Q: I would like to have a consultation but live far away. Can I get some answers to my questions on the phone or by e-mail? I have read that some plastic surgeons consult with patients online. Is that possible?
A: The large amount of internet material on cosmetic surgery has helped to fuel the demand for these procedures. But access to the internet is not, unfortunately, always the best way to get accurate information. Prospective patients still need a professional to help them decipher what all they read means and how it applies to their individual needs. While an actual visit to a plastic surgeon and a face-face consultation is a necessary step before ever scheduling surgery, the accessibility and low expense of the internet provides a very convenient method to answer some basic questions from afar.
In my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, I use the internet service, Skype, for webcam video conversations. For the first time in medical history, it is now possible to have an online video discussion with a plastic surgeon from anywhere in the world provided you have a webcam on your computer or laptop. (you can even do it from your smartphone)
To take advantage of this option, first find a plastic surgeon who offers Skype and performs the type of cosmetic procedures in which you are interested. Then go to the Skype website, download the application and register under your name. This process is free and takes less than five minutes to do. You will need to add the plastic surgeon to your contact list. That requires knowing how their name is registered and that should be available on their website. In my case, it is dr.barry.eppley. Add the name to your contact list and then send a message requesting a video conversation.Tell briefly in the message what your subject area or concerns are.
While this video conversation method is not a replacement for having an actual consultation in the plastic surgeon’s office, it provides a unique opportunity to ask questions directly to a plastic surgeon without leaving the comfort of your own home or city. It can be a great first step in your informational gathering process.
Dr. Barry Eppley