To become an accredited consultant plastic surgeon takes years of training. The most important part of any operation is the consultation which is when you have a chance to explain your concerns and medical history. Naturally this important consultation should be with the person you have chosen to perform your operation, not a salesperson/ patient co-ordinator. Click here to download a list of questions to take to your consultation.
Your consultation should ONLY be with the person who will perform your surgery. Patient co-ordinators (usually paid by commission) are commonly employed by cosmetic surgery companies and may persuade you to have procedures that you had not initially planned. Also beware of free consultations, which is a marketing tool used by many of the large cosmetic surgery groups. Again the consultation may not be with the person who will ultimately perform the surgery. It is entirely appropriate that you should pay for a consultation with a skilled medical professional. If a surgeon is offering their time for free you might want to reflect on the reasons why he or she is touting for business.
When you meet with your surgeon, you have an opportunity to receive information and ask any questions about the results you would like to achieve. Your surgeon should tell you what will happen during your surgery and help design a procedure that meets your individual needs. For facial surgery, it is often helpful to bring a photograph of yourself when you considered you looked your best.
Your surgeon should take a detailed medical history and ask about any previous operations or illnesses you may have had. If you are a smoker, please discuss this with your surgeon as it may delay healing and affect your recovery.
Usually there are a number of surgical options to achieve a particular result and these will be discussed together with their relative merits. At this point your surgeon should explain their preferred option and discuss why it is most appropriate. There should be a frank discussion of what the operation involves; cover the pros and cons and the risks involved; discuss anaesthesia; the hospital where the operation will be carried out; and recovery - how long it will take and how you are likely to feel at each stage.
Ask to see before and after photos and check that your surgeon performed the surgery demonstrated. It is recommended that your surgeon writes to your GP to summarise the consultation and provide you with additional written information about the procedure. You will also be sent a quotation for surgery. Surgery does not usually proceed without a second consultation and most surgeons will see you free of charge for this and subsequent pre-operative consultations in order that all questions have been adequately answered.
It is a good idea to see more than one surgeon (the cost of two or three consultations is small compared with the overall cost of an operation).
Remember that the best surgeons are often in demand and hence you should not be put off by having to wait for your operation.