Your Initial Consultation: A Guide
Your initial consultation with a facial plastic surgeon is your opportunity to get a feel for this doctor, his or her bedside manner, and the practice. After the consultation you should have a better idea about whether you would want to undergo a surgery or procedure with this person.
You may have found this doctor online, or perhaps you were introduced by a friend who thinks he or she may be a good fit for your aesthetic needs. Either way, you have to do some of your own digging before the consultation.
We detail the best ways to check credentials in our comprehensive article on checking your surgeon's background. In this article we tell you how to find out if a doctor is involved in any malpractice suits (and why this information does or doesn't matter), and explain the nuances of proper board certification (and why it definitely matters).
Your Consultation: What to Look Out For
Arrive at your consultation on time. Hopefully, the surgeon will also be running on time. You should meet with the surgeon, not just staff members.
Be prepared to discuss your personal medical history, including major illnesses, past surgeries and any chronic conditions you may have such as diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular issues. In some cases, your family medical history may also be relevant. You should also tell the physician about all the medications and supplements you take on a regular basis.
Hopefully you've done some research about the procedure, its risks and benefits, and the various techniques for performing it before meeting with the surgeon. This background will help ensure an informed and intelligent discussion and should prepare you to ask the necessary questions needed to make your decision. Our library of articles on various facial rejuvenation procedures, including facelift, rhinoplasty and eyelid surgery, can help you speed this learning curve.
The surgeon will examine your facial anatomy and ask you what you hope to change. Try to be as clear as possible about your aesthetic goals, and then listen carefully to the surgeon's response. Your surgeon may make a different suggestion based on your aesthetic or functional goals and examination, including additional procedures on other facial features. While these may be needed to achieve facial balance, be sure to question why these procedures are necessary. Ultimately, you choose your surgeon based on their knowledge and experience, so listen to their suggestions and their reasons for making them.
You may also wish to see your surgeon's portfolio of before-and-after photos. These can certainly give you an idea of the doctor's style and vision, but keep in mind that there's a chance the pictures have been retouched. Ask if you may speak to any of his patients who have had the procedure you are considering.
You should also ask to tour the facilities, especially if your surgery will be performed on site.
Your surgeon should discuss the pertinent risks of the procedure and what you can expect during your recovery as well as provide an estimate of the cost for your facial rejuvenation procedure. Make sure you are clear about what is included in this estimate and what is not.
Not all surgeons charge for a consultation visit, but some may. The fee may be waived or applied to your surgery should you book one, but you should never feel pressured to schedule your surgery because of a consultation fee, no matter how lofty.
If you should choose to schedule a surgery with a particular office, you will likely be asked to leave a deposit to hold your date. You will also make a preoperative appointment. This gives you another opportunity to ask any questions about the surgery or your surgeon's qualifications.
Remember, your life (and looks) will be in the hands of the surgeon you choose, so choose wisely!
Marcia V. Ormsby, MD
Annapolis Aesthetic Surgery, Inc.
116 Defense Hwy.,
Annapolis, MD 21401
10807 Falls Road, #100
Baltimore, MD 21093
Yael Halaas, MD, FACS
60 East 56th Street
New York, NY 10022