Consult and Pre-Op Questions to ask your Surgeon
Questions to ask at your consult and pre-op appointments
The information in this section is made available through the generous support of Dr. Grant Stevens.
Here is a list that you can use to formulate your own list of consult questions and pre-op questions.
You will probably not have time to ask all of these at one consult appointment, and some of the questions may automatically be covered by the surgeon. Give them time to speak first, then ask your remaining questions.
Prioritize the questions listed below. Break them down into what’s most important to you to have answered immediately – such as information about FNG (free nipple grafts), how many breast reductions the doctor does per week, etc. If you still have questions, schedule another consult until you are satisfied.
It’s recommended by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and BreastHealthOnline to have at least 3 plastic surgery consults. More consults may be in order if you are facing a free nipple graft so that you are sure you have done all you can to save your nipples. You may also need more than three if the consults you had just were not the right surgeons for you. Take your time when selecting a plastic surgeon – you want the best plastic surgeon you can find.
-How many years have you been performing breast reduction surgery?
-How many breast reductions do you perform per week? (we like to see 3-5)
-Am I covered by my insurance?
-Are you board certified?
-Approximately how many breast reductions have you done in your career thus far?
-What are the three worst things that can happen after this surgery?
-What are the chances of each of those happening?
-What do we do if those things happen?
-How much time do I need to take off work?
-What is the procedure you would use on me, and WHY?
-What determines whether I have a free nipple graft?
-If I meet the criteria for a free nipple graft, would you try to do the inferior pedicle first and then proceed with the free nipple graft if it doesn’t work?
-Will there be ANY sensation left if I do have a free nipple graft?
-Do you have any before and after pictures to show me? If not, why?
-If you do the breast reduction in accordance with the proportions of my body, what do you see as “in proportion” to the rest of my body? (ask for a ballpark size, i.e. – between a B and a C)
-Since this is my body, do I get any say in what size my breasts will be?
-Since proportion is subjective, is it my right to choose a size that is different from what you think looks good?
-Can you guesstimate the gram removal?
-Does the tissue get sent to the lab after removal for analysis?
-Can you tell me approximately how long the surgery will be?
-How do you determine the size of the nipple/areola complex? Can I have any say in the size of my new areolas?
-Do you prefer to use drains? If so, when will the drains be removed?
-At which hospital will the surgery be performed?
-Will I stay overnight?
-Will I have the opportunity to meet the anesthesiologist prior to my surgery?
-What pain medications will be given to me?
-Can I discuss anti-nausea medications and concerns with the anesthesiologist?
-What if I get a cold before my surgery?
-Do I continue to take my regular medications before surgery?
-What medications do I NOT take before surgery and immediately after surgery?
-Do I require any special tests prior to surgery?
-Do you have someone who assists you in surgery?
-Does he/she work on one breast while you work on the other?
-Will I end up with two entirely different looking breasts if I have two surgeons?
Pre-op Appointment Questions
-How soon can I drive after the surgery?
-When can I return to exercising?
-Are there any special garments that I need to wear after surgery?
-Do I bring my own bra to wear home?
-How often do I change the dressings, and what do they consist of?
-Will there be tape or bandages on the wounds afterwards? If so, for how long?
-What do I need to buy in terms of bandages, dressings or other over the counter needs that you recommend?
-How soon after surgery can I shower?
-When can sexual intercourse resume?
-Do I fill my pain medication prescription before my surgery?
-What are dog ears, and what will you do to resolve them if I get them?
-If I require additional procedures (corrective) are they also covered by insurance?
-How do you treat keloid or hypertrophic scarring if it occurs?
-May I put vitamin E or anything else on the scars afterwards? How soon?
-Do I need to pre-book extra appointments?
-How long after surgery will it be before the breasts drop into a nice shape?
-Do you insert a catheter during surgery?
-Will I have a tube put down my throat?
-What are some of the complications that some of your past patients have encountered?
-What was done as a counter-measure for the complications?
-When do you do the markings for surgery?