For many people that walk through our door, it is the very first time they are seeing a plastic surgeon. A bit of nervousness is common. Louis Pasteur said, “Fortune favors the prepared mind,” and we believe that is true. The time you spend preparing for your first appointment will help calm the butterflies while it will also help ensure you get the very most out of your visit.
Hone in on your goals
The path that leads us toward plastic surgery is different for everyone. It can start with a vague notion of wanting to look and feel better, or a clear objective to change a specific aspect of your body. Either way, it is important to match what you have in your head with the reality of what plastic surgery can or cannot do.
We have found that the people who are the most satisfied with their surgical outcomes have very specific goals in mind: something like reducing their breast size by two cup sizes, instead of something like make me more beautiful. The goals should also be realistic. No matter how much surgery you have, you will probably never be able to look like your favorite celebrity.
A good place to start is by looking at some before and after photos of people who have had procedures done on the part of the body you are thinking about changing. Feel free to bring notes and pictures that show what you mean so that you and your surgeon can be sure that you are on the same page.
Consider your timeline
Does the change you want to make have something to do with an event coming up? Say, a wedding, a job interview, or a Hawaiian vacation? Knowing your timeline is important because different procedures have different recovery times. Unfortunately there is no way to force nature to hurry along when it comes to healing. Pain, swelling, and not being able to get incisions wet can all dampen a good time. If you have less than a month until a special event, you are better off considering a non-surgical procedure like botox, fillers, or skin resurfacing. Save that tummy tuck for when you will have the time to fully recover.
Take a health inventory
To get the very best results possible you should be in the best health you can be. This means eating well, exercising, and not smoking. You will also need to limit your intake of alcoholic beverages before and after any procedure. Make sure to get a handle on any bad habits before considering surgery. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, which can impair healing, may also impact results, so work with your primary care doctor or any other specialists to get these under control.
Know your surgeon
Just because someone offers to perform a procedure, doesn’t mean you should let them do it. To start with, look at their credentials. They should have an MD after their name and be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). They should have hospital privileges in your area, even if they will be performing an in-office procedure. It is also a good idea to find out if they have a professional membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Here are some good tips for choosing a plastic surgeon.
Nail down logistics
Nothing will put a kink in your plans like getting lost on the way to your appointment. Make sure you have considered even the simplest of logistics, like where the office is and how you are going to get there. You will also have some forms to fill out when you arrive so have your ID and insurance card handy. Bring the contact information for your primary care provider, pharmacy, and any important specialists you see. A list of current medications and health history will also be a big help to your surgeon.
If you have any concerns or questions about what you will need for your first plastic surgery appointment with us, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We look forward to partnering with you as you take that first step toward the change you are looking for.