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The Cosmetic Consultation

A consultation with a plastic surgeon should be an interactive, informative, and enjoyable experience.  At North Charlotte Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we strive to create a relaxed environment where patients can feel comfortable expressing their concerns.  We understand that patients can feel anxious or even embarrassed about discussing personal issues related to their appearance, and we place a high priority on maintaining the dignity and confidentiality of every patient.

At North Charlotte Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the success of our practice is not measured by how many patients we can “convert” to surgery after the consultation.  We use patient satisfaction as our benchmark.  With that philosophy in mind, patients are never offered a high pressure sales pitch during the consultation.  In fact, if a well-informed patient decides that a particular procedure is not what they expected, or that their goals cannot be reasonably met, it does not mean that the consultation was a waste of their time.  There are certain situations where the best decision is to forego or delay a surgical procedure.

Dr. Miles believes that a comprehensive consultation is an essential precursor to any successful surgical procedure.  For this reason, he personally spends a great deal of time with every patient during the consultation process.  Prior to scheduling a surgical procedure, Dr. Miles has two criteria that must be met.  First, a patient must be healthy enough to undergo the procedure.  Let’s face it, cosmetic surgery is not required surgery, as would be an appendectomy for example.  The “first do no harm” edict pertains to all aspects of medicine, including plastic surgery. The second prerequisite for surgery is that Dr. Miles has to offer a cosmetic procedure that has a high probability of meeting a patient’s goals.  There are currently many surgical options available to patients, however not all patients are ideally suited for every option.  Dr. Miles feels that it is important to tailor a treatment plan that specifically addresses each patient’s concerns.  Plastic surgery should give patients a more positive body image, thereby restoring confidence and improving self-esteem.  Our belief is that no patient should ever regret having a cosmetic procedure.

So what can you expect from a consultation with Dr. Miles? 
First of all you will meet Dr. Miles.  He will listen intently to all of your concerns in a relaxed and private setting.  He will make every effort to fully understand your concerns and goals.  Patients will be given a focused physical examination, emphasizing the specific areas of concern.  Photographs will be taken and are often used as tools during the consultation process.  Dr. Miles uses detailed anatomical and surgical technique diagrams to fully explain the details of every procedure.  He understands that patients have different levels of understanding about procedures and will always explain things in a straightforward and simple manner.  Finally, Dr. Miles will offer specific recommendations to help each patient reach their goals.  Sometimes a procedure other than what a patient was originally seeking is recommended in order to better meet these goals.  A procedure that works for one patient may not be optimal for another.  Patients will benefit from Dr. Miles’ years of training and experience.  The common risks associated with each procedure will also be discussed.  Patients will be given a clear estimate of how much their surgical treatment will cost, with no hidden fees or extra charges.  Additional educational materials pertaining to the recommended procedure will also be provided.  Although patients will have an opportunity to schedule surgery after the consultation, there will certainly be no pressure to do so.  In fact, if patients have any reservations about scheduling, Dr. Miles recommends that they delay immediate scheduling so that they can reflect on the information discussed during the consultation.  Patients should feel confident that they are making the right decision when they schedule a procedure.  Dr. Miles is always available for further discussion if a patient desires.

Why do we charge for a consultation?
Simply put, we place value on our consultations.  You typically get what you pay for in life, and our view is that a free consultation is generally not in a patient’s best interest.

Many offices use the lure of a free consultation as a way to maximize the number of potential patients that they can get through the door.  This tactic casts a wide net and attracts many people who are not necessarily serious about pursuing a plastic surgery procedure.  This approach inevitably leads to much shorter and less detailed consultations that are designed to “weed out” the patients who are not serious or can’t afford their desired procedure. Patients are then subjected to a high pressure sales pitch in order to cover the costs of “free consultations.”  In many offices the surgeon is not even directly involved throughout much of the consultation process, delegating tasks to staff members who are trained to “close the deal.”   Unfortunately, this methodology shortchanges the serious patients who deserve more personal attention from a highly trained plastic surgeon who will spend time listening to their concerns.

Dr. Miles spends a significant amount of time with each patient during the consultation.  Nothing less can provide patients with honest, appropriate surgical recommendations.  Patients who are serious about pursuing plastic surgery procedures (costing thousands of dollars) should find value in a comprehensive consultation, and should not be deterred by a reasonable fee for that service.  If a patient is not willing to pay for a consultation, they are likely not a serious candidate for cosmetic surgery.  At North Charlotte Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we charge a consultation fee of $50.00.  This fee is then applied as a credit to the cost of the surgery when scheduled.

We understand that patients have many choices regarding where to seek plastic surgery.  At North Charlotte Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery our goal is to provide our patients with the highest quality of care and compassion.  We prefer to attract patients to our practice based on this reputation, not based on a free consultation.  Patients should consider that a small up-front savings on a surgical consultation will seem insignificant in comparison to the costs of correcting an unsatisfactory outcome.  Or even worse, living with the regret about making a poor decision based on a hasty or inadequate consultation.

How should you prepare for the consultation?

First, our staff always strives to put every patient at ease the minute they they walk through our office doors. We don’t want anyone to feel anxious or apprehensive about their decision to seek out professional advice regarding plastic surgery.  Your reason for seeking a consultation is most likely shared by many other patients who have gone before you.  We will strive to make you feel comfortable throughout the consultation process from beginning to end.  The initial consultation appointment will take longer than other doctor’s appointments that you may be accustomed to.

Try to arrive on time with your registration paperwork completely filled out.  This will allow for more time with Dr. Miles.   The directions to our office and the registration paperwork can be found on our website.   Although you may be seeking a consultation for a specific cosmetic procedure, your general health history is also very important and will be reviewed by Dr. Miles.  The consultation will generally cover everything related to your procedure, however if you have specific questions you can write them down and bring them with you.  Spouses or other family members are welcome if you are comfortable having them present.  Please call our office if you have any questions about your consultation.

Lastly, please show up for your scheduled appointment!  Dr. Miles blocks off a lot of time for each consultation and we ask that you respect our time as much as we respect yours.  We don’t “overbook” consultations to offset potential no shows, because we don’t think that would be fair to patients who keep their commitment.  Please let us know well in advance if you need to cancel or change your appointment so we can offer that time to another patient.   You will receive a confirmation call the day before the consultation as a courtesy reminder.  We look forward to seeing you!

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