5 cosmetic surgery consultation tips: success is no secret

Real Beauty News on 20 May 2009 at 12:47pm

Guest post about cosmetic surgery consultations by board-certified plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, the Facility Director and Surgeon at the Singer Surgery Centre in La Jolla, California.  Dr. Singer has published over 150 publications or national presentations at national and international surgical meetings. He is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and a prior president of the organization.

I’m often asked, “What is the secret to a good consultation with your doctor?

My response: there is no secret.

Common sense and being a very, very cautious consumer are the elements that will help make your consultation a success.

1. Recognize that you get what you pay for

Before the consultation, make sure that the physician is fully trained , ideally a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Check with the State Medical Board Web site about the physician’s license status.

  • A doctor would never give you a free consultation to evaluate a medical condition, so don’t expect a free consultation for cosmetic goals. Doctors who value their time and their patient’s time, will charge you a consultation fee.
  • Always know who you will be consulting with–a patient coordinator, nurse, the doctor, the provider who will treat you, one, all or none of these people. If you are not primarily meeting with the person who will treat you, be concerned. Most doctors will consult with a nurse or aide in the room for everyone’s comfort level.
  • Find out in advance how much time will be scheduled for your consultation. Take your time and ask questions, and be wary of an office or individual who rushes you through your consultation.

2.  Get all the details

Learn what the treatment options are for your desired results. Discuss your life style and what impact the surgery will have on how you spend your time..ie people who swim often are not happy with a facial procedure that requires wearing makeup at all times. Can you continue to pull your hair back in a ponytail and not have a seriously altered hair line.

  • Learn the positive and negative potential outcomes for every treatment option presented to you. Ask about your role in achieving the desired results.
  • Ask specifically about the doctor’s experience and success with the options recommended for you. Looking at pictures of the doctor’s own results is positive, but is not a guarantee that you will achieve those results
  • Ask specifically which option the doctor recommends and why
  • Ask specifically why the doctor may not suggest other options you may have considered

3.  Ask specifically about your investment

It’s important to learn the total cost of treatment. Some procedures achieve results with one treatment, others require multiple treatments. Know specifically the course recommended for you, and what it will cost in money, time and patience. What additional fees, if any: lab tests, anesthesia, operating room and supplies.

  • In addition to the money you will spend, how much time will treatment require? What must you do to prepare? How long will it take to recover? The time you invest has value to you. A one-time week away from daily social life may be a fair trade-off to permanent and really positive results.
  • Know your personal limits. Don’t finance more than you can afford. Don’t commit to a procedure expecting you’ll recover more quickly than recommended; plan to take all the time you need to recover. Don’t ignore the real possibilities of discomfort, potential adverse events or even the potential that you won’t achieve your goals.

4. Look for full transparency

  • Don’t hide anything–your medical history, personal history, past procedures, goals or motivations from your doctor.
  • Expect and even ask for full disclosure. You have the right to ask your doctor if he/she has told you everything you need to know.
  • Be careful of the sale. Yes, you want to feel as though you are the very best “customer” who has walked through your doctor’s door. But, when someone gives you all the great promises and hype but overlooks the very important information about cosmetic medical procedures–run. They are selling you, not consulting with you.

5. Trust your intuition

If you don’t feel totally comfortable, appreciated, safe and secure, you should not elect treatment. Consult with someone else.