Why A Consultation?
The consultation or initial appointment with your physician is the most important aspect in the selection of the surgeon and procedure. Your consultation is a learning experience in which you should have a clear understanding of your best options and tools to help you make your final decision. There might be a chance for the doctor to assess your current situation and goals in order to determine the best plan for you.
Step 1: Ask Away
When you get evaluated it should be a very thorough process. Make sure your doctor answers all of your questions the consultation is a “relationship builder”. You will decide whether you can trust your physician or not in this meeting.
Here are 6 questions you should ask to familiarize yourself with the procedure:
1. What causes hair loss?
2. Can I lose more hair by having this procedure?
3. What is the success rate of hair transplants?
4. Is the procedure painful?
5. How long will the procedure take?
6. What is the recovery time?
At this point both doctor and patient are determining the best fit. Make sure the doctor is taking the necessary amount of time to explain all of these questions thoroughly and clearly. It is important that you leave the consultation with no questions and are completely satisfied with the outlook on your upcoming procedure.
Step 2: Do Your Homework
There are many informative websites that explain hair loss treatments. From your procedure to the importance of choosing a board certified surgeon rather than someone without those credentials. These websites also provide some questions you should ask during your consultation, similar to what is provided in step 2. There is a lot of information on the Internet regarding cosmetic procedures, some of which may be misleading. It is important to rely on reputable websites such as the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and other popular sites. Review the website of the practice and doctor you are planning to see. Referrals may also be quite beneficial in your research process.
Step 3: Bring Another Person
Bringing another person for moral support can be a huge benefit. The person can act as a second set of ears and eyes. It will be helpful as well if the person will be the one who escorts you to and from surgery. They can help you if you might have missed any questions, or if you just need a second opinion.
Step 4: Come Prepared
Arrive with a list of simple questions. Break them down into those that are specifically geared to the doctor and those which the office staff can answer for you. Remember no question is a stupid one. Prepare to ask questions about costs, payment plans, and post-op care. Bring all your medical documents from any previous procedures and a list of current medications including vitamin supplements.
Step 5: Determine Qualifications
Besides board certification, which might be one of the most important credentials, you should find out more information about the doctors qualifications. Find out information such as how long has he or she been in practice, how many procedures of your kind have he or she completed, including success rate and patient satisfaction. Don’t let the surgeon try and oversell you! If they suggest complementary procedure (breast lift with augmentation; liposuction with tummy tuck) or promoting more procedures then it may be a red flag.
Step 6: Use Your Instincts
The consultation experience should give you some much needed clarity. You should get a feeling that weighs greatly towards your decision to go with a particular surgeon. Ask yourself how the doctor relates to you. Does he/she listen to your needs? Is the surgeon patient with you? You should go to a busy office, to see the overall environment and how they run their practice. Your goal is to find an experienced and effective practice which reflects that in from their staff to the surgeon. If you feel it in your gut then it is likely it is the right fit for you. Listen & pay attention to detail.