Out of Town Cosmetic Facial Surgey
Many patients decide to have cosmetic surgery in a location other than where they live. Although patients have always traveled for surgery, it has become much more popular with the advent if the Internet. I have had a web page for my cosmetic facial surgery practice for about 12 years, but it has only been over the last 5 years that out of town (and out of the country) patients have been significant. In the information age, patients can now have “web consults” without leaving their home. In addition, they can learn about their surgeon, procedures and much more. Sometimes the information is confusing, especially for surgeons that are not credible or over rate the effects of a given procedure. Some doctors imply facelift results for minimally invasive techniques, etc. The words buyers beware exist with doctors as well as any service. It is difficult for patients to sometimes sort through all the hype and get an accurate impression of the surgeon. There are several indicators that appear to be consistent with reputable docs.
· They have professional websites
· They do not make claims that appear sensational
· They will reasonably answer emails or communicate with prospective patients
· Their work is adequately displayed in terms of many before pictures
· Their before and after pictures are well standardized in terms of head position, lighting, size, etc.
· They have meaningful and understandable explanations of procedures and relevant information
· They have procedures in place to accommodate out of town patients
Most surgeons that are experienced in treating out of town patients have well set up policies for these patients such as hotel selection, travel directions, private nursing availablity, and the ability to compete registration, etc. online to maximize patient time. If you contact a surgeon and their office seems clueless or disorganized about handling out of town patients, he or she probably does not see many distant patients. The goal of an office should be to make the consult, surgery and follow up as easy as possible for the out of town patient. Again, offices with experience in this facet are set up to make it easy.
There are some advantages of seeking out of town surgeons and these include:
· Privacy from the patient’s hometown
· Techniques or expertise that may not be available in one’s hometown
· Surgeons that have above average experience with a given procedure
Disadvantages of seeking out of town surgeons include:
· The increased hassle of scheduling and traveling out of town
· The possibility of complications that will require treatment when the patient returns home
· The difficulty of follow up appointments
Most surgeons that have reputations that bring out of town patients are well known in cosmetic surgery circles and generally have colleagues all over the country (or world) that can step in should a patient experience complications when returning home. This is an important question to ask before surgery!
Medical tourism (having surgery at a resort destination) has become popular but in my opinion is frivolous. Who wants to spend their vacation in paradise with bandage, stitches, bruises and avoiding the beach! Some of these types of situations are also less than reputable. Don’t go for a procedure from a questionable surgeon just because the live in a nice place.
I have enjoyed treating patients from all over the country (and world, for that matter)and this has been a fast growing part of my practice. These patients are generally very educated in their knowledge about the procedures and make great patients. Occasionally I see a patient that has truly unrealistic expectations and must go out of town because no local surgeons will treat them. Warning signs for these potentially problematic patients include:
· Very young patients that have already had multiple procedures untypical for their age
· Patients that seem to know more about a procedure than their surgeon
· Patients that have had numerous bad experiences with most of their former surgeons
· Patients that present with morphed pictures of exactly how they expect to look and are demanding
· Patients that expect a cosmetic procedure to change their life in ways that the average patient does not.
· Patients that may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder where they are fixated on a certain insignificant cosmetic situation.
Traveling to a surgeon out of your area can be a very rewarding experience for both the patient and surgeon and like all other things in life, require some research. See http://www.lovethatface.com/contact_cosmetic_surgeon_richmond_va/out_of_town_patients.html
for more information on how our office services out of town surgery patients.
Joe Niamtu, III DMD
Cosmetic Facial Surgery