Obviously, the first step in deciding to alter or to enhance your appearance with cosmetic surgery is simply that -- deciding to have the work done. The next is to research surgeons and to schedule one or more consultations.
Unless you have strong personal recommendations supporting your choice of physician, it’s always best to interview several surgeons until you find one that has the right balance of qualifications, technical skill, and “bedside” manner. Ultimately, your consultation should leave you feeling educated about the procedure, confident in your surgeon, and prepared for your surgery.
Initial contact with a surgeon may take place in a variety of ways, from filling out an online form to simply calling the doctor’s office to make an appointment.
The consultation generally takes one to two hours. The patient is typically ushered in upon arrival and is made to fill out necessary forms. The form includes a brief medical history which would help the physicians determine if the patient is a good candidate for cosmetic surgery
Keep in Mind the Goal of the Consultation
A consultation is actually an educational process. There are some questions that should be answered clearly and succinctly to help the patient feel comfortable and relaxed about moving forward. These include, but are not limited to:
- The precise manner in which the surgery will be performed.
- An explanation of potential risks and complications.
- The expected and realistic results of the procedure.
- An examination of before and after photos from similar procedures.
- The presentation of contact information to check with former patients as references.
- A description of the recovery period and an estimate of its duration.
Remember that a surgeon's time is extremely valuable and in order to be successful they do sincerely have to try to minimize their consultation times while trying to satisfy your desire for information. It is important then that you have a list of questions ready to ask about the basic costs and additional charges if there are any.
The actual meeting to discuss the procedure should last from one to two hours. Never leave a consultation until all your questions have been answered. If a surgeon is reluctant to answer questions or seems vague or dismissive in his responses, move on to another doctor.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
It is also important to realize that a surgical consultation is not a one-way street. You will need to fill out a series of necessary forms including a brief medical history. Without a sense of the overall state of your health, the surgeon cannot determine if it is safe for you to undergo any type of procedure. Some degree of physical examination may also be involved, and photos and measurements may be taken of your body. Many doctors now use computer modeling to graphically illustrate the expected results of a cosmetic surgery.
You should come away from the consultation informed about the potential surgery or treatment, and with a realistic expectation of its outcome. After weighing this information, you can then decide if you wish to proceed or to interview another surgeon.
Booking Your Procedure
When you do commit to working with a surgeon, it is normal to wait three to six weeks before the procedure can actually be performed. A few days in advance, you will be required to make an appointment to review pre-surgical instructions, make any necessary preparations for post-operative care, and to begin any course of preparatory medications the surgeon deems necessary.
Health insurance does not normally pay for cosmetic procedures unless they are being performed out of medical necessity. Many surgeons do offer payment plans, but it is imperative to be certain you are working with a qualified doctor with certification to perform the given procedure. For additional information on medical financing, simply click here.
If the proposed fee for your surgery is abnormally low, or there are any other potential “red flags,” refuse to move on with the process until you are reassured of the physician’s certifications and qualifications.
Free Consultation with a Board Certified U.S. Surgeon
To learn more about plastic and cosmetic surgery please fill in the contact form below, or call us today at the toll free number found in the upper right corner of this page. You will then get the option to schedule a free consultation with a board certified surgeon in your local area.