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Hi All, I have collated a list of consultation questions from my research and sharing it here for those who may find it useful. Please feel free to add on to the list. Wishing all with upcoming surgeries a smooth journey! PRE-SURGERY POINTERS Two weeks before trip Avoid alcohol for 2 weeks before surgery No smoking at least 1 week before surgery Take vitamin supplements if needed (vitamin c, vitamin a, zinc, vitamin k, vitamin b, vitamin d, magnesium, amino acids) Avoid Vitamin E (increases bleeding) or ginseng/ ginko/ garlic/ ginger/ dongquai/ omega3 fatty acids Take good care of your skin (surgery may be postponed if there is pimple) Stop taking any medication or dietary supplements 2 weeks before surgery and notify during consultation Do not take any drugs with aspirin as they may have an undesirable side effects that may affect your surgery (abnormal bleeding and bruising). You may take Tylenol as a substitute for discomfort. The following is a summary taken from the Journal of American Medical Association on eight herbs that can potentially pose harm during and after surgery. It is recommended that the following herbs be stopped before surgery in order to avoid any potential complications from their use: St. John’s Wort can significantly increase the breakdown of other routinely administered drugs during surgery, some of which are vital to the care of patients after surgery. This should be discontinued at least 5 days before surgery. Echinacea should be used with caution in patients with asthma or allergic problems and should be discontinued as far in advance of surgery as possible. Ephedra causes a potential increase in blood pressure and heart rate. This herb has also been associated with sudden death under anesthesia. This should be discontinued at least 7 days before surgery. Garlic supplements have a potential for reducing clotting function and platelet function and should be stopped 7 days prior to surgery. Ginseng has also been shown to have effects on clotting pathways and should be discontinued approximately 7 days preoperatively. Ginkgo should be discontinued 7 days prior to surgery because it can inhibit platelet clotting factors. Kava should be discontinued 7 days preoperatively because it can increase the sedative effects of anesthetics. Valerian can increase the sedative effects of anesthetics. This should not be discontinued abruptly because there is risk of physical dependency to Valerian and withdrawal symptoms may develop. This should be tapered over several weeks before surgery. Consultation Consult 3 Clinics / Day (space out start times by at least 2 hours, but spacing out by 3 hours buffer is recommended). Prepare some photos of how you want to look. Negotiate price - a) List example prices from other clinics b) State your budget is significantly lower than it actually is c) Offer to write them a review / before and after pictures for them to use on their site Always ask about the available dates for your surgery at the end of your consultation. Make sure you clearly understand the clinic’s revision policy and it is a good idea to get this in writing. You can get this by sending your consultant a mail/message where you summarize this policy and ask the consultant whether your understanding of this is complete and correct. Bring along something to take notes. MUST notify during consultation of any allergies or hypersensitive reactions towards certain medication LIST OF CONSULTATION QUESTIONS Doctor Are you certified by the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery? Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery? How many years of plastic surgery training have you had? Is doctor X specialized in (procedure)? Or does he focus on other areas? Cost What is the exact breakdown of fees for this procedure? Are there any hidden fees? What is the total cost of the surgery including drugs and treatment aids needed after the surgery? What is included in my aftercare and what not? For example things like overnight stay, medications, scar cream, pumpkin juice, pressure garment, ice packs, deswelling treatment, hair treatment, etc.? Is there VAT refund? Where is the nearest downtown VAT refund point (i.e. apart from the airport refund counter)? What is the name of the VAT refund counter operator? If possible complications may occur, does the patient have to pay for the treatment? What is the cost for this treatment? If the patient decides to discontinue the surgery for any reason, does the patient still need to pay for the entire surgery? Surgery What procedures do I need to do or would you recommend me to do? Am I a good candidate for this procedure? How will you perform my procedure? Where will the procedure be performed? How many of these procedures do you perform a week? A month? What is the most popular surgical procedure you perform in your clinic? How many other medical staff will assist with this procedure? Will there be an anesthesiologist present during my surgery? What type of anesthesia method and anesthetic are used? Is some or all of the surgical equipment and instruments sterilized and used only for my surgery? What are the risks of the surgery? What are the complication occurrence rates and the surgeon’s surgery success rates of this clinic? How are complications handled? Can I see before and after pictures of the surgery? Post-Surgery What type of treatment will I need after the surgery? Will I need to take painkillers after the surgery? Does swelling or bruising occur after surgery? If so, is it treatable? How long will it take for me to return to day-to-day activities after the surgery? How long will the surgery results last for; if not permanent? If I need to consult the surgeon, can I meet him/her even months after the surgery? What is the clinic’s revision or refund policy in case there are complications or when I am not satisfied? What is exactly included & excluded in the revision policy, like revision excludes anesthetics costs? How many follow-up visits will I need? When is the next follow-up visit? When will the stitches be removed? How long does it take for the scars to disappear? Surgical Records Is any information about my surgery recorded? If so, how is it recorded? Will my surgical records or photos be shown to anyone else? Will my approval be sought before any of my records, including photos, are shown to someone else? Can I keep a copy of my surgical records? How long does the clinic store surgical records after the surgery? Where can I find my surgical records if the clinic which performed the surgery closes?
How to plan consultations and how long you should stay in Korea Many people go to Korea on a tight schedule in which they need to squeeze their consultations, decide and still spare enough time to have the surgery and complete their after care appointments. These are important factors and tips to maximize your time. Guideline: Consult 3 Clinics/Day 3 appointments per day is a general rule of thumb and space out start times by at least 2 hours, but spacing out by 3 hour buffer is recomended. Clinics Hours Monday to Friday 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM (on average) Saturdays are 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM (on average) Sundays (closed) Example Schedule Clinic A: 09:30 AM Clinic B: 12:30 AM LUNCH Clinic C : 14:30 PM AFTERNOON/ EVENING: Research, Analyze and Decide Example Consultation Process A typical consultation time looks like this for seeing a single surgeon. If you are seeing more than one surgeon at a clinic (Nose Surgeon + Eye Surgeon + Contouring Surgeon) add an extra 30 minutes per additional surgeon 20 minutes: Hotel to clinic commute time 15 minutes: Clinic check in / paperwork 05 minutes Photos & X-Rays 15 minutes coordinator consultation 15 minutes wait time to see surgeon 15 minutes surgeon consultation 20 minutes to coordinator pricing, scheduling and bargaining 15 minutes to commute to next appointment Average Total Time: 2 Hours to complete the appointment and arrive at the next one (if you see more than one surgeon at a clinic add an additional 30 minutes per surgeon). Know your treatment course/timeline: Knowing how long it takes to finish your aftercare and follow ups is an important variable to plan your stay time. For example rhinoplasty requires 6 to 7 days. Factor Surgery Slot Float Time Surgery float is the time spent waiting for your surgery day to arrive once you made your decision. Always ask about the available dates for surgery at the end of your consultation. Sometimes your surgery can start the same day, next day, or you may have to wait as long as one week or more. Float times increase if it's a peak season (Winter/Spring) or it's a popular clinic or high demand surgeon TIPS: Be on time. Don't be rude to other patients and staff by showing up late. Don't flake, bad Karma. Be nice, your prices can be a reflection of your attitude and difficulty or ease to manage. Don't be a hero and stack too many appointments Don't have appointments the day you land in Korea Get familiar with the clinic location. Download Naver Maps App and virtually visit the clinic. Have the clinics address in Korean and take taxis that are facing the direction of your next appointment (if it's not walking distance) Keep max clinic number to 5. After 5 you will have diminishing marginal returns. Advice will get confusing and conflicting. You will waste time and energy.