When I do a consult, I ask all the questions myself. I don’t hand them a piece of paper, even about their past medical history because I find that patients are more forthcoming and remember better when we have a conversation about their past.
Then they are some simple forms to fill out. As the patient describes what it is that they want, I can get a much better sense by listening to how they describe what it is they are trying to achieve. It is important that I have a good sense as to what their expectations are. The biggest risk in plastic surgery is when a patient does not have the opportunity or does not take the opportunity to describe fully what it is they are hoping to achieve. If you look at dissatisfaction post-operatively with patients, it is because there has been a miscommunication between the patient and the physician about expectations. The analogy that I like to use is, if you’re having your living room redone and you say “well I want my walls to be blue” you need to be very specific as to what shade of blue you are looking for.
The only way that I have successfully been able to match a patient’s expectations is to speak directly to the patient myself. I need to watch how they describe what it is that they want, and ask more questions so that they are fully forthcoming. If I get the feeling that they are not giving me enough information, then frankly that’s a red flag. If I can’t cue them into being more forthcoming, then there isn’t any way that I can be sure that doing surgery is going to satisfy them. That is risky for both of us.
The last thing you want is a patient who is unhappy. So that boils down to communicating. The patient needs to be forthcoming, and the doctor needs to listen. That is what I am after in that consultation.
How Does Someone Best Choose a Plastic Surgeon?
When choosing a doctor, first and foremost, I would like a doctor who is going to take the time to listen to what it is I’m asking t achieve.
Before I walked in the door, I certainly would have already:
- Checked out that doctor and found out what their training is
- Where they went to medical school
- Where they did their training
- What their credentials were
- and where they spent their career
Following that, the next thing would be to reach out and speak to people within your medical community and ask what their experiences are with that physician, people you trust, not just random people.
Also, if you know people who have actually been operated on by the surgeon and you can see some results, that certainly is going to give you more information about whether or not this particular physician shares your aesthetic.
Those are the starting points, and sometimes you can glean some information from the Internet. I think every single person that comes in to see me has gone on the Internet and viewed whatever is out there about that doctor. The Internet is unfiltered information, and so you have to take that in mind. It is not absolute, you have to look at it in the totality with all the other information.
The Doctors’ Affiliations
Any physician that who associated with a major medical school or major hospital is somebody with good credentials. If they have earned the right to be associated with a major institution that should give you a measure of confidence.
The next step is visiting the office. How does the office run? Do you feel as though the office is taking the time and giving you the opportunity to speak with and examine you where you get to express what you want? Do you see a thoroughness that satisfies you?
There are different aesthetics in plastic surgery. Some doctors are going to appeal to one group, and some doctors are going to appeal to another group. It is important that there is a good fit, just as with so many other things in life.
The Surgical Facility
Now that you have checked their credentials, been to the office, spoken with the doctor and staff you should feel you are on the same page before planning to go ahead with surgery.
At this point, the question of whether surgery is performed in a surgery center or a hospital should be taken into consideration. You want to be confident that that facility has excellent staff both an anesthesiologist and perioperative care.
The combination of nursing staff and anesthesiologist is going to impact your recovery. It is important that everyone involved is first rate because it’s not simply what happens in the operating room, it’s also what happens in that post-operative period and follow-up that matters. Who are you going to call if you have a question and how often they are going to see you? If you have a problem how it is going to be taken care of?
These are things you need to think about in order to have a successful surgery and achieve a good outcome.