Summary: We’ve come up with three tips for talking to your surgeon because we’ve heard these conversations can be a little challenging. As a patient, you’ve got tons of information coming at you incredibly quickly. You might forget about questions you were going to ask. Or maybe you just felt like the conversation moved too quickly to interject. These three tips will get you thinking about how talking to your plastic surgeon can get a little bit easier.
Three Tips for Talking to Your Plastic Surgeon
Part of the consultation process is talking to your plastic surgeon. Typically, when the process is just starting out, this is referred to as a “consultation.” Eventually, these consultations morph into different kinds of appointments (follow up care after your surgery, for example). But it can be a bit of challenge to talk to your plastic surgeon–and we’re here to help.
We’ve assembled these three tips for talking to your plastic surgeon because communication is incredibly important. But that doesn’t always mean it’s easy.
It’s not like anyone is sabotaging communication on purpose, far from it. It’s just that surgeons can be somewhat intimidating, if only because they’re so incredibly knowledgeable about the surgical process, what procedures you might be need done, and so on. Their expertise can inadvertently lead to a rather one sided conversation, which can prevent more engagement on your part. Hopefully, these three tips for talking to your plastic surgeon can help.
Tip #1: Prepare a List of Questions Beforehand
When you’re in the moment and your plastic surgeon is discussing your potential procedure, whether it’s hand surgery or breast augmentation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget what questions you had. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions beforehand.
Write these questions down on a piece of paper, and bring the paper with you to your consultation. Anything the surgeon covers, you can cross off your list. That way, you can still ask about anything that doesn’t get covered during your surgeon’s explanation.
A list of prepared questions will also help you keep track of what’s been discussed. And the act of writing has been known to improve memory (so you’re more likely to remember your questions if you write them down). Plastic surgery is, generally speaking, all about you. So take the time to write down all of the questions and concerns you have throughout the process.
Tip #2: Take Notes
Consultations can often be somewhat long and somewhat complicated. Often, surgeons will try to aid your absorption of information by giving you a handout–and that can be amazingly helpful! But you can do a little more to help yourself by going back to school and taking some notes!
I know, I know, taking notes sounds a little… laborious. But there are a couple of really good reasons to bust out a notepad and get writing:
- Note-taking aids in memory formation. You’re more likely to remember the details of conversation when you’re taking notes.
- Your notes give you a nice little record of what’s been discussed. You can revisit your notes later to see if you’ve had any more questions develop.
- Taking notes can help keep you engaged in the conversation (it’s a way to keep your mind from wandering).
That doesn’t mean you have to take notes at every single consultation or appointment. Just keep it in mind as potential strategy.
Tip #3: Treat Your Surgeon Like a Person
This is going to sound like a weird tip. But it could help you. Okay, here goes: remember that you’re the customer here. Especially if you’re undergoing an elective procedure. That doesn’t mean you should be disrespectful in any way or expect some kind of medical special treatment (beyond the normal, anyway).
It just means that you don’t need to be intimidated. A good surgeon is a partner, and he or she relies on your input to ensure that you like the end results. In the best cases, this means open and honest communication between surgeons and patients.
And that kind of communication is much easier to achieve when you think of your plastic surgeon as, well, as a person in addition to being a surgeon.
Get to Know Your Surgeon
The consultation process isn’t just about learning what will happen with a given plastic surgery procedure. It’s also about getting to know your plastic surgeon. Ideally, you want a plastic surgeon who is incredibly qualified and experienced. But you also want a plastic surgeon you can trust.
And it can take a little bit of time for that trust to develop. Hopefully these three tips for talking to your plastic surgeon will help you through the consultation process and find the right surgeon for you!
About the Author: Nick Engebretson has been working with plastic surgeons for over twenty years. He loves writing about plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures.