical training.

A Plastic Surgeon is recognised as a specialist in the discipline of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery by Medicare Australia. Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons would have trained in Plastic Surgery which encompasses cosmetic and reconstructive procedures; and would have completed all the Surgical Education and Training requirements in the discipline which takes at least 7 years after medical school graduation. A Plastic Surgeon is able to operate in accredited medical facilities, are trained to adhere to a strict code of ethics, participate in volunteer plastic surgery organisation and fulfil continuing professional development requirements on an annual basis that encompasses standards, patient safety and risk management.

A Cosmetic Surgeon is often a registered doctor, who has not undertake the same training as a Plastic Surgeon as per the Royal Australian College of Surgeons. Any medical practitioner can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon. The amount of training under the auspices of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons is considerable.

Return to the top

What do I need to do before making an appointment with Dr Mahajani?

In accordance to our company policy, you will need a referral from a doctor with the reason for your appointment. You can also fill out a medical questionnaire prior to consultation which will save you time. You will also need to have Private Health Insurance in order to see Dr. Mahajani. Please inform our staff as to the type of surgery that you are interested in so that we can post you the relevant pamphlets and information. It is also important to inform our staff when you contact us for an appointment with Dr. Mahajani; the reason that you are seeing Dr. Mahajani; whether medical or cosmetic; so that we can estimate the duration of your appointment. Skin cancer, hand surgery and non cosmetic appointments usually require 15 – 30 minutes whereas cosmetic appointments usually require 45 – 60 minutes.

Return to the top

What do I need to bring to my initial consultation with Dr. Mahajani?

You will need to bring with you, your:

  • A referral letter from your Family Doctor or General Practitioner.
  • Medicare card.
  • Private Health Insurance Card.
  • Workers Compensation Claim Number. (Workers Compensation Claim)- if your case is workers compensation related
  • Employer Details, Contact Phone Number, Fax Number and Postal Address. (Workers Compensation Claim).
  • X-Rays, CT Scans, Ultrasounds and Test Results.
  • List of Current Medications and Allergies.

Return to the top

What happens at my initial consultation with Dr. Mahajani?

At your initial consultation, Dr. Mahajani will discuss your condition, your expectations of the surgery and your medical history to ascertain whether you are a suitable candidate for surgery. At this point in time, you should fully disclose to Dr. Mahajani any allergies, previous operations, medical conditions and medical treatments that you have received or is currently receiving. If you have any questions or concerns, you should discuss with Dr. Mahajani at your initial consultation.

In addition to that, certain medications can cause risky bleeding and you should disclose your current medications that you are taking to Dr. Mahajani especially if you are taking:

  • Act. Co Caps
  • Action Cold and Flu Tablet
  • Art Capsules
  • Asasantin
  • Asco-Tin
  • Aspalgin
  • Aspro
  • Aspro Clear
  • Asprodeine Tabs
  • Bayer Aspirin
  • Bex
  • Bi-Prin
  • Brufen
  • Cardiprin
  • Cartia
  • Celebrex
  • Clopidogrel
  • Codox
  • Codral Cold Tablets
  • Codral Forte
  • Codral Pain Tablets
  • Cordis
  • Cordral Blue-Label
  • Decrin Powders
  • Dipyridamole
  • Disprin
  • Doloxene Co
  • Ecotrin
  • Feldene
  • Fiorinal
  • Fish Oil
  • Garlic (Capsule)
  • Ginger (Capsule)
  • Hycodin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Indocin
  • Iscover
  • Migravan
  • Mobic
  • Mobllis
  • Morphalgin
  • Myzone
  • Naprogesic
  • Niapren
  • Nurofen
  • Orthoxicol-Cold & Flu
  • Orudis
  • Percodan
  • Perhexiline
  • Persantin
  • Plavix
  • Powders/Tabs
  • Solcode
  • Solprin
  • Solusal
  • St John’s Wort
  • Valerian
  • Veganin Red
  • Vincent Tabs
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Voltaren
  • Warfarin
  • Winsprin

At your initial consultation, you are most welcome to bring your spouse or a friend. The practice does take photos in some instances. Your consultations and photographs with Dr. Mahajani and his staff will be kept strictly confidential.

