So…you’ve gotten over your initial nerves and made the appointment with your Plastic Surgeon, or maybe you are still thinking about making that first appointment. You are probably wondering what happens next? Well, I hope to help you cut through the mystery so that you can approach your first consultation with greater confidence, and help you get the most out of it.
Each surgeon will differ in their approach to consultations, but there will be some common ground, and our approach is just that – our approach.
Finding a qualified Plastic Surgeon
I trust that you will have already chosen one or two qualified Plastic Surgeon/s to meet and understand the differences between a qualified surgeon and one who does not have formal surgical qualifications. If not, Dr Milovic explains surgical qualifications on his website: https://www.drmilovic.com.au/about/meet-dr-milovic/
You can also refer to an earlier blog post about this topic : Why Medicine has become the Wild Wild West. It is sad but true that so many doctors have left their specialities to become cosmetic surgeons because the cosmetic industry is booming and is, let’s face it, more lucrative than their chosen speciality or general practice. Many of these doctors do not have formal surgical qualifications, and have not had accredited training (ie by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons).
At each pre-operative consultation – and there are usually two – patients meet with their plastic surgeon to discuss aspects of the proposed surgery. If you are one of Dr Milovic’s cosmetic patients, you can expect to visit with him for at least two extended consultations. Consultations are usually set for 45- 60 minutes in duration so that patients don’t feel rushed and can ask questions at anytime.
At your first consultation (this is general overview):
1. Make sure to write down your questions before you go into the consultation. You will find it easier to remember and have your important questions answered. Remember : no question is silly. All are equally valid when it comes to you feeling more confident about the procedure.
2. Expect to discuss your medical history, and the procedure/s you are interested in. Whether you have started or have finished having kids is an important question to be considered, if you are a woman. What support network do you have after surgery ie who will stay with you overnight for the first 24 hours, and who will help you as you recover?
3. Your Plastic Surgeon will assessing you as a potential candidate for your proposed surgery, just as you are assessing them as your operating surgeon. It is important for both patient and surgeon to feel comfortable with each other and for the plastic surgeon to feel you are taking the surgery seriously, as well as understanding the commitment to post-operative recovery. Patience is always key in this period, and patients who wish to have instant results are often not being realistic, and therefore, are poor candidates.
4. You’ll discuss the procedure/s you are interested in and you should have done some preliminary research by this stage, enough to understand the discussion and the common terms used. If you are just starting out on your journey, you can find useful information on Dr Milovic’s website as well as animations for some of the procedures.
5. A physical examination is often performed at the first consultation in order to assess and discuss your concerns. This is conducted by Dr Milovic in the presence of his nurse or other female staff member, should you attend your consultation without a support person.
6. If you are having a breast augmentation, implant sizes, shape and projection will be discussed and you will try on some sizers to get an idea of how your new breasts could look. Dr Milovic performs a 3D simulation scan at your second pre-op appointment so that you can better visualise your own before and after photos.
7. You will have an opportunity to ask questions throughout your consultation, and you should feel comfortable to ask any question related to the procedure. All your questions should be answered to your satisfaction, and if not, keep asking until you feel satisfied.
8. Your Plastic Surgeon will refer you to more information about the procedure, and also discuss the risks and complications at this consultation or the next.
9. A word of caution: if at anytime you feel pressured to have the procedure without proper consultation, you should leave and explore your options elsewhere. A caring, well trained and experienced surgeon will want the best prepared surgical candidate and pave the way for optimum recovery. Rushing you through to surgery and up selling other procedures you haven’t enquired about is not best practice. It is about the bottom line, and you are a person, not a product or a number on an income report.
It is my philosophy to treat every patient as an individual, not a number and that is why I don’t want to be the busiest practice with the highest volume of patients. I don’t buy into the philosophy of treating people’s bodies and surgery as a commodity. I leave the selling of commodity items to the big department stores and chains. I see cosmetic surgery as a lifestyle decision, and one that needs to be well considered – it is not an “I need” procedure, it is an “I want” procedure, that means that patients have the time to prepare and do their homework. It doesn’t mean that patients need to wait long times from consultation to surgery. But, well prepared patients will better understand the procedure, the risks and complications, the fact that they are having surgery and not a beauty treatment, which I have found leads to better management in the post-operative recovery period, and ultimately, better results and patient satisfaction. – Dr Vlad Milovic, FRACS (Plast).
Thanks for reading, and look out for Part 2 soon, where I will outline the process from second consultation to surgery! You can read more about us on Dr Milovic’s page or give us a call if you have any questions : (02) 6260 4882 (Canberra) or (02) 9389 9065 (Sydney). You can complete the contact form below and I am happy to take your questions by email too!