How important is the consultation before plastic surgery? Introduction While widely performed all over the world nowadays, plastic surgery is not something that you can schedule the day before and have it done over the lunch break. Of course, there are certain procedures that don’t require a lot of preparation and for plastic surgeons who are not overly busy, but when considering major procedures such as the tummy tuck, hourglass procedure, breast and butt augmentations, reductions or lifts, you should know that preparation is necessary. To know how to prepare for the procedure, what will happen during and what can be expected once after the procedure, you need to have a pre-operative consultation with the plastic surgeon. In this article, we will discuss how important the pre-operative consultation before plastic surgery is and what happens during this meeting. What happens during the pre-operative consultation? Before any surgical procedure, you will be asked to undergo a preoperative assessment. This assessment is intended to ensure maximum safety during medical procedures that we may be required to perform. This assessment will help in deciding what type of anesthesia is suitable for your particular case or to detect abnormalities, which must be taken into account or represent contraindications when the procedure is performed. These abnormalities may not be apparent and cause no discomfort in everyday life. Even if you feel healthy, this assessment is necessary to ensure your safety during the procedure and avoid unwanted complications. The pre-operative consultation often includes a medical examination of the patient, a discussion about goals and expectations from the surgery, but also a review of medical history, current medication and allergies, and also measurements and recommendations. During this assessment, the plastic surgeon needs to make sure that you have good reasons for undergoing the procedure, realistic expectations, and that the procedure you have in mind is indeed the best solution to help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Moreover, it is during this consultation that you will find out the exact details of your procedure. So if you ever thought that you could just call the plastic surgeon and order a pair of breast implants to be inserted no later than Monday morning, you should know that this is not how things get done, or at least not if you want to get satisfactory results. Pre-operative consultations also let you decide together with the plastic surgeon the important details of your procedures, such as what implants are suitable for your particular case and what surgical approach should be used. The plastic surgeon will perform extensive measurements and then recommend a minimum and maximum volume of implants. Depending on your goals and other physical characteristics, the shape of the implants will be chosen as well as the surgical plan (e.g. where the pocket that accommodates the implants created will be, where the incisions will be placed, etc.). The plastic surgeon will also talk to you about preoperative preparation and post-operative care. Before most plastic surgery procedures, you will be required to stop taking birth control pills, avoid natural supplements or anti-inflammatory medication containing aspirin, and not smoke for at least four to six weeks before the procedure. All these instructions are important to follow as they create the premises of achieving great results while also minimizing potential complications. The plastic surgeon should also make sure that the patient knows what to expect afterwards. There are normal side effects that can occur after many plastic surgery procedures such as swelling and bruising of the targeted area, bleeding, and sometimes drain tubes can be necessary. Moreover, after the procedure, the first few days post-op can be associated with a moderate or more intense level of pain and discomfort. Being aware of the developments that will take place should help the patient avoid post-operative depression and stress. Aside from these, there are tests that the patient should take to assess his eligibility for the procedure and to rule out potential complications. Medical tests before undergoing plastic surgery It is also during the pre-operative consultation that you will be given a list of medical tests to take before the procedure. The tests are important because it gives the surgeon and the anesthetist a clear idea about what to expect during the surgery and it also helps rule out contraindications. When deciding what medical tests you need to take before undergoing plastic surgery, the plastic surgeon will take into consideration multiple factors such as your age, health conditions that you might be having, medication that you are currently taking, and the type of procedure that will be performed. The plastic surgeon will advise you about your medications, telling you which treatments to continue and which ones you must stop, or he might advise that you need to see your doctor to have your doses adjusted. Generally, the standard preoperative assessment that you will be asked for includes for those who have a chronic illness such as diabetes or hypertension. These tests are usually required for any type of plastic surgery procedure. Aside from them, there are also specific tests to be had. For example, for breast augmentations, a recent mammogram will be asked for if you are over 45 years old or a breast echography if you are younger. Keep in mind that the results of these medical tests are valid for a short time. Even if you have done a checkup recently, you may be asked to redo some or all of it for a second procedure. Why is the pre-operative consultation important? Before a procedure, the patient often has many questions. The consultation before the procedure is so you can talk to the plastic surgeon so he can understand your concerns, reassure you, and obviously give you all the information about the procedure for your particular case. The plastic surgeon will give you information about the anesthesia that will be used. The choice and mode of anesthesia will be explained by the anesthesiologist. This is mandatory before any procedure involving general anesthesia. The course of the procedure will be explained as well as what happens when waking up from the effects of the anesthesia, the immediate consequences, the management of the pain, and taking care of the surgical wounds after getting home, among other things. You will also find out the details about how many follow-up consultations are required and when they can be scheduled. The success of the surgery also depends on the patient’s behavior during the post-operative period. During the initial meeting with the plastic surgeon, he will present what the expectations are. A certain procedure can be more demanding in terms of the efforts that the patients need to put, and an example of this is butt enhancement procedures with implants and fat transfer. The patient needs to avoid smoking for a minimum of three weeks post-op and to wear the compression garments for no less than a month non-stop. Lying on the back is strictly forbidden as is sitting directly on the buttocks for at least three weeks post-op. The patient should be aware of these post-operative instructions as many people can be put off by the idea of not being able to sit down for so long without using a special pillow. This is why the pre-operative consultation is very important. Conclusion Each type of plastic surgery procedure entails a certain type of preparation and postoperative behavior, and this is one of the things that will be discussed with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. The pre-operative consultation is important because this is when the plastic surgeon gets to examine the patient and assess his eligibility to undergo the procedure. A medical examination is performed during this time and also extensive measurements if the procedure entails the use of implants to determine the size and type of prostheses most suitable for the patient. A series of medical tests are also recommended during the pre-operative procedure depending on the age and medical condition of the patient. Blood tests are mandatory before undergoing any type of surgical procedure and also an EKG and an assessment of the respiratory capacities.