If you have visited my website, are following me on social media or are reading my blogs then you know that I am a huge advocate of the in-person consultation. It is the best way for me to truly assess your anatomy and needs in order to devise the exact right treatment plan to achieve your goals, and to get to know you one-on-one. However, given our country’s recent health crisis and necessary shelter-in-place orders along with the fact that not every patient that I treat lives in the Boston area, I wanted to take some time to discuss the benefits of a virtual consultation.
What is a Virtual Consultation?
The virtual consultation is just as the name implies — a meeting between the two of us online. I use the Zoom app, as well as other modalities. I find the virtual consultation to be a nice addition to my practice for several reasons as it allows me to:
- Stay connected with my established patients
- Meet an out-of-town patient for the first time
- Answer a patient’s question or assess an issue without he or she having to make the trek into the office
- Start the consultation process with a new patient who has read about me online
Plastic Surgery is Personal
In some ways, a consultation is like a first date. It allows you to get a feel for who I am both as a plastic surgeon and a person. The latter is important because plastic surgery is incredibly personal. By this, I don’t just mean that it is a personal choice whether or not to have plastic surgery, which it is, but that the relationship between you and me is often more intimate than one you might have with another doctor.
During a consultation, virtual or in-person, we are talking about the issues on your face, breast or body that you don’t like. They might even make you feel bad about yourself. This requires a great deal of vulnerability on your part. You must trust that I am going to be there for you, without judgment, and help you on your journey to feeling like the best version of yourself. Honestly, this is, and always has been, my goal. I fell in love with plastic surgery because it exists at the crossroad between art and science, and allows me to take all of my skills, both inherent and learned, and use them to help others feel more vital, confident, and comfortable in their skin. I like to think that I connect with all of my patients, and the consult is the beginning of that journey.
Virtual Consultation: Great Way to Educate
Obviously, it is hard to assess any issue that is small, such as fine lines and wrinkles, or challenging to see on a virtual consultation. Furthermore, I don’t ever allow a patient to disrobe online. If you have a breast or body issue that requires you to be undressed, I will have you safely send me a photo to review. The virtual consultation is best for discussing your options in a general sort of way. With the proliferation of information online about plastic surgery and the explosion of social media influencers, patients today typically know quite a bit about their procedure or procedures of interest. Having said that, though, many are still confused as to what a specific procedure actually does.
For example, Botox™ and fillers are both injectables, yet they are not the same thing. Neurotoxins such as Botox™ and Dysport™ work by temporarily freezing the underlying dynamic muscles like the one between your eyebrows. Less activity in the muscle allows the surface of the skin to appear smoother. But fillers fill in lost volume such as:
- Deeper lines and wrinkles
- Furrow in the nasolabial folds
- Depression or scar
- Sunken cheeks
Do You Need a Surgical or Non-Surgical Procedure?
Nowhere is this plastic surgery confusion more rampant than in non-surgical versus surgical procedures. A virtual consultation allows me to educate you on the ins and outs of all your options so that you can go do further research on your own and decide what’s right for you. Let’s say that you come in because you don’t like the look of your abdomen. As a body contouring expert, I offer my patients the complete range of treatment options from non-surgical such as:
To surgical such as:
While everyone would prefer a non-surgical procedure, not everyone is a good candidate. If you have had children and/or gained and lost more than 20 lbs., the skin on your abdomen has probably stretched beyond its ability to “bounce back” and re-form over your new contour. This means that though a non-surgical procedure such as Coolsculping® or SculpSure® may get rid of some of the fat, you are still going to be left with loose and hanging skin.
It is my job to present you with the treatment plan that will work for your unique anatomy, needs and lifestyle. This may mean that we decide to go the non-surgical route due to the lack of downtime, but I will always be honest with you about what to expect in terms of your results. Bottom line, I want you to be happy and the best way to ensure this is to make certain that you understand what a procedure can actually deliver for you.
To find out more about a virtual consultation, an in-office consultation or an aesthetic procedure with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.