All journeys begin with a single step forward, including plastic surgery. The consultation with a plastic surgeon is a process that can take a variable amount of time before undergoing a procedure. Online information has made it significantly easier for patients to find a qualified board-certifed surgeon, but the abundance of information can also make the journey confusing.
The consultation with a plastic surgeon is typically a process, first starting with an inquiry or phone call to the office to learn more about a procedure and the practice. For procedures such as Botox® or cheek fillers, one consultation may only be required. Nonsurgical treatments can be often be performed at the same time as the consultation.
For surgery such as rhinoplasty or a facelift, many plastic surgeons recommend a minimum of two separate office visits prior to surgery. This extended consultation period gives plenty of time to discuss all of your questions and concerns.
Ask the office if there is a consultation fee. Many of the best plastic surgeons typically charge a nonrefundable consultation fee, but this fee might be applied toward a procedure within a certain timeframe. Consultation fees are variable.
The length of your consultation will depend on your procedures of interest. You may only need 15 minutes for a Botox consultation. On the other hand, you can expect your surgery consultation to take around one to two hours. It’s important that both you and your surgeon have enough time to get to know each other and discuss your options. Learn more about your procedure and develop a mutually agreed aesthetic vision with your plastic surgeon and so nothing is rushed.
Be prepared with questions
Write down your questions ahead of time, as it’s easy to forget while sitting in the office. You will ensure that all of your questions are answered. During your consultation you will be given a lot of information about different procedures and you might feel overwhelmed, so feel free to write down information too in order to review at a later time. By the end of your consultation, you should feel more comfortable and excited about your upcoming plastic surgery.
Here are just some questions to consider asking your plastic surgeon:
- What is the simplest method to help me achieve my personal goals?
- Are nonsurgical options available?
- How is the procedure performed?
- Where is the procedure performed?
- What type of anesthesia is typically used for the procedure?
- What is the expected length of procedure?
- How long is recovery? When can I anticipate returning to work?
- What are typical results? How long do the typical results last?
- Will there be scars and how noticeable will they be?
- What is the expected revision rate?
The best plastic surgeons perform surgery via a variety of methods. The beauty of cosmetic surgery is that there are many ways of accomplishing a desired result. Your plastic surgeon should be able to discuss options with you, fully explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each, and why one method may be the preferred option.
Reviewing with the Patient Care Coordinator (PCC)
The majority of the time you’ll be with the plastic surgeon, but many cosmetic surgery practices have team members that assist the plastic surgeon in various capacities. One key member is the patient care coordinator, who is a liaison that helps patients both before and after plastic surgery. He/she is very helpful and is able to answer many questions regarding your procedure, in addition to logistical help with scheduling. A PCC not only helps the surgeon but more importantly they are a resource and advocate for you!
Evaluation by the Surgeon
During the consultation, the plastic surgeon will also ask you several questions:
- How long have you been thinking about this cosmetic procedure?
- What other cosmetic procedures have you done previously?
- How much recovery time do you have?
- What degree of change are you anticipating?
- What is your timeframe for the procedure?
The plastic surgeon will also review your past medical and surgical history. Be open and honest about your health, including conditions, medications, and supplements. A physical examination will then be performed in a respectful manner. The surgeon may perform a broad examination to address concerns that you might not have considered, but will also evaluate the tissues (ie. bone, fat, skin, etc) of the specific area of concern.
Photographs may be taken during the initial consultation or at the followup consultation. Computer imaging or morphing is often performed for patients considering surgery, while Botox or lip injection patients typically don’t require simulation. These simulated images can help educate patients about their procedure.
Are you ready to take the first step? Contact the office to move forward in your plastic surgery journey!