You should discuss any queries or concerns you may have with the surgery with Dr. Mahajani and his staff so that you are not only physically prepared; but mentally and emotionally prepared for the surgery. Please remember, despite the highest standard of surgical practice, there are risks and complications associated with every surgery; which will be discussed with you.

With cosmetic appointments, it is our common practice to give you time to think about your initial consultation with Dr. Mahajani; and a second consultation will be made for you; at which time, when a final decision is made, we will discuss your pre-operative instructions, post-operative management and you need to sign a quotation and an informed consent prior to surgery. At that point in time, you should fully understand the operation, the post-operative care period and the potential risks and complications that may occur. 

Dr. Mahajani and his staff are committed to provide you with as much information possible in relation to your surgery. We are here to discuss any issues or clarify any concerns that you may have prior to your operation. We do not believe in putting patients under pressure to make these important life-changing decisions. In fact, we would like all our patients to be well aware of the surgery, ensure that they have realistic expectations of the outcome, understand the risks and complications associated with the procedure and is well informed about the post-operative care and management that ensue; before making the final decision to proceed.

Return to the top

What if I would like a second opinion from another plastic surgeon prior to my surgery?

You are most welcome for second opinions at any time and if every you are in doubt, we believe you should seek other opinions. We can sometimes facilitate this for you should you wish.

Return to the top

What if I feel that I am not ready to proceed with surgery; or I am afraid of the risks and complications that may happen?

We do not believe in putting patients under pressure for any surgery; unless it is life-threatening and any delay in surgery can result in death or severe health problems. If you do not feel ready to proceed with surgery, then you should inform us, so that we can either, postpone or cancel your surgery for you. You can always reschedule at a later date when you are ready.

In elective or corrective surgery, if you are not comfortable with the potential risks and complications that may occur, then we advise that you reschedule your surgery at your own leisure after you have had time to consider all the relevant information. Risks and complications are part and parcel of every surgery. If you are afraid of the risks and complications that might happen, you should not proceed with your operation.

Return to the top

What if I cannot afford the surgery?

If you cannot afford the surgery, you can always contact our office to book in when you are ready. At that point in time, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Mahajani prior to your surgery; especially if he has not seen you for more than 6 months, to review your current health state and update our records if you have been taking any new medications, receiving new treatments or have new medical conditions.

In accordance to company policy, we do not condone our patients taking out a loan from the bank if you have insufficient funds for elective surgery. In the last few years, some patients have had to file for bankruptcy as a result of taking out a loan from their banks to fund their elective surgery. Therefore, we would like to suggest that if you cannot afford elective surgery, please postpone your surgery until you are able to proceed.

Return to the top

Is my initial consultation fee claimable from my private health insurance or Medicare Australia?

You can receive a rebate for your initial consultation fee from Medicare Australia. Please take your receipt of your payment to Medicare Australia for processing. You cannot claim a rebate for consultations from your private health insurance.

Return to the top

Why do I need Private Health Insurance if I am coming in for elective surgery?

In an event of any corrective surgery pursuant to your elective surgery, your Private Health Insurance can cover a portion of your corrective surgery. If you do not have private health insurance, you will have higher out of pocket expenses than if you were in a Private Health Fund. You will have the operating theatre fees, day care fees and prostheses costs which can be high as Medicare Australia does not cover any of this at all in a Private Hospital.  

We will provide you with a quotation for the medical expenses of your procedure and discuss the quotation with you in detail before your procedure, so that you have a full understanding of the costs involved. You will be liable for any costs not covered by Medicare or your health fund – otherwise known as Out-Of-Pocket Expenses. We assist patients with obtaining estimate hospital fees however we do not govern their fees. It is your responsibility to confirm your level of cover with your health insurance fund, and any associated fees such as an excess or co-payment. Also you will be provided with an estimate of the anaesthetist’s fees. Unless otherwise stated in your quotation, it does not cover services provided by other doctors (such as radiologists and pathologists), or other costs associated with your stay in the hospital or day surgery unit, such as accommodation, pharmacy and physiotherapy. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary to arrange additional medical services, resulting in further charges to you.

