Is it Normal for the Doctor to Not Be Present at the Pre Op Appointment?

Hello, My doctor spent almost 2 hours with me at my consultation and I felt very comfortable with him. I expected that my Dr. would be at my pre-op appointment. But he wasn't. It was the nurse who went over all of my paper work with me and tired on seizers again to confirm implant size. My question is, is that normal that my Dr. was not at the pre op appointment? My husband couldn't make the consultation but was disappointed when he came to the pre-op and the Dr. didn't make an appearance.

Doctor Answers 12

It just depends on the situation

Most times in a straightforward case I do just as your doctor did - I spend as much time as needed without rushing during consultation, and then my nurse does the actual preop preparation, as this mainly entails the formality of paperwork, labwork if needed, prescriptions, preop instructions, and such.  On the other hand, if there is any reason at all why I need to see a patient at the preop appointment too, like she has additional questions or is unsure of the plan, or her husband wants to speak with me, then by all means we make special arrangements to schedule the preop appointment for a time when I can be there too and take care of whatever needs she has.  Additionally, if after the preop appointment further questions arise, then I will make any arrangements necessary to see the patient again prior to surgery.  The bottom line is:  if the case is straightforward, and the patient does not need to see me at preop, my nurse typically does it, and does a great job at doing so with high patient satisfaction; however, if there is any need for me to see the patient (or family) again at any time before surgery, then we most certainly make those arrangements.  We have had very high patient satisfaction with this process, and we are VERY diligent about doing whatever it takes to make our patients happy.  I think the most important thing here is that you communicate openly and honestly with your surgeon, now as well as after the surgery.  I'm sure that he wants to make you happy too, just like most of us would, and he will do what he must to do that.  He just needs your help to let him know if you need something that he may not be aware of.  If your husband still wants to talk to him, then let him know.  Don't ever hide things from your surgeon and just feel disappointed inside.  This is like any relationship, and communication is always vital.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

The pre-operative appointment

Hi Mrs. 510. From the answers below you see that there is a variety of ways that the pre-operative appointment is performed. I believe that the surgeon should be present to answer any outstanding questions and to review any medical issues. Time management is the most difficult part of my practice, but I believe that I exist because of my patients. So even though the nurse can do the majority of the exchange of information, it is still the surgeon's responsibility to perform the history and physical and be sure that the communication lines are maintained. I confirm sizes with the patient and do not delegate that task as that is one of the most common areas of re-operation in many practices. 

David R. Stephens, MD
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Is it Normal for the Doctor to Not Be Present at the Pre Op Appointment?

I personally see each of my patients everytime they come to the office. But I know some doctors have assistants to do some of the more routine work. I think as long as the doctor did the original evaluation and planning and is the one who does the actual surgery it is OK. I am sure he would make time to see you and your husband if you requested it.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Is it Normal for the Doctor to Not Be Present at the Pre Op Appointment?

If your doctor spent 2 hours with you during your consultation he probably answered all of your questions and did not feel the need to be present during your pre-operative visit.  However, with such a caring doctor, he would have certainly been happy to meet with you again if you had remaining issues or your husband wanted to meet with him if you requested it.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Surgeons handle their preoperative affairs differently but you can always request an audience with him if there are questions.

The preoperative workup is often times the formality particularly if the surgeon spent a good deal of time with you at the original consultation. He may delegate completion of the paperwork to his nurse. However, if you want to talk to him again make an appointment.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Doctor at the pre op?

I often make myself available for questions at the pre op visit, but often the surgeon's schedule doesn't allow it.  If I know this will be the case, I will let the patient know this ahead of time.  But it is not uncommon for the doctor to leave that part to the nurse.  It sounds like you are comfortable with the surgeon and they spent plenty of time with you at the consult.  If you wish to meet with the surgeon one more time before surgery, call the office and let them know.  I'm sure they an arrange it for you.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Who does the pre-op?

Does the surgeon have to be at the pre-op? It depends.  If you just came to your consultation and have surgery scheduled very soon after, then they may not think it's necessary.  It also depends on the complication level of your procedure.  The nurse/MA/PA is perfectly capable of going over all of your pre-op instructions.  I typically ask the patient if she would need to see me again, or if she is comfortable with my assistant doing it knowing that she could come in or call me with any questions that may arise or like in your situation, I would pop in to meet your husband and answer any questions he may have.  I recommend calling your surgeon and setting up a re-discuss so your husband can meet him/her, there should be no problem with that.  ac

Angela Champion, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Dr not at pre-op normal?

Every surgeon has a slightly different approach. If he spent two hours with you at the consultation that's more than enough for him/her to be familiar with your medical issues. I am always there for my patients pre-op exam because it gives me a second chance to plan the details of the operation which are frequently a little different for different patients having the same operation. Dr Foster   Lake Tahoe Plastic Surgery

Lawrence Foster, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Doctor at Pre-Op Appointment

Hi - there is no real "standard" for who is at the pre-op appointment, but it is always good to ask who will be going over the pre-op paperwork with you, and if you are not comfortable seeing just the RN or MA, you should schedule a separate appointment to meet with your doctor. I am sure he/she would be happy to answer any questions you have in person. 

Tracy Kayan, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Pre-op appt does not include time with Surgeon unless requested before hand.

Usually the preop appointment is on days when the doctor is NOT in the office so the nurse/assistant can spend time with you instead of helping the doctor see patients.  If however, you or your family need to talk to the doctor again, in my office at least, this can be arranged easily by phone beforehand.

Mark A. Schusterman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

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.