The word consultation means formal discussion. It’s difficult to have a discussion about a topic if you don’t have a general understanding of it, and your plastic surgery consultation is no exception. While the surgeon is the expert, you can, and should, come prepared with a basic understanding of the procedures you are interested in.
Just like consulting a map won’t do you much good if you don’t know where you are at or where you are trying to go, a successful consultation for plastic surgery requires you to have an understanding of where you are at, where you are going and how you would like to get there. Most likely this plan will change and evolve as a result of the consultation.
“Francis Bacon, the 16th century English philosopher, famously stated, ‘Knowledge is power,’” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Restifo. “Empower yourself. Arm yourself with knowledge. That way, you’ll be able to make good choices about plastic surgery.”
Educate Yourself on Plastic Surgery
The Internet is a great tool to help you prepare for your consultation. Unfortunately, it is also full of confusing, and often downright wrong, information. A good place to find reliable information is on your board certified plastic surgeon’s website.
Review your surgeon’s website:
- Biography and Certifications
- Procedure Information
- Before & After Gallery
Begin by navigating to the surgeon’s biography page. Here you can learn a little bit about their training, experience, education and the types of procedures they specialize in. Check their qualifications and make sure you are comfortable placing your health in their hands. Board certification and membership to either the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and/or The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Next, navigate to the portion of your surgeon’s website that focuses on the procedures they offer. Find the procedure you are interested in, and educate yourself using the content, whether it is videos, text or a combination of the two. Another great place to find educational content on plastic surgery procedures is the Plastic Surgery Channel. A quick word search for the procedure you are interested in will bring up a variety of videos on the topic, all featuring board certified plastic surgeons.
“Don’t do your research after your consultation,” cautions Dr. Restifo. “You should go to your surgeon’s webpage and read content. This will lead to a series of questions in your mind which you should write down, and ask your surgeon during your consultation.”
Bring Pictures with You
After you have an understanding of the procedure, it is important to view the surgeon’s before and after gallery. Look at the patients in the before pictures, and try to find someone who started in a similar place to where you are. Did they achieve the results you are looking for? It can be very helpful to select the after pictures you like the most, and bring them with you to your consultation – either in print or on your phone. This way, when you explain to your surgeon the look you are going for, you can also show them the look you desire.
Are You Physically Ready for Your Consultation?
Preparing yourself for your plastic surgery consultation also involves a physical aspect. If you’re interested in having a breast lift, but you plan to lose twenty pounds before you have surgery, you should reach your goal weight prior to your consultation. Being at a stable weight as close to possible to your ideal body weight, points out Restifo, allows your surgeon to assess your body more accurately.
Paperwork is Part of the Consultation
Your surgeon’s goal is to help you safely achieve the outcomes you desire. A big part of safety is making sure your health is in order before proceeding with elective surgery. You will need to fill out medical health history forms to provide your surgeon with a complete picture of your health.
In many cases, you may be able to fill out medical questionnaires online prior to your consultation. Restifo recommends his patients take care of paperwork in advance. This way, he says, the time they spend in the office can be spent meeting with him.
In the Office
During the consultation your surgeon will talk to you about your goals, assess your body, review your health history, and give you personalized answers to your questions. The consultation is your best chance to ask questions and get answers, so come prepared with those questions!