Your Appointment and Consultation
Is the Doctor Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
The receptionist should confirm without hesitation that the doctor is certified by the ABPS or equivalent. If the doctor is not, then the receptionist will invariably explain that the doctor is certified by another board, which is similar in name (see "Self-Designated Boards").
Does ABPS Certification Guarantee That I Will Be Pleased?
No. Many factors determine whether you will he pleased with your result. Further, not every ABPS-certified surgeon is experienced in the procedure you seek.
What Is the Surgery Fee?
Although many fees figure into the total price of cosmetic surgery, a telephone quote may only include the surgeon's fee in order to sound more affordable. As the cost of the operating room, anesthesiologist, and implants can add thousands to the total price, you must ask if these are included in the estimate. Do not accept the response "We cannot give you an estimate until we see you." This may be a ploy to lure you into the office.
What Is the Consultation Fee?
The consultation fee may range from 0 to more than $150. If no consultation fee is charged, then surgical fees may be higher. If you are charged a consultation fee, ask if it can be deducted from your surgical fee.
Is the Doctor Punctual?
If the receptionist's answer is an unequivocal "yes," then expect to be seen promptly, but be understanding if your surgeon was detained by an operation or an emergency. If you wait more than 30 minutes, it is reasonable to ask the doctor to waive your consultation fee.
To begin your search, call the ASPRS, ask for the names of surgeons in your area, and carefully evaluate the surgeon during your consultation.
During your consultation, the plastic surgeon should:
•explain each procedure thoroughly, including alternatives, risks, and limitations
•describe recovery in detail
•clearly explain what the proposed procedure will and will not do to improve your appearance, as well as the extent of improvement you can expect
•use understandable terms and answer your questions fully
•put you at ease so that you are comfortable discussing all of your concerns
If you achieve this rapport with the first plastic surgeon you see, there is no need to seek another opinion. If not, this does not necessarily mean that the surgeon is a poor one—only that you did not establish rapport. Nevertheless, the surgeon you choose will eventually be operating on you. If you are less than completely comfortable, consider seeing another plastic surgeon. Do not underestimate the importance of rapport.
When you consult with a surgeon, listen for exaggerated claims regarding outcome. If the surgeon promises or guarantees results, be wary. Advertisements may allege that liposuction will result in a 50-pound weight loss or that a face-lift will help you look 20 years younger. Do not be seduced by these extravagant claims, but recognize them as lures to bring you to a particular office and as clues to potentially unethical surgeons.