Your initial consultation is one of the most important steps when considering cosmetic surgery. New patients are often nervous and do not know what to expect. It is normal to be nervous, but it can mean that you come away from the meeting feeling unsatisfied or with unanswered questions. A little preparation can help you get the most out of your consultation.
Make a list of anything your doctor should know about your health and medical history, and any questions this raises for you. This list should include any allergies to medications, history of excessive scarring, and surgeries you have had in the past. Write all of this down before you go in. If you wait until your visit you may not remember everything.
Bring pictures that illustrate what you would like to accomplish. Try to bring pictures of several different people so that it is clear what aspects are important to you.
View before and after pictures of other patients who have had the procedure you will be having. If possible, speak with other patients who have had the procedure.
Write down any and all questions you may have, and leave some room to write down the answers. Some good questions to ask include:
- What are the benefits of the procedure?
- What kind of results can I expect to achieve? Be very specific in telling your doctor what you want to accomplish and ask if your expectations are realistic.
- Are there alternative procedures that I should consider?
- What will the recovery be like?
- How long before I can resume my normal activities?
- How painful is the recovery?
- What will I need to do to care for myself after the procedure? Will I need help from loved ones in doing this?
- Will someone have to drive me home after the procedure?
- Will I have to stay in a hospital overnight?
- How long will the procedure itself take?
- Does it require general anesthesia or will I be awake?
- Where will the procedure take place?
- How far in advance should I schedule my procedure?
- What are the risks?
- How much will it cost? What about other fees for the facility, anesthesiologist, lab work, prescriptions, and anything else that I might need?
- What do I need to do to prepare for the procedure to reduce the chance of complications?
Pay attention to your surroundings and speak to the staff and other patients that you meet while you are there. If you are well prepared you will be more relaxed during your consultation and get the most out of your visit. Remember to bring a pen and paper.