Your personal checklist: what to expect from a breast cosmetic consultation

Written by: Ms Anushka Chaudhry
Published:
Edited by: Cal Murphy

Cosmetic surgery of any kind is a big decision. It will change some aspect of your appearance, often irreversibly, and could have a big impact on your life, hopefully in a good way. However, as with any surgery, there are also risks to consider. Before making this decision, there are a number of things you should think about and steps to take to make sure you make the right decision for you. Expert breast surgeon Ms Anushka Chaudhry brings you a checklist of things to help you prepare for a cosmetic consultation for breast surgery.

  • Undergoing cosmetic surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly so make sure you do your research.
  • Speak to your GP or friends for recommendations.
  • Think long and hard about whether it is the right choice for you and have clear reasons for wanting cosmetic surgery, and that these have been made by you and you alone.
  • Consider your options and make sure that you have researched your chosen procedure.
  • Try to be certain it will improve your wellbeing and quality of life.
  • Expect to be a charged for a thorough first consultation for a professional opinion.
  • Good surgeons should offer you a second consultation, at no extra cost, after you have had time to cool off and think things through.
  • Some surgeons offer free mini-consultations which can be useful if you are not exactly sure of your options, or you just want to see if you will click with that particular surgeon.

 

So, who should be operating on you?

 

What are the potential risks and complications?

  • There are risks with any surgical procedure, so do your homework on complications before the consultation and gauge how this matches with what you are told.
  • Find out what they are and how often they occur.
  • Learn how they will be handled if they do occur.
  • Your surgeon should not shy away from talking about the risks or potential complications for each procedure.

 

What are your surgeon’s results like?

It is important to know how they measure their results and their complication rates.

  • Do they collect patient satisfaction data?
  • What proportion of their patients needs further corrective surgery?

In terms of what to expect for the future, it’s good to go through what results you can expect and how long they will last.

  • Will the procedure need to be repeated in the future to maintain the result?
  • How long will your implants last, will they need to be replaced and what are the potential costs for future procedures?
  • What aftercare do they provide?
  • Who to contact and how to reach them, especially if there are any complications or problems.
  • Detailed account of the aftercare that you are entitled to following surgery.
  • Ask for a clear pathway for advice and care if there are any problems.

 

When you meet your surgeon

  • Do they make you feel welcome and at ease?
  • Do they listen to your concerns and offer feedback?
  • Do they understand your expectations and options?

 

During the examination

  • Is the surgeon courteous and professional?
  • Did they understand your areas of concern?
  • Do they understand your expectations?
  • Do they help you understand your options?
  • Did they take photographs with signed consent?

 

Financial and further planning

  • Ask for pricing information and whether the hospital has finance packages.
  • Expect to make payment prior to the day of the procedure.
  • You might want to look at potential dates for surgery and discuss a second consultation.
  • Don’t feel pressurised to sign a consent form at your first consultation. It’s always advisable to have a cooling off period in order to consider your options and take in all the information you’ve been given.

By Ms Anushka Chaudhry
Surgery

Ms Anushka Chaudhry is a leading consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon based in Swindon, who specialises in breast cancer, breast reconstruction, breast lift, breast augmentation, breast reduction and male breast surgery.

Ms Chaudhry completed her medical degree at Guys’ and St Thomas’ Medical School in 2001. She underwent her Oncoplastic Fellowship at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a national oncoplastic training centre, where she gained unique insights into both plastic and oncological breast surgery.

Ms Chaudhry is the Undergraduate Tutor in General Surgery in Swindon for Bristol Medical School and is on the Education and Training Committee at the Association of Breast Surgery, ABS.  She led the Leadership and Management module of the Oncoplastic MS at the University of East Anglia for 4 years, where she was an honorary senior lecturer. She has won national awards and given presentations on the intraoperative molecular diagnosis of lymph nodes in breast cancer patients using OSNA. Ms Chaudhry has a keen interest in patient-reported outcomes after breast reconstruction and has published book chapters and contributed to studies in the subject.

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