Dr. Mahajani’s surgical fee is based on the approximate prices for plastic surgeons of Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. This means that a portion of your surgical fee will not be covered by Medicare Australia or your Private Health Insurance. It is important that you are aware of your out of pocket expenses prior to your surgery. The coverage for various surgeries will differ greatly depending on your level of cover and on the Private Health Fund involved. For all surgeries done in a Private Hospital, or as a Private Patient in a Public Hospital, there is a Fee for the:

  1. Surgeon.
  2. Assistant Surgeon.
  3. Hospital.
  4. Anaesthetist.
  5. (If applicable only) Physiotherapy (for casts, splints and other treatments).
  6. Other services that may be performed, radiology ( xray) or pathology laboratory tests

Return to the top

What level of cover should I apply for when I consider Private Health Insurance?

This is your choice but we would recommend you should consider taking out the Top Hospital Cover with your choice of private health insurance with cover for major surgery.

Return to the top

How do I know if my Private Health Insurance Fund will cover my surgery?

An item number will be given to you on the day of your consultation with Dr. Mahajani. You will need to contact your Private Health Insurance Fund and discuss your level of cover and the amount of rebate that you are entitled to, with them. Some procedures are eligible for rebates from Medicare Australia and your Private Health Insurance Fund.

Return to the top

How do I know if my surgery is medical or cosmetic?

Our staff will advise you after you have discussed your surgery with Dr. Mahajani.

Return to the top

What happens if I catch a cold/flu before my surgery?

If you have a  flu before your surgery, you can still proceed with your surgery as long as you have recovered a week before. If you are still sick a few days prior to your surgery, please contact our office to postpone your surgery and reschedule for another date after you have recovered.

Return to the top

What happens if I have to cancel or reschedule my surgery?

In accordance to our company policy, you will need to contact our office at least 1 week before your surgery with regards to any cancellation or rescheduling of your surgery. If you do not notify us, you may receive a non-attendance fee of $250 for the surgical time that has been allocated to you.

Return to the top

How do I know that I am suitable for Plastic Surgery?

Nowadays, it is common for patients to have plastic surgery. However, it is very important that you are in good health as it greatly reduces the risk of complications during and post-surgery. If you smoke you must stop. Being in good health also expedites your recovery process after your surgery. You will need to ask yourself a few questions to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for plastic surgery:

  • Why do I want this surgery?
  • How long have I wanted this surgery?
  • What is your motivation for this surgery?
  • What are my realistic expectations of the outcome of this procedure?
  • What are my reasonable goals towards this surgery?
  • What are the results that I am hoping to achieve?
  • Have I consulted my Family Doctor, General Practitioner or another Plastic Surgeon about my desired procedure?
  • What will I look like? Will I be happy with the end result?
  • What will my family, friends and relatives think about this?
  • Can I afford what I want?
  • Which surgeon is best qualified for my particular case?
  • What are my priorities in terms of the surgery? Quality? Safety? Convenience? Price? Time Frame?
  • When am I hoping to have this procedure done?
  • What type of results are you hoping for? More athletic? Healthier? Younger? Cosmetic correction?

Plastic surgery is a science and an art, and neither of which are perfect. Set realistic expectations and reasonable goals towards the outcome of your surgery that you wish to achieve and be prepared to thoroughly discuss these expectations and goals with Dr. Mahajani during your initial consultation.

Return to the top

Can I have several surgeries performed at the same time?

Dr. Mahajani will need to discuss this with you at your first consultation as to whether you are suitable candidate for several procedures to be performed at the same time. It depends on your requirements and there are pro's and con's of each situation. Remember that from a finacial point of view, you may get more back from your health fund if you have several surgeries at different times.  You will need to discuss with Dr. Mahajani; the procedures that you want done, your medical history, the duration of the surgeries and your post-operative recovery. Ultimately, Dr. Mahajani decides in your best interests; whether or not it is appropriate to proceed with performing multiple surgeries simultaneously.

Return to the top

When can I have breast surgery after having a child?

You should consider having breast surgery after you have finished having a family. Ideally, you should wait at least after you last child or breast feeding period  before contemplating breast surgery. This gives time for the breast to settle down. Nevertheless, you can still make an appointment to see Dr. Mahajani for a consultation and opinion.

