Definition and Overview
A plastic surgery consultation is a preliminary service offered by most cosmetic surgery clinics. It plays a crucial role in the decision-making process of a person considering plastic surgery. While some clinics may charge for a consultation, most clinics offer this as a free service for their prospective patients.
Its primary goal is to help patients decide whether or not plastic surgery is the right option for them. It also aims to help patients evaluate different plastic surgeons to find the best match for them. Patients contemplating plastic surgery are advised to consider at least three different cosmetic surgeons, scheduling one consultation with each, so that they can confidently choose a surgeon they can trust.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
A plastic surgery consultation is the first step to obtaining cosmetic surgery. Thus, anyone who is thinking about undergoing such a procedure will benefit from this meeting. By the end of the appointment, the patient should have all the information he needs to decide what kind of surgery is right for him, whether or not to push through with the procedure, and whether the surgeon is the right fit for him.
During the consultation, the surgeon may:
- Ask questions regarding the patient’s medical history
- Examine the body part that needs treatment
- Give his recommendation about what procedure to undergo
If the patient has a specific procedure in mind, the surgeon may also explain:
- How the procedure is done
- What kind of anesthetic will be used
- The possible risks and complications of the surgery, their rates of occurrence, and how they are handled
- The expected time of recovery after the surgery
- Breakdown of costs and available financing options
- What the patient can expect from the treatment
- Insurance considerations
Some surgeons also show prospective patients photos of actual patients they have worked with in the past to give them a visual idea of what they can expect from the procedure.
An initial consultation is different from a pre-operative consultation, which is done when the patient is already scheduled for an upcoming operation.
How the Procedure Works
To ensure the safety and success of their desired procedure, prospective patients should gather information about the procedure, the surgeon, and the plastic surgery clinic they are considering.
Aside from key details of the procedure, patients should ask about:
- The plastic surgeon’s credentials
- His experience in the specific type of surgery the patient requires (or how many times he has done the procedure)
- Success rates and results of his previous procedures
- The surgeon’s professional certifications and accreditations
- Any special training he has received related to the procedure the patient requires
Patients should also take the chance to evaluate the hospital or clinic where the procedure will be performed. During a plastic surgery consultation, it is best to observe:
- The quality of customer service
- The attentiveness and openness of receptionists and staff
- The cleanliness and comfort of the hospital or clinic
Patients are also encouraged to bring a friend, partner, parent, or relative during the procedure. The companion should be capable of helping the patient make a final decision.
Possible Risks and Complications
Given the nature of plastic surgery, such that it is a major decision in the life of a patient and is, in many cases, irreversible, patients are advised to take all the time they need and ask all the questions they may have to guide them in making their decision. They should take the time to explore their options and evaluate the different opinions of people close to them.
Many patients face issues with their plastic surgery consultations when the surgeon:
- Tries to push a particular decision on them
- Is not forthcoming with information about his credentials or the procedure
- Is intimidating and does not answer questions clearly and directly
- Tries to rush the patient into making a decision
In such cases, it is best to schedule another consultation with a different plastic surgeon.
Going to an initial plastic surgery consultation is not a commitment to undergo any procedure. At the end of the appointment, the patient must be confident in the capabilities of the surgeon and must have all the information he needs to make an informed decision.
- The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- The American Academy of Dermatology
- The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery