A crucial step on the path to any cosmetic surgery, is the Cosmetic Consultation – the initial session with the doctor, the “meet and greet,” the Q and A.
It’s the time for honest assessments of your hopes and dreams, a time to ask anything, and a time to really listen to the answers.
We’ll sketch out the scenario for you, something to use as an outline for how to prepare, and what to expect.
- WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE?
- Before you go to any cosmetic surgeon, know what you want.
This is a really important question. You’ll need to communicate clearly with your doctor, so everyone understands not only what you want, but how your desires for a changed appearance stack up with reality. So, think about this question. And when you answer it- try to pare it down to its essence.
For instance, it would be far better to say; “I want this bump removed from the bridge of my nose,” – or – “I’d like to have slightly fuller breasts” than “I want a nose like (my favorite movie star)” or “I want the same boobs as [..insert name of actress..] “
Remember, we’re talking about you here, not someone else. You, and your own unique set of features and body type.
- FINDING A DOCTOR AND MAKING THE CALL
- Make a smart, and informed choice.
If you’re having any kind of cosmetic surgical procedure, we’re going to recommend that you choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. The reasons are many, and we’ve talked about them in a previous Blog. Please take a minute to review it here. It will be well worth the time.
Look at the doctor’s website, not just at advertisements. And, while online reviews can be helpful, (and who doesn’t love a great review?) don’t consider them to be your main “deciding factor.” (There are lots of great doctors. Some spend more of their time and budgets than others, “encouraging” reviews.) Look at the doctor’s background, level of experience, before and after pictures of the procedure you’re interested in, and other procedures performed.
And, somewhere in all of that information, will be instructions for Contacting the Doctor’s office. You’ll see a phone number, and online contact forms if you wish to communicate by email. Decide what works best for you, and make the contact.
- SETTING UP THE CONSULTATION
- Have your calendar and basic information ready
This is pretty straightforward. The doctor’s coordinator, or receptionist will ask you a few questions (what type of procedure are you coming in to discuss, what dates and times will work for everyone, contact and other basic info for you), and you’ll be able to schedule an appointment.
And, there’s good news for you. In our office, and many others, consultations for Cosmetic Surgical Procedures are free of charge.
If you decide to proceed with surgery, there will be additional pre-operative visits, and opportunity for greater detail at those times.
- ONCE YOU’VE MADE YOUR *FREE CONSULTATION APPOINTMENT – PLEASE MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO KEEP THE APPOINTMENT
Everyone has occasional emergencies, but “casual” cancellations of courtesy appointments can really cause havoc in a doctor’s day. Thank you for understanding!
- FORMS AND INFO
- Save some time, and complete forms in advance
What? You say you’re just coming in for a consultation, and may not even have medical treatment by this particular doctor, so why are “forms” necessary? Because of federal regulations mandating electronic medical records for medical office visits- there will be forms, and procedures.
In my San Jose Plastic Surgery office, here’s how it works.
When making your Consultation appointment, you’ll be asked for an email address, and the necessary forms will sent to you with a security code and a link. (Protecting your Privacy is important to us.) Complete the forms at home, and send them back to us through the links provided. (If you need assistance with them, we’ll be glad to help you in the office.)
For your convenience, financing information and forms are available on our website.
When you come in on appointment day, you’ll be greeted, and one of our staff will ask to see a driver’s license or other I.D., and an insurance card. *Insurance is not required for most Cosmetic Surgeries or procedures. Because we have a surgical center within our office, we’re required to ask whether you do. Also- we’ll check to see whether any portion of your treatment may be covered by insurance. Depending on the situation, your blood pressure, and weight may also be checked.
- COMMUNICATING WITH THE DOCTOR
- So, here you are. Don’t be afraid to ask.
We know it took a lot for you to get here, and we’re prepared to help. You’ll most likely have an initial chat with the doctor about your concerns and your questions. This is a time to focus on what your primary goal is. Then, depending on the area you’re interested in revising, you may be given a patient gown, and asked to disrobe partially so you can be examined.
Sometimes it’s difficult for people to express themselves about personal matters. (Dr.Lepore has extensive experience in all areas of plastic surgery, and most likely has taken care of people with concerns similar to yours, many times.) So, this is a time to share those personal concerns, and consider how comfortable you feel communicating with the doctor.
- WILL COSTS BE DISCUSSED?
Yes. At the end of your consultation in our office, you will learn about the costs associated with the procedure you want, and before you leave, you’ll have a written estimate that will include such details as, cost of the surgery, anesthesia, any medical devices needed (such as implants), compression garments or other materials, and post-surgical care. Many of our patients choose to schedule during this appointment.
(At scheduling, you’ll be asked for a $500.00 deposit. This deposit will be applied to your surgical costs, but is non-refundable.)
A lot can be accomplished during your Consultation. We hope you’ll “make the call,” and we wish you well on your personal journey.
(Dr. Vincent Lepore is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, serving San Jose, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, and all of the San Francisco Bay Area. Please call us to schedule a complimentary cosmetic consultation- 408-356-4241)