Preparing For Your Breast Reduction Consultation Appointment

The Consultation - Screening a Surgeon

The Internet is full of information to help you organize your breast reduction consultation, so you can get referrals, tips, warnings, support and more just by going online. After researching breast reduction surgery and looking at hundreds of before-and-after photos, you will choose one or more surgeons and schedule consultations. It's vital to actually meet your surgeon and visit his office.

Included in this section are lists and links to printer-friendly lists of information and questions to ask a plastic surgeon that you may find helpful in preparing for your consultation.

What to Do Before Your Consult

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  1. Check around and be aware of all your options. Research the many techniques. This may take some time, but it is well worth it. Don't just go to the first doctor you hear about. Take your time consulting and gaining various opinions.

  2. There is a vast amount of information available on the web as well as free pamphlets available at libraries, patient information organizations and doctors' offices, without obligation.

  3. Don't be afraid to ask around about breast surgeons. Check phonebooks, ask at your salon or gym, go through referral agencies, ask nurses, search online, or join our chat and forum discussions.

  4. Compile a list of possible breast surgeons and begin checking out their licensure, credentials, and whether there have been any disciplinary actions. Ask about continued medical education (CME), and check for possible negative media coverage.

  5. You can find out if a surgeon has been disciplined by writing your State Medical Board.

  6. Check with the American Board of Medical Specialists by calling 1-800-776-2378 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time to verify American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certification, or visit the ABMS website at

  7. Has the doctor's malpractice insurance ever been cancelled? Some state medical boards will tell you when a doctor has had insurance cancelled. (Beware! Most doctors can get insurance no matter how bad their record is).

  8. What does the American Medical Association (AMA) have on file about the doctor? The American Medical Directory, published by the AMA, lists the affiliations of its members. It should be available at your public library. For a $60 fee, the AMA will provide biographical information on as many as four physicians. Note: If your surgeon is not found on the AMA lists, this is not a red mark. Not every doctor belongs to the AMA. Write to the AMA, Department of Physician Data Services, Dept. P, 515 N. State St. Chicago, Illinois 60610

  9. Just because a doctor has been involved in a lawsuit, does not mean he is a bad choice. People sue for everything nowadays and some doctors who don't wish to go through the battle will settle out of court. Likewise, if a doctor has never been disciplined, it does not mean he is a good choice either. Maybe it just hasn't happened yet.

  10. Beware of the doctor who fails to listen to your concerns or fails to bring the risks and complications of your chosen procedure to your attention. Know the risks!

  11. Trust your instincts as well. Sometimes, if you have a bad feeling about someone or something, there's a reason.

  12. Not all cosmetic surgeons charge for a consultation. The price of the consult does not necessarily reflect on the skill of the surgeon. Prices vary from free to $500.

  13. Speak to others who have undergone or will undergo the same procedure you are interested in. Check out our Discussion Forum.

  14. If you view breast reduction photos (from the web, doctors' offices, etc.), do realize that they can be retouched or digitally airbrushed and don't rely solely on them. It is very important to view before and after photos to get a sense of the surgeon's style.

  15. Look through magazines, old photos or other sources to help you decide what you do and do not want as a result. But be realistic in your expectations. Your body is made from living tissue, not modeling clay.

  16. Compile a list of the medications, if any, that you may be taking. Your doctor should instruct you to refrain from ingesting any products containing aspirin or even herbal products such as Echinacea prior to surgery. View the Medication and Supplement List on our website.

  17. Discuss with your spouse or significant other your wishes and concerns. Perhaps they may have input or concerns you may not have thought of.

  18. Ask if you can bring a friend or spouse with you to your consultation. Support can be very beneficial during your meeting.

What to Bring to Your Breast Reduction Consult:

  1. Bring a list of questions you may have for the breast surgeon.

  2. Bring your list of medications for reference.

  3. Bring some photos to provide a visual for the surgeon of the results you want and don't want.

Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon for Breast Reduction

First, I'd like to say that I am not suggesting that you ask your surgeon every single question listed on these two lists. These lists are provided to give you a general idea of what should be asked by you or told to you by your surgeon. Many of these questions will be answered without prompting from you. These lists are more like cue cards, but conveniently all on one sheet. For ease of reference, use a highlighter to mark the number next to the questions you wish to address at your consultation. Good Luck!

