What To Expect From Your First Plastic Surgery Consultation
Fun fact to start: Did you know that your co-scribes originally met because of a plastic surgeon?
Circa 1992 or 3, Dana served as the big deal Beauty Director at W magazine, the smartest and most luxe publication covering fashion, beauty, the arts, philanthropy, bling, and subjects of interest to discerning women.
If you’ve ever seen Baby Boom, it’s the magazine Diane Keaton’s “Tiger Lady” management-consulting character is reading in bed for real estate inspo.
Back then, I was repping a plastic surgeon who was among the first doing chemical peels on the skin to erase years of damage, and probably at the time, the only one with a publicist.
Given that the procedure was new and pricey, W was the #1 priority for coverage. I outreached Dana via mail (yes, this was before email was a thing) and she called me, believing this merited a story.
Though not official, I truly believe we launched chemical peeling to the masses. And look at us now - 🧡💚💙 - friends for life!
According to USA Today, Florida is a top destination for plastic surgery. Given that Dana and I are both at the age where many of our pals are tapping into surgical options to fix their issues from #rbf (resting bitch face as if you didn’t know) to sagging boozies, we thought a post on what to expect from your first plastic surgery consult might be helpful for our Dear Readers.
We reached out to Miami-based plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Rubinstein MD, FACS, who’s known as a patient advocate. He is so outspoken, that in addition to being featured on an Inside Edition segment in support of patients who had botched surgery in NYC, he is being sued by several cosmetic surgery practices for exposing their doctors’ lack of credentials.
Rubinstein is also one of the first doctors tapping into Crisalix augmented reality (AR) technology. Crisalix is the “magic mirror” that answers the common and ultimate question within the aesthetic and reconstructive medical field, “How could I look after the procedure?” through its unique online 3D and 4D virtual reality and now, augmented reality technology.
Our interview below.
FBP: How long does it take to wrangle a consultation with you?
Rubinstein: Consultations are usually available within one to two weeks. There is sometimes availability the same week if there has been a cancellation.
FBP: Do you do the consult or is it an assistant?
Rubinstein: I see all consultations personally and we schedule an hour for every consultation. I like to take my time speaking with each patient, making sure all of their questions are answered and they have all the information they need to make a good decision.
FBP: What are the most popular procedures requested?
Rubinstein: My practice is very broad, offering procedures for the face, breasts and body. I do see a lot of facial rejuvenation (necks, faces, and eyes), breast surgery (especially complicated revisions) and body contouring after weight loss and pregnancy. My practice is also known for being the most up to date with new technology.
FBP: Walk us through the consultation appointment.
Rubinstein: Once an appointment is scheduled, the consultation actually begins with a phone call from my surgery coordinator, Rosemarie. She will speak with the patient and get to know her goals. She will also discuss the logistics for the consultation such as directions to the office, what can be expected for the consultation, and financing options that are available as needed.
When the patient arrives, she will complete some forms about medical history and then meet Rosemarie in person. Rosemarie will accompany the patient to an exam room and review their goals once more.
Then I meet with the patient, discussing their goals and reviewing their medical history at length. I examine the areas of interest and discuss what I see and what can be done.
We review various options together including both surgical and non-surgical treatments. In many cases, we perform a three-dimensional scan creating a model of the patient that can be used to simulate various possible results.
The patient can then view their own face/body in VR goggles and see themselves as they might look after surgery. If we use the “magic mirror”, they can look into an iPad and see their face reflected in the screen with their post-op results instead of their actual reflection.
Once the consultation is finished, patients are presented with an accurate quote for the plan we have decided upon together. Rosemarie reviews all details and checks available dates if requested.
FBP: Do most women bring photos to share their expectations? If so, are the photos primarily of celebs or their younger selves?
Rubinstein: For certain procedures, photos play an important role. In rhinoplasty procedures, “wish pics” are sometimes helpful to discuss what the patient desires. In those cases, we do sometimes see celebrity photos as examples of what is desired.
With facelift procedures, photos of their younger self are often helpful to see how the anatomy has changed over time.
When it comes to breast procedures, photos are critical. All of my breast surgery is customized during surgery to the patients’ goals based upon their individual anatomy. That relies heavily on their example photos of breasts they both like and don’t like. I have all of my breast patients choose a variety of photos they like as well as examples of what they don’t like. Those photos are used before surgery to discuss and define their goals, and are used as a guide during surgery as the breasts are being shaped.
FBP: What expectations/health conditions make for a good patient/candidate and outcome? Is this discussed during the appointment?
Rubinstein: Health is a major factor in deciding whether or not to operate on someone. It is critical that patients are in good health when having elective procedures. We review their health history at length during their consultation.
Once a patient decides to have a procedure, they are required to have a full medical clearance including blood tests, EKG and chest X-ray as well as have a doctor review those results and sign off that they are healthy enough to have surgery.
Factors to be concerned about would be smoking (tobacco and/or marijuana), health issues in the recent past such as heart attack or stroke, and any undiagnosed health concerns.
If implants are part of the planned procedure, any kind of infection is a concern.
Possibly the most important factor in getting good results is making safe choices when choosing your doctor. When having plastic surgery procedures, it is critical that your doctor is board certified in plastic surgery. Only the American Board of Plastic Surgery is recognized in the United States to certify plastic surgeons.
Many doctors claim to be “cosmetic surgeons” though there is no regulated and recognized board for cosmetic surgery as a specialty. It’s easy to find yourself being operated upon by an emergency room doctor or a family doctor (both not surgical specialties with little to no surgical training) if you don’t look for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
One good way to ensure you will be in well-trained and experienced hands is making certain your plastic surgeon is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (The Aesthetic Society). All Aesthetic Society members are board-certified plastic surgeons and specialize in cosmetic surgery. There is a lot of good information and answers to a lot of questions in my Instagram profile @plasticsurgerytruths. I also show surgery and follow-up visits in my other Instagram profile, @drrubinstein.
FBP: What’s the average time between the consult and procedure?
Rubinstein: Time between consultation and procedure depends upon the patient’s desires as well as the operative schedule. On average, it’s 3 to 4 weeks. We do see a lot of patients that travel to my practice from other states and other countries. We do our best to accommodate all traveling patients’ needs, as they typically have a narrow window of time available.
FBP: Is there a consultation fee? If the patient decides to go through with the procedure, is it applied to her surgery?
Rubinstein: We do not charge a fee for consultations. We do, however, charge a no-show fee of $50 for patients who fail to attend their scheduled consultation.
FBP’s takeaway: vet your doctor carefully. Every plastic surgeon I’ve spoken to throughout my 30 years in PR has noted that fixing another’s mistakes is more difficult and expensive than getting it right the first time. And given last year’s attention-grabbing exposé on the 13 people who tragically died from procedures performed at unlicensed surgical clinics in Florida, extensive doctor due diligence is crucial.
(BEAUTEOUS) SURGERY PIC: KARELYS RUIZ