Return to the top

What is your age limit for breast augmentations?

In accordance to our company policy, Dr Mahajani usually does not do breast augmentations for women under the age of 19 -20  years unless there is some medical reason.

Return to the top

What is the age limit for breast reductions?

In accordance to our company policy, patients aged 18 years and above, may possibly be considered as suitable candidates for breast reductions but patients under this age may have a breast reduction if it is medically required.

Return to the top

When am I a suitable candidate for an abdominoplasty?

You must have finished having a family and having children. It is preferable to wait 12 months after pregnancy before abdominoplasty and not wanting to have more. In cases of weight loss or gastric banding, your general surgeon will advise at what weight it is suitable for abdominoplasty.

Return to the top

Can I see the surgeon for further management after I have surgery else where?

If there are any complications from your surgery, it is highly recommended that you should consult/ return to your surgeon who did the surgery as soon as possible. However, your surgeon can refer yourself onwards to Dr Mahajani for an initial appointment.

Return to the top

How regularly does Dr. Mahajani perform plastic and reconstructive surgery?

Dr. Mahajani performs on average, approximately 28 cases of plastic and reconstructive surgery per week.

Return to the top

Is plastic surgery safe?

All surgical procedures have risks and complications associated with it. Dr. Mahajani will discuss it with you in detail at your consultation. It is therefore, very important for you to discuss your medical history, allergies and current medications that you are taking to Dr. Mahajani. For this reason, a referral is required from your General Practitioner or Family Doctor as precautionary measure. Your medical history and current health state is important to us, and we will discuss with you whether it is safe for you to proceed with any elective or corrective surgery. If you are new to Darwin, then it is very important to us that you disclose all the important information about your medical history so that we are able to discuss with you the risks and complications associated with your surgery; so that you can make an informed decision about your surgery.

Return to the top

Is surgery painful?

Pain is part and parcel of any procedure. The duration and severity of pain differs from patient to patient. Sometimes, a patient will feel no pain post-operatively whereas some patients have a lot of pain. We can prescribe you with painkillers after your discharge from the hospital. The duration also varies with each patient from several days to several weeks in the majority but occasionally longer.

Return to the top

What kind of anaesthesia will be used?

It depends on what kind of surgery you are having. For some minor operations, local anaesthesia or local anaesthesia with intravenous (IV) sedation enables you to be awake, but insensitive to pain. In major surgery, general anaesthesia is commonly used where you will be asleep for the duration of the operation. The anaesthesia used in your surgery will depend on your medical history, your age, the nature and extent of your operation and your current medications.

The requirements of general anaesthesia means that you must fast for at least 6 hours prior to your surgery which means no food intake during that time. However, you are able to have water up until 4 hours before the surgery only. Please note that if you eat or drink before your surgery, your surgery may be cancelled or postponed.

As with surgery, anaesthesia has risks. Your anaesthetist will discuss the risks and complications that may occur with you prior to your operation. Our staff will inform you who the anaesthetist for your surgery is; and you are most welcome to contact them and discuss any queries or concerns that you may have. Your anaesthetist will be particularly interested to know your medical conditions, current medications, allergies and previous surgeries.

More information on Anaesthetisia

Northern Plastic Surgery (NT) Pty Ltd works very closely with Specialist Anaesthetists in Darwin, Northern Territory who specialise in anaesthesia, pain control and manage medical emergencies. Northern Plastic surgery helps administer the practice of 2 anesthetist Dr David Moon and Dr Helge Suhr.

Two weeks before your surgery, you should contact your anaesthetist and arrange an appointment to see them to discuss your past experiences with anaesthesia, allergies, current medications and your medical history. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease, heart disease, infectious disease and kidney disease, you should disclose the relevant information to your anaesthetist.

There are a number of risks associated with general anaesthesia and neurolept (sedation) with temporary side effects and serious complications are very rare. Nevertheless, great care is taken to reduce nausea, vomiting and discomfort. General anaesthesia and neurolept (sedation) is often performed in Darwin Day Surgery or Darwin Private Hospital; both are accredited surgical facilities in Darwin. General anaesthesia is commonly used for long and complex surgeries to ensure that all precautions to maintain safety are ascertained.

