American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

The perfect pair: Your research and your plastic surgeon's advice

collaborating with your plastic surgeon

Knowledge is power. It's a saying we are all familiar with, and it is one that generally rings true for medical patients. Doctors love informed, empowered patients. For the best plastic surgery results, patients should do their own homework but come to their consultation with an open mind to discuss their options and hear what their plastic surgeon thinks will be the best approach.

The wealth of information, anecdotes and opinions online can make it challenging for any person to feel fully informed and capable of making big decisions about plastic surgery. Beauty personalities, social media influencers and others can have positive tips, contributions and advice. But in many cases, they do not have the training or experience that a board-certified plastic surgeon does, so it's important to balance what you see in your own research with the advice of your plastic surgeon.

Plastic surgery is a collaborative process

So should you put all your decisions in the hands of your surgeon, since he or she is the expert? Absolutely not. Your plastic surgery consultation should be collaborative. For instance, you come in with inspiration photos and clearly communicate your expectations. Your doctor then offers input on what would best suit everything from your bone structure to your musculature.

With a little back and forth, things are tweaked and the end result should be a plan that is suited to you and helps you achieve your goals. After all, it will be you who sees the results of your surgery for years to come, not the bloggers, personalities and influencers who might have appeal online. Make sure you are balancing opinions and considering carefully what results will be best for you.

The limits of online research

Being too certain about what plastic surgery procedures are right for you can lead to poor communication with your plastic surgeon. Even worse, it can leave you with results that don't match what you envision.

Let's illustrate this with an example. A woman schedules a consultation with a plastic surgeon and comes in with a detailed plan. She's been following influencers on Instagram and TikTok who have gotten the same plastic surgeries she wants. The model with the lips she wants got a lip flip. The personality with the breasts she wants got round 300cc implants with medium projection. The influencer with the hips and waist she wants got a Brazilian butt lift. She's researched all of these procedures and her options and she knows exactly what she needs.

But does she? A skilled plastic surgeon will be able to look at the various inspirations and provide guidance about how these various surgeries might work together and suggest drawbacks the patient may have not considered. The reality is that what looks great for one person may be disproportionate or may not even be achievable for another.

The cost of research

"Do your research." People tell us this all the time, especially before making a big financial investment. And make no mistake: plastic surgery is a significant financial investment. One component of this investment is to get multiple professional opinions about your plastic surgery options. Generally, this means scheduling several consultations with plastic surgeons in your area.

Many plastic surgeons charge for their consultations, with the fees typically falling in the $100-$500 range. While it may seem like a big expense to spend money on consultations, the advice you receive can prove invaluable.

Doing extensive research should not be seen as a suitable replacement for in-person consultations with board-certified plastic surgeons. The insights you receive can help you feel comfortable about your options, and the consultation is an opportunity to get a feel for each surgeon's demeanor, office atmosphere, staffing and more.

The right path for patients

In the end, it's still important for patients to do research and think carefully about what results they want. Learn the terms, read about techniques and look at before and after photos. Gather inspiration images that help you clearly communicate what you are looking for.

But when it comes to the smaller details – breast implant volume, where the incisions are placed, where to remove fat from and exactly how much – trust in your plastic surgeon. They understand how the decisions they make will work with your features and get you closer to the results you want.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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