A visit to your plastic surgeon is expensive, and it is short. Even if your plastic surgeon takes his time, and listens to you in detail, the visit will be over before you know it, and you will suddenly remember important information you wished to share, but forgot about, or questions you wanted to ask, but didn’t remember. This guide will help you to get the most from your visit with your plastic surgeon.

 
Schedule an appropriate visit
 
It is important that you supply as much information as possible to the practice manager when you make an appointment, so that the visit can be scheduled appropriately. New patients are only consulted on certain dates, and different conditions have different time slots.  Ensuring that your visit is scheduled appropriately, will ensure that your plastic surgeon will be prepared and, more importantly, have enough time for you during your visit.
 
You should ask what documents you need to bring with you, how much the consultation would cost, whether it should be paid on the same day, which method of payment is accepted, how long the consultation will be and obtain directions to the rooms.

Prepare for your visit

Your visit is part of an investment you are making in your and your family’s health and well-being. Plan ahead, so that you will receive a return on your investment:
  • Make a list of all your current medication, including homeopathic medicines and multi-vitamins. (And remember to take this list with you to the consultation.)
  • Your medical history is very important. It is a good idea to write down all your medical conditions, previous surgeries, and treating doctors and to take this with you to your appointment, so that you don’t forget anything.
  • Prepare yourself mentally for your visit. Don’t be embarrassed about anything. Plastic surgeons have “heard it all” and “seen it all”. Everything you share with your plastic surgeon remains confidential.
  • Be honest. Especially about smoking, drinking and the use of recreational drugs. This will influence your treatment plan, but will also assist with reducing complications.
  • Test results and referrals: If you have been referred by another doctor, or had tests done prior to the visit, ensure that you bring the referral letter and any test results, be these of biopsies, blood tests, X-rays or scans, with you to the visit. Your plastic surgeon needs this information to decide on the best treatment plan for you. If results would have been faxed or emailed, please confirm before your consultation that these have indeed been received.
  • Dress appropriately. Consider whether you would need to undress, and wear suitable clothing.
 
Arrive on time

Your consultation time does not include the time it takes to complete practice formalities, such as completing patient registration forms, to be informed about the practice terms and conditions of payment, and to obtain copies of your identity document and medical aid card.   Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment, to ensure that there will be enough time to complete these formalities.
 
Cancel your visit well in advance

Please cancel your visit well in advance if you do not intend to attend. Most plastic surgeons have a waiting list of patients who require their attention. You are keeping another patient, possibly with a condition more serious than yours, from getting the necessary medical care if you do not cancel your visit in time.  You may also be charged in full for visits not cancelled at least 24 hours in advance.
 
Be respectful to the practice staff
 
Practice staff is part of the practice team. Their aim is to make your visit as uncomplicated as possible, and to care for you. Disrespectful behaviour towards them does not bode well for a relationship with your well-being in mind.
 
Be considerate to other patients

Be respectful and considerate to other patients, by arriving on time, and ensuring that you finalise your visit when the scheduled time has concluded. If you have more questions, or unresolved queries, request whether you could schedule another appointment.
 
Schedule enough time for your visit

You need to schedule enough time after your visit to finalise all practice formalities, including payment for your consultation. If surgery needs to be scheduled, more administrative work might be required, and quotations might have to be prepared.
 
Ensure that you have scheduled enough time to conclude these formalities after your visit. The practice admin team needs to conclude all these arrangements to ensure that your surgical admission will be stress free and flawless. Please assist them.
 
If you need support, choose your support team very carefully
 
Whatever your condition, you might want someone to be with you during your consultation. Make sure, however, that the person accompanying you is a true support team member, and understands that the visit is about YOU, and your condition, and not about them. They should be willing to listen, without interrupting the consultation. They must have your best interests at heart.
 
If your child is not the patient, attending the plastic surgery visit is probably inappropriate

This visit is about YOU and your condition. Most children cannot manage to “be seen, but not heard” during the entire visit, and if you are concerned about your child’s actions during the visit, you are wasting your money. You need to be able to concentrate fully on the visit.
 
If your child is the patient, prepare to be the support team member, not the patient

This visit is about YOUR CHILD and his/her condition. Please respect your child’s right to ask questions and to be informed, just like you would like to be respected. Plastic surgeons often operate on children, and love children – they are experienced in treating children as patients.

The plastic surgeon would like to ask your child some questions, and to explain the operation and the recovery process to your child, where appropriate. Please resist the temptation to answer on your child’s behalf. This rapport between your child and the plastic surgeon is essential to ensure that your child will go through the treatment plan without unnecessary stress, and that your child will follow the plastic surgeon’s instructions after surgery. It will also make YOUR life easier!

The plastic surgeon will ask you to answer the appropriate questions that you, as the parent and adult, needs to answer.

During your visit, remember:
 
Your plastic surgeon is not a mind-reader. You need to share everything you feel about or need to know about your condition and proposed treatment plan.  If you don’t understand something, you need to ask for a clearer explanation. Your plastic surgeon will not know whether you understand if you do not make it clear that you don’t understand.
 
Share your thoughts – if you’re unsure, if you’re scared, if you are concerned. If you don’t plan to follow the treatment plan, or the instructions, the plastic surgeon needs to know. If you need support, ask for help. Every plastic surgeon is surrounded by a team of experts that can support you during and after treatment.
 
The sensitive matter of costs
 
Cost can be an issue, but I have a very strong philosophy about this – I prefer to focus on you as my patient and on your surgical care.
 
If you are concerned about the cost of surgery, please discuss these with my practice consultant. You will receive detailed quotations before surgery, so that there will be no nasty surprises during the recovery process.
 
My practice consultant will assist you with appropriate payment plans to accommodate your financial situation and your budget.
 
After the visit
 
Ask the practice staff whether there are any brochures, websites or other patient education hand-outs about your particular condition or treatment plan. This will help you to go over the important points I have discussed with you.
 
If you go home, and suddenly remember a number of things you still wanted to ask, write these down. My practice consultant is very experienced and will probably be able to answer your questions. Any questions that cannot be answered will be referred to me, and if necessary, a follow up consultation will be scheduled to address your concerns.
 
Follow up visits
 
Follow up visits before scheduled surgery or after surgery have been scheduled with your well-being in mind. Please attend these visits, and do not cancel them.