Dr. Patti Flint

Preparing for Your Plastic Surgery Consultation

As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I have the privilege of meeting new people every day. Your initial consultation is the time where I can offer my professional advice and opinion and recommend the treatment plan that I feel will best lead to the outcome you desire.

When my patients and I have a mutual understanding of where we want the surgery to take them, they are typically beyond thrilled with their post-surgical results. Most of my prospective patients have very good reasons for coming to me for a consult, but not all of them are as prepared as they could be to get the most out of our initial meeting together. In my experience, the more prepared the patient is going into a plastic surgery consult, the more relaxed, confident and informed they are afterward—likewise the more confident I feel about their reasons and readiness for surgery.

Before Choosing a Surgeon

I can’t stress enough how important it is for those seeking plastic surgery to do their homework before meeting with any surgeon for any type of cosmetic procedure— surgical or non-surgical.  In my experience, it is not uncommon for some prospective patients to research purchases such as a new phone or laptop (which may only last a year or so) more thoroughly than they research their plastic surgeon whose outcome they will literally be living with for the rest of their lives.  I also can’t stress enough how important it is to use board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery as your baseline.

Whether you are looking to have a breast augmentation, liposuction, mommy makeover, facelift, rhinoplasty or any other cosmetic procedure, there are always choices to be made. For example, with breast implants, you’ll want to read up on the pros and cons of silicone vs. saline implants.  As well as the safety profile of certain types of breast implants.  Remember, you don’t need to be an expert on all things plastic surgery, however prospective patients that already have some knowledge as it relates to “the basics” often feel that they have much more productive initial consultations.

When I sit down with someone seeking cosmetic surgery for the first time, my goal is to get a sense of what he or she are trying to achieve through surgery, and equally as importantly, why they are seeking to have plastic surgery in the first place.  It also helps me if patients bring in photographs of themselves at different stages in their lives as well as an idea of what specifically they want to correct.  This way we can discuss the realities of what specific procedures can and can’t do, and if plastic surgery is even an option. Setting realistic expectations of what can be achieved surgically is an essential part of all of my consultations, regardless of the desired procedure.

Bring your list of questions. You’ve invested in this consultation; you might as well get the most out of it. For the period of time that I am sitting with you in my office, I am solely focused on you and your needs.  Some questions you might want to have ready to ask me include:

Questions about the surgery itself:

  • What will you need to do to prepare for the surgery?
  • What are realistic expectations for my outcome?
  • Will there be restrictions after the procedure?
  • What to expect prior to surgery?
  • What to expect postoperatively?
  • How will the post-operative pain be addressed?
  • What does the recovery period look like?
  • What if any risks associated with the procedure?
  • Where is the safest place for your surgery to take place?
  • Are there any long-term issues associated with this surgery?
  • Will any medical conditions/medications/work or lifestyle be a problem? (Always bring your full medical history and current list of medications with you to your consultation.)

Questions about me / my practice:

  • Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • How long have you been performing surgery?
  • What is your surgical training/background?
  • How many surgeries do you perform in an average year?
  • How many non-surgical procedures do you perform in an average year?
  • How many (of the desired procedures) do you perform annually?
  • Why am I the best surgeon for your needs?
  • May I speak to some patients who have had this same procedure?
  • Can I see before and after photos that are not currently available on my website?
  • If I don’t like the results of my surgery, what are my options?

It is vitally important that my patients understand that questions such as these are in no way insulting or bothersome to me, nor is asking them, or other relevant questions taking up too much of my time.  Generally speaking, plastic surgery consultations are better as a dialogue not a dissertation from the surgeon.  When qualified surgeons meet with a patient for a surgical consult, they should be more than happy to address all of your relevant concerns, and the more information you provide us with, the better able we are to help ensure you have the most desirable outcome possible. If you feel that any surgeon you meet with does not share this attitude, it’s a good indication that it’s time to keep looking for a surgeon that will better fit your needs.

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