Are Virtual Plastic Surgery Consultations Okay for Out-of-state Patients?

I am considering the Brazilian Butt Lift, I know I have enough fat in the abs, back, and sides. The issue is that the surgeon I am considering practices in Florida, however I live in Baltimore metropolitan. Instead of traveling twice, is there such a thing as them considering accepting photos to look at your body? I know when I was thinking about going to Columbia, South America they would, but I do not feel safe going all the way over there no matter what the price and reviews are. But will most doctors consider this?

Doctor Answers 7

Virtual consultations

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Certainly there are preliminary steps that a virtual consultation can satisfy. Some patients can be immediately eliminated from being an good surgical candidate. Broad options might be entertained and patients educated. However, a surgeon should never give recommendations or a promise to perform surgery without a comprehensive physical examination. For this reason, while you can travel wherever you want under the pretext of having surgery, neither you nor your surgeon should be committed to this and you should be prepared to have the surgery postponed or cancelled. I always meet and consult with a patient a minimum of two times  plus a pre-op visit prior to surgery.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Electronic Communications are useful tools, but not substitutes for a consultation

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Hi there-

In my Orlando Plastic Surgery, Skin Care, and Hair Restoration Center, we have many patients who come to us from out of town, and frequently use technology to assist both the patient and ourselves in the evaluation and planning of the procedure, as well as in the education of the patient.

The most important thing is to be sure that technology is used responsibly...

It would be appropriate to ask questions via email (as you do on this site), send photos for preliminary opinions (understanding this may not be totally secure), and make travel arrangements and plans electronically...

You should still expect any responsible surgeon to require that you visit for an in-person consultation prior to allowing you to schedule a specific procedure, and you need to understand that the details of the procedure cannot be understood prior to the examination and consultation.

When dealing with a responsible and Board Certified Surgeon, technology can assist you in achieving the outcome you want, and doing so safely. 

Virtual consutlations

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There is nothing like having an in-person consulation!  However, because of travel constraints certainly a preliminary discussion can be made on the phone and with good photos.  But prior ot any surgery an in-person consultation should be performed.

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

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Brazilian Buttock enhancement

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Contact by  e mail, looking at pictures on the internet are introductory conversations , and should not be considered as a  medical consultation.

Nothing replaces personal consultation and physical examination, amount of fat, quality of skin , expectations, expected results, potential risks and how are they dealt with, level of comfort with the physician.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Some do, some don't

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Virtual consultations are new. They are better than nothing, but still leave a bit to be desired. At least the doctor can see what you have and they can give you their opinion over the internet and you can meet the doctor; however, face to face consultations are the best. Also, today, there are MANY competent surgeons in your location - so see someone locally first. You are correct in not wanting to go out of the country, I have seen many horror stories come from cosmetic surgery in South American countries.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Are Virtual Consultations Safe

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There is NO substitute for a face to face consultation and examination. Can a car mechanic accurately diagnose every egine problem with a "virtual consultation"? Obviously, not.

Depending on the quality of the visual images, simple issues can be consulted on virtually but with everything else this is a lower compromise and trade off. Once you start trading off you are potentially compromising your safety and long term appearance.

Finally, remember that you are not the only one audiotioning here. Just as you may want surgery from one plastic surgeon you should be equally focussed on reading him and his office staff and ask yourself: is he comptenent? is he nice? do you feel comfortable with him and his staff? Let them impress you equally well before you entrust yourself to him.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Out of town patients love our iConsult!

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Thanks for the great question! This is one of the most common questions we get from out of town patients.

In my practice we offer an interactive iConsult for our out of town or international patients. Out of town patients send photos of the area they would like to address using our photo guidelines (found on our website). They then schedule a convenient time for their iConsult. At the time of the iConsult, we then connect the patient's computer to our own computer through a secure encrypted network. 

The patient will then see their own photos transform in front of their eyes so that they can get an idea of what they could look like after surgery. More importantly, the patient also has an opportunity to ask as many questions as they would like. This has been a very convenient tool and it helps the patient and our practice plan for your visit. It has also been a great way for out of town patients to follow up after their surgery.

A couple of very important points:

1. A virtual consultation can NEVER take the place of a real person-to-person consult. All of our out of town patients come in the day before the surgery to receive their real consult and confirm the findings and review the surgical plan. If the real consult confirms the findings on the virtual consult, the surgery will proceed.

2. Send up to date, well lit pictures. We have guidelines on how to get the best picture quality on our site.

3. Rest assured that you will get a full physical evaluation before your surgery- there is no substitute!

Our out of town or international patients love our iConsult because it allows them to see what they could look like after surgery and allows them to plan a SINGLE visit here to Miami for in person consult/surgery/recovery. 



Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Board Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery

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.