Question: How many doctors to see before you pick one?

Hi Dr. Davis and Dr. Pyle, I am hoping to get my breast implants in the next 3-5 years. I have a doctor in mind, and I am confused if I should still see other plastic surgeons to get different opinions or just see the one I want to do the surgery or if after the consult does or doesn’t go right, then see another one. So in other words: Do you believe in getting more than one consult with different doctors, even if after the first consult you know you want to see that specific plastic, surgeon? Also what happens if you see a few different plastic surgeons and prefer one for the actual surgery, but prefer a different ones plan/idea for how to do the implants/size/profile. Do you get that surgeon than not do his opinion for your breast implants, but instead the others doctors idea, but use him to do the actual excision? Thanks for your time and advice, I appreciate it.
1 Comment

Wow, just a great topic and a great question. Thanks for asking it.  

What you are asking is two things:  1.  Is there value in getting more than one opinion 2. If you get two opinions, should you choose your surgeon because you like the plan or because you like the surgeon and 3. What do you do if you like different doctors for each.

I'll answer in order but these are, very genuinely, just opinions.

1.  There is no magic numbers for consultations but the average person sees between 2 and 3. I don't know if that is because they didn't like or trust the first or second or because they felt the more information the better. I would probably favor seeing more than one unless you find a great fit and feel like you have an exceptional experience at the first consult. 

2. If you get two opinions, they are unlikely to agree on everything. Plastic surgery is very different from most surgical specialties in that regard. We all have our preferences and biases and you will likely see them if you go to multiple consults.  

3.  The job of a plastic surgeon, in my opinion, is to be a guide, not to be a dictator. With the exception of issues of safety, your surgeon should work with you to understand what you want and guide your decision making according to what you want and what is possible. If you find one surgeon whose plan doesn't take into account what you want, and you find another surgeon who does take into account what you want, then I would favor the surgeon who listens and works with you over the surgeon whose plan is one you disagree with.  Here's why:  you have to walk into the operating room feeling like you and your surgeon are on the same team with the same plan and with the same expectations.  If a surgeon is walking in to the OR thinking the plan is the wrong plan. . . it's a setup for a bad outcome.  It's certainly not a guarantee of a bad outcome, but it's not ideal.

In short, if you find one surgeon who you think will do the surgery well but who wants to do a surgery you don't want, and another surgeon who you don't trust to do the procedure even though it's a better plan, I would advise that you keep looking until you find both in the same place.

Breast augmentation is not the most complicated surgical procedure that a good plastic surgeon does, but the planning for it is exceptionally complicated. The difference between great breast surgeons and everyone else is that great breast surgeons are kind, they are good listeners, they are willing to tailor a plan to a specific patient, they lean on a staff they like and trust to help add different perspectives and they are efficient and thoughtful in the OR.  There are a lot of surgeons who have some of those characteristics but not a lot that have all of them. If you were my family member I would ask you to consider searching until you find one that does.

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