Is It Common to See a Plastic Surgeons MA for Your First Post-op After a Tummy Tuck?

I was told I would see the surgeon at 3 weeks and again at 3 months. The initial and remainder appintsments are done by an MA. Should I run from this guy or is this common?

Doctor Answers 17

Post Op Visits After A Tummy Tuck - Do I Need To See The Surgeon Or Would A MA Do?

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Thank you for your excellent question.  I personally feel that it is the surgeon's responsibility to see the patient on the day after surgery and at least one or more times during the first week.  Surgeries that appear perfect in the operating room can turn sour overnight, and I feel the surgeon has the greatest ability to pick up subtle changes which may indicate an impending problem.  

That being said, a well trained nurse practitioner or PA (physician assistant) might, over time, have the expertise to pick up the same subtle changes, especially if they are in contact by text and e-mail with the plastic surgeon.  MAs, on the other hand, are less well trained, usually a training course of one year or less and a high school diploma.  

Cosmetic plastic surgery is retail medicine, and as such, you should get what you pay for, which means to me the surgeon's expertise and not that of a MA.    

Plastic surgery follow-up

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Thanks for an outstanding question.  I value the nurses, medical assistants, perating room technicians, and aestheticians who work for me very much.  Without all their hard work I would not be able to deliver the care we do.  In my practice, where I perform 2-3 tummy tucks a week, I would personally see you on day 1 and an additional two times in the first ten days, at minimum.  I would also personally see you at three weeks, six weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and the year mark.  Each visit allows me to manage and protect your result.  Also, I have learned alot from my patients over the years describing their experiences and giving their honest impression of the result and the process. 

Tummy Tuck Followup

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   Some very busy and successful plastic surgeons do not see the followups every time.  This should not be seen as a negative, if the surgeon is busy and has a good reputation.  It may be physically impossible for a surgeon to be present for every followup in a busy practice. 

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Who sees patients after surgery

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Every surgeon has their own follow up pathway and plan for which team member you will see post-op and when.  If you are concerned at all about this pre-op, I would ask your surgeon about this and seek a second opinion.

First tummy tuck post op appoitment should be with your Surgeon

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As noted by many of the other respondents, your question is excellent from the stand point of; how we as surgeons, view the care of our patients.  Medicine, these days, has taken on many of the attributes of business for good or ill,  but at the end of the day, the doctor/patient relationship and how that plays out is the crucial factor.  Although I respect and utilize physician extenders, they are not ultimately responsible for the care of my patients.  I feel that is it imperative to see my post op patients within a day or two of surgery and with tummy tuck cases, usually twice in the first week.  It is not that the medical assistant can’t change the bandage or evaluate the wound, it is the hands on approach in the post operative period by the surgeon that makes an elective procedure easier.  It gives comfort to the patient during those difficult first few days.   

Also the surgeon should be more astute in picking up complications that if caught early would be significantly less of an issue.  Many of us have very busy practices and put in many hours of work but make it an absolute point to see our post operative patients frequently and for me, as often as they wish.  No one should be too busy to see their patients.

TT followup

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In our practice I would see you on the first day. I often place a drain during surgery and depending on the output it is usually removed around the 3rd-5th day. This would be done by myself or my nurse depending on our operative schedule. Don't run just will be very sore! Best of luck

M. Scott Haydon, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Care after tummy tuck

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Thanks for your question.  All plastic surgery practices run differently.  This depends on the experience level of the support staff (MAs, RNs, etc), how busy the practice is, and the philosphy of the surgeon.  In my practice, I see all of my patients at all of their postoperative visits unless I am unavailable due to an emergency.  I have always felt that postoperative care is a very important part of the surgical process.  As a patient, you have to decide what you are comfortable with.  Good luck! 

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Who Should Do Follow-up after Tummy Tuck Surgery?

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As you have found, there  many different ways to manage postoperative care patients, depending on the specific plastic surgeons' practice.  In my opinion, generally speaking, it is best for patients to be evaluated by the operating plastic surgeon as much as possible.  Based on your question, I think that you would be most comfortable if this were to occur;  make sure that you feel comfortable with your decision when it comes to selection of plastic surgeon…

Best wishes.

Follow up with your Plastic Surgeon

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It is best to see the Plastic Surgeon for post operative visits.  I do not recommend seeing the MA, nurse, or PA, unless you are seeing them with the surgeon. 

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Plastic Surgeon Follow-up Care After Tummy Tuck Surgery

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While I think that MAs can play a very valuable role in a plastic surgery practice, your plastic surgeon has the primary obligation and experience to see you for the majority of your follow-ups. Seeing an MA as a substitute every now and then because the patients and the doctor's schedule do not coincide is one thing. But most patients understandbly feel oblifated  in seeing the one who actually performed the procedure and is most interested in their thoughts and experience as to how their recovery and results are looking.

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.