Aesthetic consultations are an excellent way to learn more about plastic surgery, whether you’ve already decided on a specific procedure or you just want to explore your options. A reputable plastic surgeon won’t pressure you to commit to having surgery during your consultation. Instead, he or she will treat your consultation as a chance to provide you with information—Whether or not you choose to proceed with treatment will be completely up to you.
During your consultation, you’ll be invited to ask any questions you have about the procedure you’re interested in. If you’re not sure what procedure you’d like to have, you can discuss which aspects of your appearance you want to change during your consultation and receive treatment recommendations. If you decide to go ahead with surgery, your surgeon will help you develop a recovery plan that fits into your schedule.
To make the most out of your consultation, you should learn how to prepare for your appointment before you contact us. In the guide below, we’ll cover what you should expect before, during, and after your aesthetic consultation.
Before Your Consultation
Prior to your consultation, you should take the steps outlined below:
- Do some preliminary research.
Researching the procedure you plan to have will help you clarify the type of questions you would like to ask during your consultation. Write down any concerns you have, or aspects of the procedure you want to learn more about, and bring your notes to your consultation. Know that the primary goal of any aesthetic consultation is to answer the following questions:
-Do I need surgery to achieve the results I want, or is there a non-surgical procedure that can meet my needs?
-What are the benefits and risks of each procedure I’m interested in?
-How is the procedure performed, and what type of anesthesia will I need?
-What should I expect during recovery?
-What kind of follow-up care will I receive?
-Which surgeon will be performing my surgery, and what are his or her qualifications?
-Where will my surgery be performed?
- Assemble information about your medical history.
To make sure you’re a good candidate for surgery, your surgeon will need to review your complete health profile. Compile any relevant information regarding health problems you have currently or have had in the past. You should also make a list of all the medications you take, including over the counter drugs and supplements.
- If you have children, arrange childcare services for the day of your consultation.
A plastic surgery consultation is much more comprehensive and personalized than a doctor’s appointment. You should therefore leave your children at home on the day of your consultation so that they don’t become bored or create a distraction. Bringing another adult along for emotional support is perfectly fine with most surgeons, however.
- Choose appropriate clothing.
Patients who are interested in having surgery conducted on their body (e.g., a breast augmentation or tummy tuck) should dress in loose, comfortable clothing on the day of their consultation. You will need to change into a hospital gown to permit physical examination, so the clothes you wear to your consultation should be simple to remove. Sweatpants and a t-shirt, for example, are considered appropriate attire. Tying your hair back is also recommended.
- Consider doing some paperwork ahead of time.
Completing your registration forms before your appointment is advisable because it will allow you to start your consultation as soon as you arrive. (Dr. Silverton is happy to provide patient registration forms ahead of time via the mail.) If you don’t want to fill these forms out at home, make sure you arrive to your appointment at least 15 minutes early. This will give you enough time to complete your forms before your consultation begins.
- Be ready to pay a small consultation fee.
Consultations are typically very affordable (our consultation fee is just $50 and is usually paid when you make your appointment), but it’s still important to be aware that this fee exists and choose your preferred payment method ahead of time. Note that if you decide to proceed with having a surgical or non-surgical procedure, we will credit your consultation fee towards your procedure, making your consultation essentially free of charge.
During Your Consultation
You should expect your consultation to last for approximately one hour, sometimes more. Allowing this much time facilitates a thorough examination and gives the patient enough time to ask any questions he or she has. If the plastic surgeon you’ve chosen tries to rush through your consultation (i.e., your consultation lasts only 15 to 20 minutes), you should strongly consider finding someone more committed to patient engagement.
When you arrive at your plastic surgeon’s office, you’ll check in with the staff at the front desk, much like you would before a doctor’s appointment. If you haven’t completed your registration forms yet, they will help you complete them. If you’ve completed your forms at home, you should give them to the front desk staff so they can process your information. After you’ve done so, you may be introduced to a nurse or medical assistant who will direct you to the consultation area; he or she may also discuss your medical history with you.
Once you’re settled, you will meet the plastic surgeon. Normally, he or she will spend a little bit of time getting to know you before talking about the procedure (or procedures) you want to have. Your surgeon should be professional but not cold or clinical; presenting a warm, welcoming atmosphere is key to building trust and helping you feel comfortable. For this reason, Dr. Silverton always spends a bit of time chatting informally with new patients during the first part of his consultations.
