Meeting with the Surgeon
In selecting the right cosmetic surgeon for you, it is important to place safety first. If you have not read the Choosing a Surgeon section, please return to that page and review how to select a qualified cosmetic surgeon and facility.
In selecting a surgeon for your cosmetic procedure, you should have high expectations of your interactions with the surgeon and staff. How you are treated during the evaluation process usually indicates how you will be treated during and after the procedure.
Although the cosmetic surgeon will perform your cosmetic procedure, most of your interactions with the practice will be with the staff - and the staff will control your access to the surgeon. Therefore, it is important to spend as much time evaluating your relationship with the staff as it is to evaluate your relationship with the cosmetic surgeon. Both the surgeon and the staff should be a resource to help you make the right decision for you.
They should establish an environment and provide information that makes you comfortable with your decision and confident that you have chosen the right medical partner for your surgical procedure. You should never feel pressured to move forward with a surgical procedure or cosmetic surgeon you are not comfortable with or in a timeframe that doesn't meet your needs.
Listed below are some criteria to use as you meet the surgeon and his/her staff as you evaluate your options for cosmetic surgery.
Your Selection Criteria
Make a list of what you expect in your surgical experience. List everything that is important to you in selecting a cosmetic surgeon, including: surgical expertise, American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) board certification, expected results, cost, how you expect to be treated by the staff and cosmetic surgeon and what you need to know (such as risks, recovery and results). Refer back to this list often during your search and update it if you develop more criteria. In developing this list, be sure to place safety at the top. If there is a conflict between safety and any other criteria, safety should be the overriding issue.
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Finding Cosmetic Surgeons
One of the best sources to find cosmetic surgeons is through family and friends. If they've had cosmetic procedures performed, ask them about their surgical experience and how they feel about their surgeon. Be sure to focus on the items that are important to you. Don't get sidetracked by someone who had a "great experience" with a surgeon who doesn't meet your criteria.
Use the Internet to gather information about cosmetic surgeons in your area. Most cosmetic surgeons have Web sites containing valuable information that will help you "get a feel" for their practice, as well as information about the surgeons, their staff and what procedures the surgeons perform.
Another good source is medical personnel. If you know any nurses, physicians or anesthesiologists who have knowledge about cosmetic surgeons in your area, they can be a good source of information.
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Meeting the Practice
The initial phone call to the practice is an excellent opportunity to determine if you want to consider the cosmetic surgeon for your procedure - and it is also the practice's first opportunity to tell you what's important to them. Here are some of the things you should look for during the first phone call with the office staff.
- Are they friendly and welcoming?
- Are they trying to meet your needs or just make an appointment? (Is the staff interested in you as an individual? Do they ask questions about you, your reasons for surgery and your timeframe for both appointment and surgery?)
- Are they knowledgeable? Can they answer basic questions about your cosmetic procedure?
- Can they answer basic questions about the surgeon, such as training, specialty and board certification?
- Do they provide a price range for the procedure?
- Do they offer to send information to you about the procedure and the practice? Did they encourage you to call back with any questions on the material you will receive?
- Did they spend sufficient time with you on the phone to make you comfortable and answer your questions or did you feel rushed?
- Would you be comfortable calling this practice back with additional questions? Were you encouraged to call back with questions that might arise following your conversation?
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The consultation is your primary opportunity to meet the staff and surgeon in-person to collect information about the procedure and expected results. The way you are treated during the consultation and how the practice manages this interaction is often an indication of how the practice is run and how they treat their patients before, during and after surgery. The following are some things you should look for during the consultation.
Staff and Practice
- How are you greeted by the staff? Are they welcoming?
- Does the practice appear to be well-run or hectic?
- Does the staff act in a professional manner?
- Are you seen on time or do you have to wait well past your appointment time? If you have to wait, does the staff apologize and explain the reason for the wait? Are you offered the opportunity to reschedule? Are they considerate of your time?
- Is the facility neat, clean and attractive?
- Is the surgeon friendly and professional? Do you feel the surgeon has time to meet with you or do you feel rushed?
- Is the surgeon interested in you as an individual? Do they ask why you are considering the procedure and about your goal/s and expectation/s for the surgical procedure?
- Does the surgeon discuss alternatives to the procedure you are inquiring about? Are they open to alternatives?
- Does the surgeon talk about risks and expected results? Do they set realistic expectations, such as scar and recovery time? Do their expectations meet your expectations? If not, are they open to discussing the differences and how to meet your expectations?
- Did you have an opportunity to see "before and after" photos? How do the results look to you? Do the results look natural? Did the results shown in the photos meet your expectations for what you are looking for? Are the photos of actual patients of the practice?
- Is the surgeon open to discussing their training and experience with the procedure? Are they open and honest about board certification? How many times have they performed this procedure? Is it a common procedure for them?
- Does the surgeon discuss recovery and what to expect? Do they discuss how complications are handled and their availability after the procedure?
- Does the surgeon ask if you have any questions and/or concerns? Do they address your questions and/or concerns to your satisfaction?
- Did you to establish a good rapport with the surgeon that will endure throughout the procedure and post-op timeframe?
- Are you given a written fee estimate for the procedure? Does it include multiple written quotes if you discussed alternatives with the surgeon? Was the estimate explained to you? Were all your questions about the quote answered?
- Does the practice offer to check surgical date availability to meet your timeframe?
View a list of PAMF's highly trained cosmetic surgeons and read their profiles.
PAMF cosmetic surgeons are located throughout the San Francisco Bay area and services San Jose, Santa Cruz, Alviso, Milpitas, Los Altos and surrounding cities.
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