No two patients’ cosmetic surgery experiences are exactly like, but there’s one part of the process that every patient has in common: the consultation.

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This necessary step in your cosmetic surgery process is also one of the most important. A consultation is your time to interview potential surgeons—and find one who is not only qualified to perform your procedure safely and successfully, but also is a good fit for your aesthetic sense and personality. It’s also the best time to learn about your procedure options.

To help you make a confident decision about whom you select as your cosmetic surgeon, we’ve shared the essentials for what to expect during a cosmetic consultation.

#1: The surgeon is open about their credentials (and those of the surgical team)

A reputable cosmetic surgeon will be forthcoming about his or her training, board certification, and experience performing cosmetic surgery in general, and your procedure specifically. Just because a doctor calls him or herself a “plastic surgeon” or “cosmetic surgeon,” it does not necessarily mean that they are qualified to do the procedure you are seeking. Don’t be afraid to ask:

  • Where did you train?
  • Are you board certified, and by which board(s)?
  • How many years have you been performing cosmetic / aesthetic surgery?
  • How many times have you performed my procedure?
  • What complications have your past patients encountered after this procedure and why?
  • Who administers anesthesia?

#2: The surgeon operates in an accredited surgical facility

Facility accreditation is absolutely essential for your safety. Accredited surgery facilities are equipped to the highest standards for safety, cleanliness, anesthesia administration, and emergency readiness—and they are regularly audited to ensure they adhere to these standards. If a provider cuts corners in this area, walk out the door.

A properly accredited facility with emergency life support systems is absolutely essential for your safety—never go “under the knife” without it.

#3: You trust this person to listen and help you achieve your goals

Get a feel for whether or not a surgeon “gets” you and seems sincerely interested in helping you achieve your personal goals. A few things to look for:

  • The surgeon provides you with options, rather than dictating exactly what you “should” do
  • You feel 100% comfortable sharing your story, including your medical history
  • You do not feel rushed at any point in the consultation process
  • Their past patient results are appealing to you

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing personal information, including an honest account of your medical history, or you feel like you’re being told what to do, move on.

#4: You receive a thorough explanation of your options, including risks, benefits, and costs.

While it’s fun to think about the end result of cosmetic surgery, having surgery is serious business. A surgeon should take the time to explain your procedure options in detail, including the risks and benefits and recovery. Reputable cosmetic surgeons want their patients to be fully informed about a procedure before they schedule surgery.

#5: You do not feel like you are being pushed into a procedure

Reputable cosmetic surgeons always put their patients’ health, well-being and safety first, even if that means telling you that surgery may not be the right choice. They understand that this is entirely your decision. The right surgeon will provide the facts about a procedure’s risks and benefits and explain what results you might expect, but will not pressure you to make a decision during your consultation.

#6: You’re shown plenty of before & after photos of prior patients.

When you look at photos, instead of simply zeroing in on your favorite results, pay closest attention to patients who look similar to you before surgery. This will give you a sense of that surgeon’s aesthetic approach to concerns like yours and if they can realistically achieve results you find appealing.

#7. The practice is clean and inviting + staff are happy to see you

Great customer service is always important, especially in a cosmetic surgery practice, where it’s your choice to be there! You deserve to feel like your needs are important to everyone in the practice. Front office staff, nurses, patient care coordinators, and other staff members should be friendly, accommodating, and professional. The waiting area, exam rooms, and other parts of the practice should be clean and inviting—a messy or dingy facility doesn’t reflect well on a practice for a reason.

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