So you’ve made an appointment for a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, but now what? Understanding a first-time consult can bring about some nerves and unknowns, we tapped top plastic surgeons to share what they wish their patients knew before coming in for their first visit.
Plastic surgery is a serious financial commitment that should be handled accordingly. New York facial plastic surgeon Matthew White, MD says to ask yourself certain questions before booking an appointment with a surgeon: “Does this procedure fit into my budget? Can I afford this, or could something else in my financial life potentially suffer if I have this procedure?”
All plastic surgeons would agree that proper post-operative care is critical to a great outcome. As Houston, TX plastic surgeon Olga Bachilo, MD notes, having a support system at home for post-procedure care is vital and should be considered before opting for any procedure.
Give it Serious Thought
“Plastic surgery is not something to do on a whim, and should be carefully thought out,” says Dr. White, recommending putting some serious thought behind any procedure before committing. “Ask yourself questions like: Do I really want this? And how will my life actually improve if I have this procedure?”
Make the most out of your consultation by heeding New York facial plastic surgeon Lee Ann Klausner, MD’s advice: “Realize what bothers you the most and focus on discussing options that primarily address that issue. It’s fine if you also decide to address other things, but patients are most satisfied when they address the thing that bothers them the most.”
Set Realistic Expectations
Dr. Bachilo reminds us to have realistic expectations as we head into a consultation. “A lot of celebrities and influencers post retouched pictures, [with] results that are impossible to achieve even with multiple surgeries.” If you choose to bring “inspiration photos,” ensure they are unretouched and unaltered, adds Dr. Bachilo.
Understand You May Be Told “No”
The best plastic surgeons are those who aren’t afraid to turn a patient away if he or she has unrealistic expectations or is not a good candidate. “It’s hard to hear ‘no,’ but I do not overpromise and underdeliver, I do quite the opposite,” says Dr. Bachilo. “A patient may not be a good candidate for certain things. It’s all about the best possible results.”
“Be prepared before you go in,” recommends Dr. White. “One great resource to research about procedures is NewBeauty. Do your research, come up with a list of questions and bring a notepad to take notes,” says the surgeon.
According to Dr. Bachilo, you should not only bring questions you have about the procedure itself, but also about the facility where the procedure will be taking place: “Is it a credentialed outpatient or inpatient facility?” Separately, be sure to gather your medical history and current list of medications to discuss with the surgeon.
Dr. Klausner says bringing photos of yourself at a younger age may be helpful to show the surgeon how your facial features have aged over the years. Dr. Bachilo agrees, noting these photos are especially helpful for facelift patients.
Research Your Surgeon
Dr. Bachilo says taking a look at your potential surgeon’s website and social media presence for information and before-and-after photos is always a good idea. More importantly, be sure to research your surgeon before booking a consult to ensure the doctor has the experience and appropriate board certifications, adds Dr. Klausner.
Consider Your Health
According to Dr. White, your health is a huge factor to consider before opting for plastic surgery. “Is your health in the best condition to have this procedure? Do you have chronic health problems? Do you eat healthy? Are you on a routine exercise program? Sometimes these interventions can result in a dramatic improvement in your appearance and mood,” cautions Dr. White. Similarly, your emotional state is not something to take lightly. “Is your emotional health in the best condition to have this procedure? Are you going through a major life event, like a move, divorce or loss of a loved one? Adding the stress of plastic surgery into the mix can make recovery much more difficult,” says Dr. White.
Take Your Time
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to plastic-surgery consults is that the clock is ticking, says Dr. White. “You don’t have to make a commitment on the day you come in for your consult,” he says. “Take time to get to know your doctor, and it never hurts to get another opinion.”