Any medical procedure is likely to be overwhelming, and plastic surgery is no exception! One of the early stages in the process of getting plastic surgery—but probably a long while after you first started considering cosmetic surgery—is your first consultation with a plastic surgeon. A consult gives the doctor an opportunity to make recommendations based on your body and medical history, and it gives you an opportunity to get a sense of how that doctor and clinic approach their work. Read on for five tips to help you prepare for your consultation.
Do Your Research
Whether you’ve had your heart set on rhinoplasty for a decade and finally ready to take the leap, or you’ve recently started thinking about a Mommy Makeover, prepare for your consultation by doing as much research as you can. Read as much as you can about procedure(s) you’re considering, as well as surgeons. Find reviews and information about different clinics’ practices. Learning as much as you can about the procedure, the doctor, and plastic surgery processes in general will help you to figure out what aspects are most important to you, where you have the most anxieties, and what sorts of questions you want to ask.
Don’t rely on your memory. Whether you are printing out wikipedia pages, have an ipad folder, send yourself emails, or come in with an old fashioned notepad and pencil: make sure you bring notes.
On the other hand, having too many notes can make you overwhelmed and frustrated, and liable to abandon them entirely. Consider organizing your notes into three categories: comments about particular procedures you are considering and WHY you are interested in them; questions about the doctor’s recommendations for procedures and processes, and questions about surgery timelines, preparation, aftercare, and clinic policies.
…And Take Notes
Just as important as bringing notes with you is make sure you take as many notes as you can at the time. You will forget lots of things that are said. You don’t need to transcribe the entire consultation by any means. Make note of any questions or comments you weren’t expecting.
If you find yourself easily overwhelmed in the moment, plan to give yourself an hour after the meeting to sit down and add things to your notes while the meeting is fresh in your mind.
Give Yourself Time to Make Decisions
While you may have the opportunity to make an appointment at or immediately following the consultation, don’t think there is anything wrong with taking some time to review your notes and discuss with friends, family, and any caregivers before you do. Surgery is a big commitment, and many surgeries have weeks of recovery time, so even if you have the ability to make an appointment right away, you are encouraged to take the time to schedule only when you are prepared.
Trust Your Gut
If you don’t feel like a particular doctor, clinic, or procedure is the right fit for you, that’s okay! A consult gives you a chance to learn more about the recommended procedure, but also to get to know the doctor and understand how that clinic operates. A place might be recommended by your best friend or have stellar reviews and still not be the best place for you, and that’s okay!
Choosing a plastic surgeon is an important decision, and the process can be overwhelming. Preparing for your consult can help make you feel comfortable with the process and know that you’ve prepared for the process.
Want to learn more? Contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sterling!