If there is no insurance pre-certification involved, and is a cosmetic procedure, I try to get my patients booked within 2 weeks of their consultation. I they know their schedule we can sometimes book their surgery at the time of their consultation.
The sequence starts with a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon after which a form or letter is submitted to your insurance company. After a reply, the surgery is scheduled. Usually, the most time-consuming part is the insurance company review. If you are paying for surgery yourself, this would not be required. Many offices could see you for consultation and then schedule surgery within a number of weeks. Let the office manager know about your situation.
Timing from consultation to surgery will vary widely depending on the type of procedure you are interested in, your comfort level with making decisions quickly and if any health checks need to be completed as well as possible mammogram, or insurance approval. Typically it is best to meet with your surgeon at least twice before your surgery to make sure you have all your questions answered and you feel confident about the process and surgeon. Having surgery within about 2-4wks from the time of your consult can be accomplished. You have to also consider your recovery time and follow-up appointments before moving. The best thing to do is start with a consultation and come up with a plan and timeline that meets your needs.
For some once they have made up their mind they are ready to go, and we like to offer a date within a week or two of consultation if they are certain. The type of breast surgery will also be factor in when you feel ready to travel.
If a procedure needs to be pre-approved by insurance, this process can take up to 6 weeks. If the procedure is cosmetic then the wait time depends on how busy the physician is, and how long the surgery takes (it may take longer to find a 5 hour block of time on the surgery schedule, than a 2 hour block, for example). The best way to find out is to call some Plastic Surgeons in your area and ask.
The timing of surgery is usually determined by the type of surgical problem and the level of urgency. Elective surgery refers to the fact that the surgery is non-emergent and the patient's health allows orderly evaluation of the problem including consultation, evaluation with necessary tests and studies, and scheduling to allow the patient sufficient time to arrange for the necessary "down time" with postoperative recovery.
If the problem is an insurance related benefit, then the insurance company may require additional time for pre-authorization of the procedure(s), and if denied, additional time will be required for the appeal process. If the procedure is "self-pay" such as with cosmetic surgery, timing is usually dictated by availability of the surgeon and the operating room, as well as the patient's desired recovery schedule.