Minor surgeries may be best performed under local anaesthetic ( no anaesthetist is needed) or with neurolept (sedation). Dr. Mahajani and your anaesthetist will discuss the most appropriate anaesthesia is for you. Throughout your surgery, your anaesthetist is in attendance in the operating theatre and will remain by your side until the surgery is completed. With local anaesthetic, you will feel the initial injection but after this the are is numb. You will be awake during the surgery and you may feel touch, pressure and tugging but you should not feel any pain. Local anaesthetic avoids some of the risks and side effects of general anaesthesia but may not be suitable for all surgery. Sedation means that you are awake but have no recollection of what is happening and you remain pain free although local anaesthetic is also used.

Return to the top

Can I see pre-operative and post-operative photographs of Dr. Mahajani’s work?

Yes, you can. Please ask to view these photographs at your initial consultation with Dr. Mahajani.

Return to the top

What do I need to do before my surgery?

Please ensure that you have filled in the preadmission forms, have contacted your anaesthetist and have followed any directions. If you have been given a quotation, please ensure that you have reconciled that 7 days prior to your surgery. You may also been given a consent form, please read that carefully, and forward a signed copy to our office. If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our staff.

Return to the top

Do I need to stop smoking, and if so, for how long?

Smoking increases risks and complications. We advise patients stop smoking at least 2 weeks before their surgery and to continue this for as long as possible after their surgery. If you are unable to stop smoking, use patches or gum. In some cases surgery may need to be post poned if a patient cannot stop smoking

Return to the top

What happens after my surgery?

After your surgery, you will have been given a date and time to return for post-operative care and management when you booked in for surgery. Please keep your appointment for removal of stitches or a dressing change at our practice. At your post-operative appointment, Dr. Mahajani and our nurses will review your wounds and your progress during your recovery period. Once you have fully recovered, we will discuss your periodic visits to our practice to check up on your progress and discuss the results of your surgery. If lab tests have been done please ensure you have been given your lab results

Return to the top

When can I drive?

You should not drive for 24 hours after an anaesthetic except local anaesthetic. You must be able to move comfortably, be able to see clearly and not taking any medications. This depends on the operation. Our practice will advise you. Some operations like skin cancers you can drive the next day. For breast or abdominal operations, you need to wait at least 1 week. For hand surgery, it depends on the operation you have had. Return to the top

How long will it take to recover from my surgery?

This depends on the operation. Your recovery period can range from a few days to many months. The length of your recovery period will varies with every procedure and is different for every patient. Our post-operative instructions will indicate that you rest and limit your movements, avoid carrying heavy objects and engaging in strenuous activities in order to expedite your healing process and recovery time. Over the next 6 weeks after your surgery, your bruises will fade, your swelling will go down, and your scars will gradually fade. After one year, your body will full adjust and settle into your new look. If you have any queries or concerns, please discuss them in detail with Dr. Mahajani when you come in for your subsequent consultation post-operatively.

Return to the top

When can I return to work?

The ability to engage in normal activities will vary between patients. You should not return to work, drive, operate machinery or sign legal documents 24 hours after an anaesthetic unless it is a pure local anaesthetic.  

Please arrange for a repsonsible adult (eg. spouse, friend, colleague or family member) to drop you off and pick you up for surgery. If you do not have a responsible adult who can care for you during this period, we may need to perform the surgery in hospital or postpone the operation. Small operation under local or sedation, you may be able to return to works the next day. Larger operations take 2-6 weeks to recover. Hand surgeries may take longer. Please ask our friendly staff for a medical certificate.

Return to the top

What can I do to minimise the amount of scarring after surgery?

Dr. Mahajani and our nurses will advise you of the post-operative care of your scar at home. They will also advise you when it is best to apply scar-reduction creams and when to massage your wounds. Every patient heals differently to others and scars will initially appear to be red, and then become less noticeable over time. However, it may take up to 12 months for your scar to heal thoroughly and do not be alarmed if it takes longer than expected.

Return to the top