The Internet is an expansive resource with answers to many of your questions at the press of a button — including your preliminary questions about abdominoplasty, mommy makeovers and other cosmetic procedures and surgeons in your area.
Although online research is an excellent place to start your search for the right cosmetic procedure and cosmetic surgeon for you, it shouldn’t stand in place of an in-person consultation.
This guide provides an overview of what to look for when doing your online research, what is best to save for your in-person consult and what you can do to prepare for your consultation.
What to Look for Online When Choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon
Online research is a great place to start your search for the right cosmetic surgeon near you. While you can travel some distance for cosmetic surgery, it’s best to keep driving to a minimum and avoid flying out of state or even out of the country for your procedure.
After your procedure, you won’t want to have to endure a long car ride or stay in a hotel room until you’re feeling up to flying. Plus, you’ll want to be close to your cosmetic surgeon for follow-up visits and in case you have any urgent concerns.
Once you’ve found several cosmetic surgeons within a reasonable distance from you, take a look at their websites. You should be able to easily find information about their medical schooling and training, awards they’ve received and affiliations with accredited medical associations. In addition to these credentials, look for the following information online:
- Before and after photos of the procedure(s) you’re considering
- Verified reviews from previous clients
- Financing information
What to Save for Your In-Person Consult
While you should be able to get a good overview of a cosmetic surgeon’s experience level and qualifications online, you won’t be able to get any personalized feedback about your specific procedure.
These are questions you’ll need to save for your in-person consultation. Additionally, you can use these office visits to narrow your search even further, making note of things like:
- How clean and organized the office is overall
- How friendly and welcoming the staff is
- Whether or not you’re able to establish a good rapport with the cosmetic surgeon
How to Prepare for your Cosmetic Surgery Consultation
Once you’ve scheduled a consultation or two, use these tips to help you get the most out of your time with your cosmetic surgeon.
Bring a List of Questions
Take some time to jot down your top questions that you don’t want to forget to ask your cosmetic surgeon. These can include specific questions about your procedure, as well as his or her credentials and qualifications. Consider asking questions like:
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- How many tummy tucks/breast augmentations/mommy makeovers/etc. have you performed in the past?
- What are the risks associated with this procedure?
- Do you have hospital privileges?
- What kind of anesthesia will be used?
- What will my recovery be like?
- What will be the cost of my procedure, and are financing options available?
Bring Medical History Information
Your cosmetic surgeon will want to look over your medical history to make sure you’re a good candidate for cosmetic surgery. Bring this information with you, along with any forms that their office asks that you complete before your visit.
Know What You Want
When planning your cosmetic surgery, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of your specific cosmetic goals. Knowing what you want and being able to articulate it to your surgeon at your consultation will help them provide a more thorough assessment. Doing this can help you decide if the procedure you have in mind could be the right solution.
It never hurts to seek a second or even third opinion from other cosmetic surgeons before deciding which is right for you. However, avoid simply picking a surgeon who will agree to perform any procedure you ask for, no questions asked. If multiple cosmetic surgeons have raised red flags about your goals, you might consider revisiting them.
Confirm Your Online Research
Make sure your cosmetic surgeon has the credentials, experience and reputation as outlined on their website. If you saw before and after photos on the practice’s website, feel free to pull them up and ask any questions you might have about those results.
James Koehler, MD is Board Certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery in facial and body cosmetic surgery. He practices in Fairhope, Alabama. He is currently a Trustee for the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and has served as the Chairman for fellowship training for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and has trained numerous surgeons.