Before the pandemic swept the globe, a virtual consultation with a plastic surgeon was virtually unheard of. It was typically only used in instances where patients were a very great distance away from the available surgeons, or patients were housebound for various reasons. Now, a virtual consultation with a plastic surgeon is fairly common.
Yet, you might be wondering how different a virtual consultation is from an in-person consultation. You might also be wondering if there are any benefits or drawbacks to a virtual consultation. Like any other decision you have to weigh, you will find that these consultations are quite different, and there are definitely some benefits and drawbacks to virtual consultations.
Creating a Secure Internet Channel for Your Virtual Consultation
The first major difference is that you can’t just use any old means of communicating with a doctor or surgeon over the internet. The surgeon has to use a secure video conferencing channel for both private and professional reasons. HIPAA laws restrict what video platforms doctors can use, and it is even more vital to the privacy of your body and the surgeries you seek that the video conferencing platform be only open and accessible to you and your surgeon.
If you were seeing the surgeon in person for a consultation, you would be in a waiting room behind an exam curtain while your surgeon examines the body parts you want altered by plastic surgery. Ergo, it has to be the same level of privacy online. Your surgeon will be sure to send you a link to join a video chat for the date and time of your consultation.
The Doctor Can See What You Want to Change, but Can’t Feel It
The plastic surgeon can see everything you want to change, including your breasts, your buttocks and any other body part you want altered. That is the same as it would be if you were seeing the surgeon in person. The biggest difference here is that he or she would not be able to touch or feel these body parts, and that is often a deciding factor in whether or not you are a good candidate for the surgeries you seek.
In-person consultations involved the plastic surgeon lifting, gently squeezing, and feeling around the body parts for bone structure, fat masses, blood circulation, skin elasticity, and previous scar tissue. These factors affect how well a surgery comes out as well as whether or not the surgeon feels that a surgery can be successful for you. While you may be instructed by the doctor to describe how your skin, flesh and bones feel or conduct a few quick visual tests for the doctor on a virtual call, it may still not be enough to determine the level of success for the procedures you want.
For these reasons, a second consultation may be required, or the surgeon/doctor may decide that you should come in in person instead of a virtual consultation. He or she may want to take some photos of the areas in question, too. While the surgeon is able to take photos online with the camera attached to the virtual chat window, lighting in your home may be too poor to get an accurate idea of the condition of your skin.
Benefits and Drawbacks of in-Person Consultation and Safety Measures in Play
There’s still a risk of COVID infection with an in-person consultation for any doctor and any health concern or surgical request. It is one of the biggest reasons why most doctors are only seeing patients virtually. In truth, it is the only drawback to an in-person consultation right now because most of the benefits of an in-person consultation for plastic surgery outrank this one drawback.
If you are concerned about the pandemic, most plastic surgeons are taking incredible precautions when they see potential patients in person. They are fully suited up with PPE and they wear masks. They may not have gloves on just to get a good idea of the density and feel of your tissues, but they wash in between every patient too. Clinics and waiting rooms are sanitized after every patient appointment, making it a very safe environment to conduct an in-person exam for plastic surgery.
Choose the Type of Consultation Appointment That’s Right for You
Understandably, you may not want to see any doctor in person just yet. If that is the case, be sure to choose a plastic surgeon that offers private, secure, and personal consultations via video chat. If you are comfortable with masking up and seeing a plastic surgeon in person, then you are free to see any surgeon that is currently offering in-person visits as well as virtual visits. Choose the one type of appointment with which you feel most comfortable and think that the surgeon is most likely to get the bet view of the body parts you want to change.
Another approach is to see a plastic surgeon in person for extremely personal surgeries, such as labia tightening, breast augmentation, lift or reduction, and/or testicular or penile implants. Use virtual appointments for things like a facelift or rhinoplasty, where it isn’t quite so embarrassing or awkward to try to show the doctor these parts of your body via your computer’s webcam.
Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon
After you have made up your mind how best to meet with a plastic surgeon for an initial consultation, it is time to find the surgeon you want to hire. In New York City, a good surgeon to consider is Andrew Jacono MD FACS. He is one of the leading plastic surgeons in the city and he can meet with you in whatever way you find most comfortable. His schedule offers flexible appointments too. He only does facial plastic surgery and reconstructive facial surgery, but if that’s all you want done, he is one of the best. It is very easy to do a virtual appointment for facial surgeries with Dr. Jacono as you only have to bring an exposed face to the screen.