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  1. How long have you been performing breast reduction surgery?

  2. How many breast reductions do you perform each month?

  3. Which techniques do you perform?

  4. What technique would you recommend for my needs and what factors determine this?

  5. Which general breast shape will I have postoperatively?

    [ ] cone-shaped [ ] sloped [ ] high, flattened and rounder [ ] other

  6. Do you keep the nipple and areola complex attached via a pedicle or detach it completely?

  7. How long does it take to perform the breast reduction surgery?

  8. Do you have a video of the breast reduction lift procedure that I may check out? [ ] yes [ ] no

  9. What is the overall cost of this breast reduction procedure?

  10. Does this price include postoperative visits? [ ] yes [ ] no

  11. Should I get a mammogram beforehand?

  12. What preliminary tests are required before surgery (i.e. CBC, Chem-7, pregnancy test, etc)

  13. Will I be receiving a list of medications to avoid? [ ] yes [ ] no

    If not, have them check over our print out at

  14. Do you recommend taking Arnica montana or bromelain tabs?

  15. Do you recommend that I take other supplements like vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, L-Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, etc?

  16. Do you recommend a special diet or sensible diet balanced with whole grain carbs, protein and vegetables beforehand? What about low sodium, no caffeine, etc

  17. Will my procedure be covered by my insurance?

  18. How much volume must be removed, on average, to qualify for insurance coverage? ___ grams___ cc

  19. How much is expected for a down payment to hold my surgery date and when do you require the balance?

  20. Do you finance? If not, which companies do you recommend?

  21. Will my procedure be performed in a hospital setting or an outpatient care facility?

  22. If in a surgical center, is this facility accredited? If so, by whom?

  23. What type of anesthesia will be used?

  24. Do you use a certified anesthesiologist?

  25. Will I have to be catheterized?

  26. If so, will you wait until I am anesthetized to do so?

  27. What are the risks and complications for reduction mammoplasty?

  28. What percentage of patients develop fat or skin necrosis?

  29. Have any of your patients developed fat or skin necrosis?

  30. Are there any unforeseen problems associated with breast reduction that I should be aware of?

  31. If I have any complications, will you be the surgeon on call should I have a problem?

  32. Do I need an areolae reduction? How many centimeters will my areolae be post-op?

  33. Will you be using sutures, staples or tissue glue to close the external sutures?

  34. Will you use permanent sutures such as Mersilene or Prolene?

    [ ] yes [ ] no

  35. What happens if an internal suture "pops", or extrudes, from my breast?

  36. Will I have drains inserted? [ ] yes [ ] no If yes, where are they placed and when are they removed?

  37. How great will my pain be? What medications do you prescribe?

  38. Do you encourage the use of a pain pump?

  39. When will I be able to shower again?

  40. What should I expect during recovery?

  41. Will there be a lot of swelling and bruising?

  42. How bad will my scars be?

  43. Do you use Steri-Strips? [ ] yes [ ] no

  44. Do you recommend silicone sheeting or silicone for scars?

  45. Can I go braless after I heal? Should I?

  46. What size do you think I will be post-op?

  47. May I see your breast reduction before-and-after photo album?

  48. Have you performed a breast reduction on anyone of your staff? May I speak to her?

  49. Do you have a referral list so that I may speak to a few of your patients?

  50. Will I still have sensitivity in these areas postoperatively?

  51. Must I provide and bring the day of surgery two front closure bras or a sports bra. Where is the best place to purchase these bras? Are there any particular brand names that you recommend?

  52. How long will it be before I can lift objects over 5 pounds?

  53. When will I be able to exercise and return to life as usual?

  54. How long will it take to see my true results?

  55. What if I develop "dog ears" -- will you correct this problem? If so, at what cost to me?

  56. Will I be able to breastfeed one day?

  57. If I need an additional surgery to correct significant asymmetry, what will the costs be and will I be responsible?

  58. How long must I wait before having revision surgery?

Furthermore, if you can think of any other questions to ask your plastic surgeon, or additional information you desire to know, don't hesitate to ask or express your concerns.