Medical devices in aesthetic medicine vary widely: in type, quality, mode of treatment, and application to certain diseases. The risks attached to the device can outweigh the benefits, so patients should carefully consider their options. They should ask many questions to clarify the procedure, and to ensure that the doctor has had positive experience with the device. The material provided by the manufacturer can be biased, so it is important to consult other sources for information. Here are five questions to ask your doctor about the device used for treatment:
Is the device approved by the FDA?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a regulatory body that examines medical devices entering the market. Approval indicates that they believe the benefits outweigh the risks, therefore the device is safe and effective for treatment. The FDA reviews the results of clinical testing carried out by the companies, it does not develop or test the products itself. FDA approval indicates that the device can be used safely and successfully.
Have you had a positive experience with this device? How was the learning curve? What was the worst outcome?
It is important that the doctor has had successful treatment with the device, and that they have learned to operate it well. There is a learning curve with any piece of equipment, but you don’t have to make yourself the testing ground for it. You should also ask the doctor what was the worst outcome, so that you are aware of what can go wrong with treatment.
What are the risks, benefits and side effects of this device?
The benefits should always be weighed against the risks when choosing a treatment. Your doctor should have a personalized treatment plan that is suitable for your medical history. Side effects should be evaluated against your medical condition, and compared with those of alternate devices.
Can I consult written information on this device? Do you have any information not provided by the manufacturer?
Device makers provide leaflets to doctors that they can provide to patients, but this is biased information. Asking your doctor for external sources and peer-reviewed material can help you get more reliable knowledge. This can also confirm that the doctor has done their research instead of just relying on the manufacturer’s word.
Are there alternatives on the market? What device was used before this one?
New is not always better. New devices can offer benefits that aren’t more substantial than older devices. Worse, they can introduce new risks that the traditional methods avoid. You should find out why the doctor stopped using the old device, and why doctors have shifted to a new device for treatment.
You can find more advice about deciding on a treatment here.