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Group consultations give breast surgery patients better sense of outcomes

Article-Group consultations give breast surgery patients better sense of outcomes

Key iconKey Points

  • Group consultations along with 3-D imaging allows for greater patient satisfaction after breast augmentation
  • Patients should be screened to ensure they would be a good fit for a group consultation
  • 3-D imaging may provide surgeon the opportunity to point out fine asymmetries to the patient

Group consultations, coupled with the use of three-dimensional imaging, lead to greater patient satisfaction in breast augmentation patients, according to the chief of plastic surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia.

"Group consultations are very patient-centred," says Louis Bucky, M.D., F.A.C.S., clinical professor of surgery, division of plastic surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. "Patients will ask questions that other patients have not thought of. I think that's very important."

Speaking at the 12th annual Toronto Breast Surgery Symposium, Dr. Bucky explained that he holds group consultations about twice per month and has about six to eight patients who take part in the consultation. He presents a slide show and discusses topics such as the surgery itself, preoperative planning, implant selection, and the complications that can arise. He also depicts preoperative and postoperative images of prior patients.

"It gives them a sophisticated education about breast augmentation," he says, stressing that the group consultation is not a seminar and that a different dynamic emerges in a many-to-one consultation compared to a one-on-one consultation.

CONSULT DETAILS Consultations can be held up to three times a month at some points in the year, he says, noting the office must have sufficient space to hold a group consultation.

Dr. Bucky says his staff performs screening of women to determine which patients are appropriate to participate in a group consultation, since not all patients are suitable candidates for such.

"My staff gets to know who is a good candidate for a group consultation," Dr. Bucky says. "They like the process and like having an increased role in education. Individuals won't be selected for a consultation if they are expressing a lot of concerns over the phone or sound like they would not be comfortable in a group consultation. I would see a patient like that privately."

Patients who take part in a consultation rarely ask impertinent questions or are negative in regards to the process, he says. The screening by the office staff minimizes that occurrence.

Immediately following the group consultation, Dr. Bucky selects three or four patients for a private consultation if they are motivated and express great interest in pursuing breast augmentation surgery. These individuals are measured and imaged and meet privately with Dr. Bucky for about 15 minutes. He purposely selects a maximum of four patients, so that they don't experience long waits while in his office. While one person is being measured, for example, another patient is being imaged, he explains.

"The longest an individual waits is 45 minutes," Dr. Bucky says.

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