No matter what procedure or treatment you are considering, a plastic surgery consultation is the most important part of the decision-making process. And regardless of how much you have read or researched, nothing compares to having a one-on-one conversation with an experienced and knowledgeable plastic surgeon.
During a consultation, you have the unique opportunity to pepper your potential plastic surgeon with a litany of questions, as well as get some clarity regarding what to expect moving forward. A consultation is your chance to get as much information about your upcoming treatment as possible, and you do not want to squander this opportunity by coming in unprepared. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your consultation with a plastic surgeon.
Identify Any Problem Areas
Regardless of your initial reason for scheduling a plastic surgery consultation, this is your chance to learn more about potential cosmetic treatments that can help you look your best. Before your consultation, try to identify any “problem area” on your body. This can be an area that does not look the way you desire or you would like to change.
The best way to do this is to find a well-lit full-length mirror and to stare at your reflection for a significant amount of time. After fully looking over your appearance, grab a pen and paper and write down every single thing you would alter or change about the way you look. While some items on your list may be unrealistic or wishful thinking, this exercise is a great way to make sure you address any potential problem areas with your plastic surgeon.
Oftentimes it is best to combine several treatments into one surgical visit, such as combining liposuction with body contouring or breast implants with a breast lift. By being comprehensive in identifying areas of the body you would like to improve, you are giving your surgeon the opportunity to suggest the most efficient and effective ways to achieve the results you desire.
Make a List of Questions About Your Plastic Surgeon
Choosing a plastic surgeon is a very important task. You are trusting this individual to alter your appearance, so you need to make sure you think through your choice. That should mean spending time reading reviews, testimonials, and performing other research to make sure your chosen plastic surgeon is up to the task at hand.
After you have made your decision, you now have the opportunity to “interview” your chosen doctor during the plastic surgery consultation. You should ask your surgeon various questions about their experience, qualifications, facilities, equipment, and surgical success. Make sure to create a comprehensive list of potential questions to ask your surgeon, as this is your best opportunity to vet your surgeon to make sure they are the right choice.
Some common questions to ask during a plastic surgery consultation include:
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)?
- Are surgeries performed in an accredited surgical facility?
- How long have you been a plastic surgeon? How many surgeries have you performed?
- What surgery is your expertise? Are you experienced in my specific surgery?
- Do you have any before/after pictures available to view? (More on this in a bit!)
- Can I see or read a few patient testimonials?
Make a List of Questions About Your Procedure
A plastic surgery consultation is not only your opportunity to vet your surgeon, but a chance to learn everything you need to know about your upcoming procedure. Online resources will help you understand your chosen procedure, but nothing compares to getting information directly from your surgeon.
Surgery is inherently complicated, so try to make a comprehensive list of specific questions regarding your chosen procedure. This should include questions regarding how you should prepare for the surgery, your doctor’s surgical plan, and what the recovery period will be like. The more information you can get regarding your plastic surgeon’s exact plan, the more your mind will be at ease regarding the procedure.
Some common questions to ask about your upcoming procedure include:
- What are the potential risks or complications of this procedure?
- What are the steps you will take to complete this procedure?
- How long will the recovery process be? Do I need to take time off from work?
- Will there be any scarring? What will the scarring look like?
- Will the surgery be painful? Will I be in discomfort following surgery?
Assemble Your Complete Medical History
Before your plastic surgery consultation, try to round up your complete medical history. During your consultation, your surgeon will study your medical history and perform a physical examination to determine which cosmetic treatment is best for you. Save your surgeon the hassle by assembling your complete medical history in a well-organized folder, including any allergies, previous treatments or surgeries, pre-existing conditions, and other medical details. Assembling a comprehensive medical history allows your surgeon to identify any possible complications that may arise, and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.
Research How Much the Procedure Should Cost
You need to come to your plastic surgery consultation with at least a vague idea of how much the procedure typically costs. Do some research online to discover the expected cost of your upcoming treatment, viewing a few different practices and websites to get an accurate range. Once you have thoroughly researched how much your procedure should cost, you should determine what your budget is for the procedure.
During a plastic surgery consultation, you should be given an accurate cost estimate. By performing research prior to your consultation, you will have an educated understanding of whether your surgeon is offering a fair price. If the price is outside of the expected price range, you may want to find a different surgeon, or at least ask your surgeon why the cost estimate is so high. For all you know, you could be requesting a complicated procedure that goes above and beyond what a typical surgery would entail.
If the price seems fair but is outside of your projected budget, you should ask your surgeon about financing options. Most plastic surgeons offer financing plans, allowing you to pay for your cosmetic procedures in smaller monthly installments rather than all at once. If you are considering a financing plan, make sure to bring this up during your plastic surgery consultation.
Look at Your Surgeon’s Before and After Pictures
The key to preparing for a plastic surgery consultation is knowing exactly what you want. It can be difficult to describe your ideal appearance using just words, so try to find some images online that reflect your desired aesthetic. Take a look at your surgeon’s before and after photo gallery and try to find a few pictures that best display your desired result.
Most surgeons have extensive before and after galleries available online, allowing you to scroll through different patients’ results until you find one that best reflects your body type and desired results.
Have an Open Mind
While it is important to educate yourself as much as possible, you still need to remember that your plastic surgeon is ultimately the expert. Avoid being confrontational or aggressive, as your goal during a plastic surgery consultation should be to form a successful partnership with your surgeon. You need to be ready to strike that balance between asserting your needs and opinions while also being respectful of your doctor’s expertise and experience. In many cases, patients who form a strong and trusting relationship with their surgeon tend to be the most satisfied with their results.
Schedule a Plastic Surgery Consultation with Dr. Lapuerta
Properly preparing for a plastic surgery consultation increases the chances of you and your surgeon getting on the same page, paving the path for a successful surgery. Dr. Leo Lapuerta, a plastic surgeon with over two decades of experience performing plastic surgery in Houston, Katy, and Pearland, Texas, has developed a reputation as a doctor who clearly communicates with patients.
During a plastic surgery consultation, Dr. Lapuerta will take the time to partner with the patient, providing them with all the information they need in a relatable, down-to-earth manner. If you are interested in discussing which treatment or procedure is best for you, request a plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Lapuerta today.