8 Tips for a Great Consultation

8 Tips for a Great Consultation

By Dr. Killeen, published on April 29, 2021

how to have a great consult

Plastic surgery consultations can be very overwhelming. Not only are you talking about an area of your body that you are uncomfortable with and embarrassed about, you are potentially considering intervention that is expensive and has potential risk. It is important to both be prepared and open to information at the time of your appointment. Below are some of my recommendations for getting the most out of your consultation.

1. Arrive early and have your forms filled out in advance

Your appointment time is when you meet with your doctor. If you arrive without doing the required paperwork, you will cut into your appointment time and have less time with your doctor. Your doctor will also be rushed and not have adequate time to review your records.

2. If you are consulting for revision or reconstruction surgery, have your prior records available

For breast reconstruction patients, it is a requirement to have the notes and plan from your surgical oncologist. We cannot give recommendations without knowing what their plan is. For breast revision patients, we need your operative report and implant records! It is difficult to devise a proper plan without these things. We understand that this information may not be available if it has been many years since your last surgery, but it often is so please help us get this info prior to your appointment.

3. Write your questions down

No matter how prepared you are for your consultation, it’s common to forget some of the questions you have once the doctor walks in the room. Have a list and make sure before the doctor leaves that you have had all of your concerns and questions addressed. If your list is very long, be prepared to return for a second consultation.

4. Bring your insurance card and ID

Even if you are having a cosmetic procedure, some portions of procedures can be covered by insurance. This information is helpful to have on hand so we can query your insurance. Similarly, some implant problems can be covered under your manufacturer’s warranty. Having your implant information helps us get you some money back for your surgery if you qualify.

5. Focus on the concern and not the treatment

Do your best to come into your consultation with an open mind. There are often many ways to address a problem and it’s important to consider what intervention YOUR plastic surgeon thinks is best. You may not be a great candidate for the awesome treatment your friend had elsewhere, you may be an amazing candidate for something else.

6. Find some goal photos and be realistic about what you want

The most helpful photos for you and your plastic surgeon are before and afters from plastic surgeon websites where the before looks like you now. Instagram photos from celebrities that look nothing like you, and are filtered are not helpful. This always makes me concerned about your expectations for after surgery. We want you to be happy and have a great outcome.

7. If you have seen other surgeons who recommended different things, feel free to ask us about those options as well

Skilled, confident surgeons will have no problem discussing other options and why they do or do not recommend them.

8. Don't keep information from your surgeon

This is not the time to be embarrassed about habits like smoking, we need to know for your safety. Your surgeon’s office is a judgement free zone. For your surgery to be as safe as possible, we need to know it all.

Good luck and I hope you have a great consultation!