When you’re ready to proceed, you’ll be asked to share which parts of your face or body you want to change and how you would like them to look after surgery. Your surgeon will let you know whether or not your expectations are realistic, then he or she will start educating you about your options. You will probably be asked to look at “before and after” photos, videos, slides, pamphlets, or other learning materials. Dr. Silverton often uses short educational videos to help his patients visualize exactly what will happen during their procedure of choice.
If you’re interested in having a procedure performed on your body, you’ll be asked to change into an examination gown (your surgeon will leave the room while you do so). Your surgeon will then proceed with a physical examination, carefully assessing the areas of your face or body that you’re not satisfied with. Your surgeon will gauge the quality of your skin, the amount of subcutaneous fat you have, and other factors that may influence your ability to have surgery (or modify the type of procedure you need to have to achieve your desired results). For example, if you’re concerned about the presence of excess abdominal fat, Dr. Silverton will analyze how much fat is present and examine the elasticity of your skin. This will give him the information he needs to recommend either a non-surgical body contouring procedure like truSculpt 3D, traditional liposuction, or tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery. Usually, photographs are taken of the treatment area after physical examination is complete.
Your surgeon should give you enough time to ask any questions you have either before or after the physical examination. A truly thorough surgeon will also explain how he plans to customize your chosen procedure to work optimally with your unique physical composition. Dr. Silverton carefully adjusts every plastic surgery procedure he performs to reflect the patient’s individual preferences while limiting the invasiveness of the procedure. For instance, if you’ve decided to have a tummy tuck but the skin on your upper abdomen is firm and smooth, Dr. Silverton will use a modified procedure called a mini tummy tuck. This procedure is designed to treat just the lower abdomen. Taking this personalized approach improves patient comfort and shortens the duration of healing without compromising results.
During the final phase of your consultation, you’ll be taken to a photo room where detailed photographs will be taken. Dr. Silverton pays great attention to detail and usually takes the photographs. After that, you’ll be given a moment to change out of your examination gown, then you’ll be connected with a patient coordinator. The role of the patient coordinator is to discuss the practical side of your surgery, coordinate any required lab work, and help you decide on a date for your surgery (and follow-up care). The patient coordinator will let you know how much your procedure will cost and connect you with any financing resources you need. Make sure any financing services you’re connected with are reputable before you commit to using them. Generally, we suggest securing financing through CareCredit; CareCredit is endorsed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and has an established record of excellence.
After Your Consultation
Depending on which procedure you plan to have, you may need to complete a few necessary tasks before you enter the operating room. It’s not unusual for patients to require some laboratory work (like blood work) in order to verify their health status. If you haven’t had a full physical in a while, you might need to visit your doctor for a check-up (if you’re considering breast augmentation and you’re over 30, this check-up should include a mammogram). These steps are important because many common health conditions, like type two diabetes and heart disease, can interfere with a person’s ability to have surgery. You may also need to talk to your doctor about discontinuing the use of certain medications you take at least two weeks before your surgery. Your doctor will be able to determine whether or not doing this is safe for you. Not all medications increase a patient’s risk of complications, but it’s wise to err on the side of caution. Numerous frequently used drugs (like blood thinners and NSAID pain relievers) are a cause for concern because they can cause excessive bleeding.
If your lab results show that you can safely have surgery, you’ll need to take enough time off work to have surgery and recover fully. If you have small children, you’ll also need to arrange for around the clock childcare while you rest. As the day of your surgery nears, you should stock up on supplies that you’ll need while you heal. These supplies include pain medication, soft foods, extra pillows, and anything else you feel you might need while you recuperate.
By the time you enter the operating room, you should feel completely confident in your decision to have cosmetic surgery. You should understand your chosen procedure in depth and have a plan for recovery. You should also feel like you’ve established an excellent rapport with your surgeon. Ideally, your first consultation will be the beginning of a lifelong doctor-patient relationship—One that will make you feel safe, comfortable, and cared for as you transform into your best self. If you’re ready to begin your personal aesthetic journey, contact Dr. Silverton to arrange a one-on-one consultation today.