Actual LJC patient with staff

Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Plastic Surgery Consultations

You’ve done your research, and now it’s time for a few face-to-face meetings with plastic surgeons. This is a big step – you’re really starting to move forward with this cosmetic surgery thing!

And you’re probably wondering what your consultation will involve. To help you get ready, we’ve answered the top questions new patients have about cosmetic surgery consultations. Click on a question to get started:

Why do I need a consultation?

The consultation is all about you – finding out who understands your needs and has your best interest in mind. Remember, you should always feel like a partner in your cosmetic surgery process. Consultations can be informative and even fun, but the main objective is to answer these two big questions:

  1. Is this the right surgeon for me? This is your chance to interview surgeons and find the place you feel at home.
  2. Is this procedure right for me? This is the ideal time to learn about the best procedure options to achieve your specific goals.

How long will it take?

This depends on a few things, such as the procedures you’re interested in as well as how many questions you have. It’s important to take enough time to get a good feel for that surgeon’s knowledge, experience, and aesthetic vision. On average, we recommend allowing 1-2 hours for each consultation.

In addition to answering your questions about cosmetic procedures, you should be allowed enough time to discuss the following:

  • Financing and payment options. This should include a detailed quote for the cost of cosmetic surgery, including surgeon’s fees, anesthesia and facility fees, breast implant prices, and any extras such as post-surgical garments, medication, etc.
  • Your surgery time frame. You should feel confident that you will be able to schedule surgery within your personal timeframe. It’s typical for a surgeon to offer you multiple dates to choose from, but never feel like you have to book a surgery at the consultation.

Bottom line: You shouldn’t feel rushed at any point during the consultation.

I’ll get to talk to the actual surgeon, right?

Your surgery center should introduce you to the main team members who will be involved in your care: patient care coordinators, your primary nurse, and of course, your prospective surgeon. Everyone should be prepared for your arrival and you should get the feeling that they are happy to see you.

As you move through the facility, take note of a few things: is the office clean and well-organized? Does the staff seem to enjoy being there? Are they courteous to you, other patients, and one another?

You should definitely spend the bulk of your consultation time actually consulting with the surgeon who would perform your procedure. He or she should listen more than speak, show sincere interest in your reasons for considering surgery and your goals with surgery, and clearly explain all of your options.

Is there a difference between surgeons who give free consultations and those who don’t?

While it’s common for plastic surgeons to offer free consultations, it’s a good idea to ask if there will be a fee to schedule an appointment. Every surgeon has a unique practice philosophy, and some feel they need to be compensated for any time spent with a patient.

In general, we think it’s in your best interest for your plastic surgery consultation to be free of charge. Here’s why:

  • We don’t want you to feel pressured to have surgery with us if you don’t feel 100% that you are in the right place.
  • We view the initial consultation as a time to meet us, get to know your surgeon, and learn more about the surgery process (not as a paid appointment to receive a medical service).
  • We have tailored our consultation process to allow enough time for you to ask all of your questions and make an informed decision about having your procedure with us.

Reputable plastic surgeons who do charge a consultation fee should credit that amount toward your cost of surgery, should you choose to have it with them. Just don’t let that $100 or so dollars push you into choosing a surgeon you’re not sure about! Your results will be with you a lifetime so think long term—pick the surgeon that is best for you, even if you have to abandon the money you spent on that consultation fee.

Will I have to take my clothes off?

Only if you feel comfortable doing so. Keep in mind, if you are consulting about a breast or body procedure, it will probably be helpful for the surgeon to look at you, so he or she can better understand what you would like to change and suggest the best treatment options.

You should always have a nurse present during any physical examination. This is standard policy for all reputable plastic surgeons. If you feel uncomfortable at any point during a consultation, don’t be afraid to end the appointment.

Will I have photos taken?

That depends. For example, we offer breast augmentation patients a chance to have sample “before and after” pictures taken when you try on breast implants during your sizing session. This lets you see how you might look in clothing after your surgery. If you’re looking into facial contouring, we have a nifty computer imaging tool that lets you see your desired changes right before your eyes.

However, the first time you meet with a surgeon is usually not the time they will take “before” photos – after all, you haven’t made a final decision about surgery yet! After you’ve booked your procedure, expect to come back to the surgeon’s office for a pre-op appointment that will include your “before” photo session.

Are there needles involved?

No. A plastic surgery consultation doesn’t include any bloodwork or other tests that may be routine for a doctor’s visit. What should take place is a thorough discussion of your medical history and any prescription or recreational drug use. Plastic surgeons don’t talk about this to judge you, but to ensure that you are clear about your personal risks with surgery.

In some cases, your surgeon might request that you have bloodwork or other tests completed, but she will probably refer you to your primary care physician or another specialist.

Go ahead, tell it like it is—your life depends on it!

It is vital that you are 100% honest about your medical history. Because certain drugs interact with anesthesia, and some conditions can compromise the safety of surgery, you could put your heath at risk by holding back. Your medical information will be kept private.

Wondering how experienced your surgeon is?

While you should feel free to ask any questions you need to get a sense for a surgeon’s skill and aesthetic eye, these 5 basic questions will help you gauge a surgeon’s experience with your procedure:

  • How many times have you performed my procedure?

  • How many cosmetic surgeries do you perform each month?

  • What procedure do you perform most often?

  • What happens if an emergency occurs during surgery?

  • What type of complications have your patients experienced after this procedure?

For more good advice on how to evaluate plastic surgeons and find the right one for you, check out this article from our own Dr. Michael Roark!

Want to learn more about cosmetic surgery at LJC?

Contact us any time for your free consultation, by using our online contact form or calling our office. To learn more about what you need to plan for an awesome cosmetic surgery experience, read our GLAMipedia info on planning your surgery. We look forward to meeting you soon!