A surgery consultation is an appointment you have to make with a plastic surgeon before they will even think of operating on you. A consultation serves a few purposes:
- You get to meet your surgeon
- Your surgeon gets to know you
- Your surgeon can see your body and what they’re working with
- Taking your medical history
- Making sure you have the proper documentation for top surgery and insurance (usually a letter from a mental health professional)
- Informing you of the surgery: risks, what to expect, what it would cost, what approach they believe will be best, etc.
- You get to ask any questions you may have
- Submitting the paperwork to insurance for pre-approval and getting information on price
- Setting a date for surgery (if you are ready)
My consultation was super easy. I went with my mom because she will be caring for me after and she’s a nurse.
First, we checked in at the front desk, they took basic information like age, address, insurance details, emergency contacts, etc. Then we went to the plastic surgery unit and waited until a nurse called us back. She took my weight and blood pressure, then took us to a room and took a basic medical history, medications, past surgeries, medical conditions, who my mental health provider was, what pharmacy I use, etc. Once she was done she left and told me to take my shirt off (pants on) and put on this huge robe and wait for the surgeon’s personal assistant to come.
His personal assistant came and explained how the surgery works (which I already knew from watching so many surgery videos) and talked about surgery details in general, the risks, the chance of complications, recovery, just a very general overview. Then she had me take off the gown so she could take pictures of my chest for their records.
After she was done another lady came in and I’m not sure what her title was but I believe her job was insurance, billing, and scheduling. She talked with us about the total cost, our insurance, how likely we were to get covered and what we could do to increase the likelihood of getting covered, all that fun stuff.
When we got that sorted and confirmed I wanted to make an appointment for surgery, the actual surgeon came in and looked at my chest, touched it for like ten seconds, and told me what method he thought was best. We talked a little about what I wanted and what he could do/would be doing. This was also my chance to meet him and hear his credentials and decide he seemed qualified, trustworthy, and nice.
He left us with the billing and scheduling lady who then helped us set a date and gave us all the information on pre-op care, things like don’t eat after this time, don’t take these medications, and shower before you show up. She gave us all of the paperwork along with this special pre-surgery drink (as far as I can tell its just a protein type shake) and a special soap to wash with before surgery. Then she said she would call in two days to get the final payment details and after that, we were done. The whole thing took about an hour total.
I would stress that just because you had a consultation does not mean you have to stay with that surgeon and it does not mean you need to get surgery right away. If you are seriously considering top surgery it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation just to get information. A consultation is not the same as a pre-op appointment/physical. The pre-op physical is typically done about two weeks before surgery to make sure you are physically healthy and ready for surgery. Usually, a pre-op physical is done by your primary care provider who then sends the results to the surgeon.