Would Photos Be Enough Before Surgery or Should I See the Doctor?

I live in Ireland and wish to get my Arm Lift procedure done in New York. Would I have to attend visits before the procedure or would photos be enough for the surgeon?

Doctor Answers 14

Long Distance Surgery

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I always recommend seeing and meeting with the plastic surgeon before committing to the surgery.  Email and phone conversations are great, but you should atleast arrive a day or 2 earlier and meet with your surgeon and not just meet him the day of surgery.

Good luck.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Always Meet and Be Examined by Your Surgeon Before Hand

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Photos are no substitute for an exam, but certainly may have enough information to start the process of reserving OR time and setting up an evaluation prior to surgery by a few days by your surgeon. Always Meet and Be Examined by Your Surgeon Before Hand

Surgery tourism

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It is always important to meet with your surgeon in person before scheduling a procedure. Photographs cannot demonstrate the elasticity of the skin nor does Internet communication equal forming an in person relationship with your surgeon and his staff. I would hate to have a patient plan a surgery and to cross the pond only to discover at the last moment that there are issues affecting the surgical plan or outcome. It doesn't leave you enough time to consider your options. I know that with the advantage of the British pound over the dollar, it is much better financially for you to come to the US or Canada instead of staying in the British Isles or going to Europe. It might be worth a brief trip to the states in order to meet with several plastic surgeons among whom you could then select. Thanks to JetBlue and other discount airlines, you could make plans during such a visit and then return for surgery. Best of luck!

Flying in for surgery

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Thank you for your question.

Every surgeon's practice will vary..  Personally, I do not like to operate on patients without talking to them and/or meeting with them at least 2 days before surgery.  Some form of communication prior to surgery allows me to make sure that the patient and I will be a "good fit".  Basic questions such as medical history, potential contra-indications, goals can be addressed via phone or email prior to making the determination that the patient is a good candidate for the procedure.

I hope this helps.

Arm surgery and doctor

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If you are interested in arm rejuvenation surgery, it is always best to have an in person consultation both for you and the doctor.   Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Virtual consultation

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I think a good set of high quality digital photos taken using the instructions provided by your plastic surgeon would be helpful- I think its reasonable to send these photos along and then wait for the surgeon's opinion. If it sounds favorable, consider booking a flight and staying locally for a week or so for your pre-op visit, surgery and recovery. Travelling for plastic surgery is never an ideal scenario, but if you're motivated to see a particular plastic surgeon, than make the necessary arrangements to ensure that your post-operative recovery is smooth. Some surgeons use drains for brachioplasty (I personally do not)- you might have to find somebody close to home to remove these surgical drains.

Still Need to be Seen Before the Operation.

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Sending photos and filling out forms over e mail can be helpful, but one still should see the doctor a few days before the surgery.  It is there the doctor can determine if you are a candidate.  He may see something that needs to change the plan, or may preclude you from surgery. 

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Not seeing a patient preoperatively is malpractice

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While pictures can help with plannig - all plastic surgeons use them - there is no substutute for a hands on examination. Skin quality, tone, overall health, mental stability, etc., can only be evaluated in person.

Out of town patients in my practice are evaluated at least a few days before the scheduled surgery and if the patient is not a good candidate, the surgery will be cancelled. Would you want a surgeon that operated on anyone at all without any safety or surgical criteria other than the ability to pay? I wouldn't!

David Shuter, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon

Have your arm lift in Ireland

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There is no absolute need to come from Ireland to NY for a procedure as basic as an arm lift. There is no magic in this operation and your scar won't be significantly better in you come to NY vs finding a good plastic surgeon in Ireland. I would recommend Dr. O'Reilly in Dublin. It might be best to travel that far for more sophisticated surgeries, but really not for an arm lift.

Photos before surgery

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If you are willing to bet your future appearance on Internet and newspaper clippings and several pictures which could easily have been photo-shopped - you better HOPE the Luck Of the Irish (reference) holds up and really works for you.

These days there are outstanding Plastic surgeons everywhere and I am sure Ireland is not short of them. But if you insist on traveling abroad for your surgery, you should meet and interview your surgeon well before surgery and be ready to walk away. Do NOT sheepishly go there in time for surgery and believe his/her press clippings and brag book photos. You may be sorely disappointed

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.