Your consultation is your first personalized and in-depth interaction with our Surgeons, practice, and staff. We are highly invested in making this interaction a positive and educational experience, and we recently asked our facial plastic surgeon Dr. Inessa Fishman to share her advice for patients preparing for the their consultation. Read on to learn her thoughts.
1. Set aside plenty of time
Expect to be in our clinic for at least an hour, says Dr. Fishman. We want to make your consultation experience thorough and educational, and we put a lot of planning into scheduling this to make sure you have lots of time to meet with our Physicians and staff in an unhurried manner. Whether your consultation is virtual or in-person, or whether you want to discuss complex revision surgery or re-treatment with Botox, we want to hear clearly your concerns and treatment goals, recommend a customized treatment plan, and answer your questions. Please review our clinic’s communication with you prior to your visit, set aside lots of time for driving to our office and to accommodate possible traffic, and complete your new patient paperwork thoroughly and completely before your appointment.
2. Organize your concerns
The treatment possibilities and their combinations are incredibly varied and numerous, and trying to get through more than 3-4 concerns can lead to a “muddied” consultation experience, says Dr. Fishman. While we realize you may have many aesthetic goals, we encourage you to organize them into your top 3 most pressing “to do” tasks. “It’s really helpful for me to have a list of everything you want to talk about,” says Dr. Fishman, “but really trying to get through many, many aesthetic goals and treatments can make everyone’s eyes glaze over.” Being focused on your top goals improves the consultation experience. We can always schedule another appointment to discuss more treatments!
3. Plan ahead
Big events, like weddings and graduations, require planning ahead, says Dr. Fishman. If you are preparing for an event where you will have lots of photos taken of you and you want to look your best, please give yourself and our practice plenty of time to work towards your schedule. “I like to do injectable treatments, like dermal fillers and Botox, for members of the wedding party 6-8 weeks before the big day,” says Dr. Fishman, noting this timeline allows for a good amount of healing and “tweaking” the treatment results if necessary. “Bruising and redness are some of the most common complications of injections, and no one wants to worry about this the week before a huge, important event,” Dr. Fishman explains. With facial surgery, the timeline for recovery should be closer to 2-3 months before being photo ready. “I have so many mothers of brides or women getting remarried who plan eyelid, lip lift, facelift, and neck lift surgery, and skin resurfacing, and fat transfer,” relates Dr. Fishman, highlighting that 8 weeks of healing is the minimum she recommends for post-surgical swelling to resolve and for you to look your best.
4. Don’t get distracted
Phones, tablets, and laptops can prove distracting during your visit. Grab a notepad to take a notes, and if you must use your phone for note-taking, please silence your notifications and calls during your consult.
5. Bring another pair of ears and eyes
“I think it’s great to have a supportive friend or partner attend the consultation,” says Dr. Fishman, noting it’s easy for patients to mis-hear or forgets parts of the treatment discussion. While we provide a written summary of Dr. Fishman’s treatment recommendations after your visit, you may find it helpful to bring a buddy to help catch all the details of your visit.
6. Smile–and turn–for the camera!
Yes, we take lots of clinical photos of you as part of your consultation. Whether your concern is related to your nose, neck, eyes, ears, a scar, or facial skin, photos are a super helpful and objective way for us to document your concerns. “I review each patient’s images after the consultation and sometimes pick up on things that maybe the patient didn’t mention or notice, or that I didn’t get either,” says Dr. Fishman, noting she commonly uses the photos we take to “morph” or simulate treatment results as well. It is our clinic policy to take clinical photos of patients, and we do not provide treatment prior to or outside of taking photos. Likewise, your images are a part of your medical record and are treated with the utmost respect for your privacy and patient confidentiality. Patients who have allowed us to us their images and videos for website and social media go through both a verbal discussion and a written permission process; we do not share your information and images without your permission.
7. Don’t feel pressured to make decisions
We want your consultation to be informative–not rushed or pressured. Our consultation goals are to meet you, thoroughly review your medical history, learn your treatment goals and wants–and to create a customized and detailed treatment plan for you. We do not aim to push you into any sort of treatment decisions during your consultation. “I want our patients to go home and really think over the consultation and treatment recommendations before committing to surgery or treatment,” says Dr. Fishman, noting the importance of careful consideration and lots of research in making an aesthetic treatment decision.
8. Do your research
Consultations with well-informed patients often make for a smoother, more streamlined experience, says Dr. Fishman. She encourages all our patients to review our website, blog, podcasts, and social media posts before their consultation visit. “Please look at all our before and after photos, read all the pertinent blogs, research on RealSelf and Google,” advises Dr. Fishman, noting that patients who have researched their concerns and possible treatment options tend to have more focused questions and less anxiety during their visit.
9. Are we the right fit?
Look at your consultation as both a way to get information about possible treatment options–as well as a possible treatment provider, Dr. Fishman advises. We want you to be comfortable with your treatment recommendations, in our practice, in our clinic, and with our staff. The relationship between you and us is important for an excellent outcome and a smooth treatment and recovery process, says Dr. Fishman; use your consultation as a time to determine whether we are the right fit for you.
10. Look forward to awesome!
“I love my job, my patients, and my practice,” shares Dr. Fishman, “mostly because there’s lots of happy in what I and my staff do.” Helping our patients feel more self-confident by treating a long disliked nose bump, taking away worries about congenital ear deformities in a newborn baby, clearing acne or smoothing over scars, and helping individuals take on huge milestones like weddings and birthdays at their best–there is a lot of “awesome” that happens in our practice, and it’s good to focus on this while knowing that the fear of the unknown or surgery or pain can generate anxiety. While doing the work of vetting our Doctors and our practice and planning your treatment, look forward to a great outcome, says Dr. Fishman–put positive thoughts out into the Universe!