A New Trend for Plastic Surgeons: Virtual Consultations

Technology is changing the way that medicine is practiced around the world. Telemedicine improves access to medical services and can save time and money for both medical teams and their patients. During the current times, when plastic surgeons and other medical service providers are dealing with the challenge of Covid-19, the interest in virtual consultation technology has grown.

Dr. Castaneda using Vectra Technology during a Virtual Consultation

Virtual consultations make it possible for plastic surgeons to see patients and share pictures. More than 600 doctors in the US have opted to use the virtual consultation tool on the RealSelf cosmetic treatment app. While surgeons may currently be unable to carry out elective surgeries and any non-emergency appointments and procedures, they can start to prepare for when these things are allowed again.

The Benefits of Virtual Consultations for Plastic Surgeons

Virtual consultations offer a number of excellent benefits for plastic surgeons. Using virtual consultations allows surgeons to consult with patients who are outside their city or local area. In fact, they can even be used by plastic surgeons consulting with patients in different countries. Medical tourism is likely one of the factors driving the successful cosmetic surgery sectors in countries such as South Korea, Brazil, and Thailand.

Using virtual consultations, the initial consultation with a patient can be carried out without seeing them in person, helping plastic surgeons to expand their customer base.

Plastic surgeons may also save time and money by using virtual consultations. It makes consultations quicker and easier to arrange because they are more flexible than requiring someone to come into the office. Offering a virtual consultation can give surgeons a chance to convince potential clients that they are the right surgeon for them. They can use the consultation to start building trust and allow the client to get to know them. Virtual tools can also be used to follow up on a client after they have had a procedure, reducing the need for them to come back into the office.

virtual consultation plastic surgery

The Benefits of Virtual Consultations for Clients

People looking for services from cosmetic surgeons also benefit from the option of virtual consultations. When they have a virtual consultation available to them, they can save time by cutting down on travel. It makes it easier for them to shop around because the process of an initial consultation is quicker and simpler. They can save money thanks to cutting down on their need to travel, and they save time by avoiding visiting a plastic surgeon who they might ultimately decide is not right for them. Virtual consultations are beneficial for both plastic surgeons and their clients.

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Why Virtual Consultations Are More Important Now Than Ever

Virtual consultations for plastic surgeons are currently more important than they have ever been before. Due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the practice of virtual consultations is not just a question of convenience but is also essential for public health. Take a look at Google trends data. At the time of this post, there was a HUGE surge towards Google searches for “Virtual Consultations”.

Plastic surgeons are using virtual consultations to help people plan for plastic surgery during Covid-19. With restrictions on travel in some parts of the world and strong recommendations not to travel in other places, conducting consultations using video calls, phone calls, and email is the safest option.

The Basics of Virtual Consultations

A variety of tools are used to provide virtual consultations to clients in cosmetic surgery. These include video call applications, email, online chat, phone calls, and mobile apps. These communication tools are often used together with imaging tools that allow doctors to carefully examine clients and model the results of procedures.

Many doctors will ask potential clients to send images of the area that they want to alter before their consultation. When these tools have been used, patients have reported shorter waiting times and spent less time in the appointment, saving time for both the clients and the doctors.

Sharing Photographs and Video Images

In addition to using video calls and other communication tools, plastic surgeons ask clients to share photos and video images to help them during consultations. Sending photos ahead of the appointment allows doctors to examine the area from different angles and get a good idea of what they look like now and what they want to change. They may also use a video consultation to see the client in real-time and have the opportunity to discuss their goals and desires.

Dr. Quiroz using Vectra Technology during a Virtual Consultation

Computer Imaging During Consultations

Other types of technology can enhance the ability of plastic surgeons to provide their services during consultations. Computer imaging has become increasingly sophisticated and can help plastic surgeons to demonstrate the results of procedures for their clients. These tools can be useful during consultations through emailing images or even screen-sharing. Virtual makeover tools such as facetouchup can be used by both doctors and their clients to make it easier to visualize which procedures could offer them the results that they are looking for.    

Virtual Consultation During Covid-19

In China, online consultations for plastic surgery grew by 134% on one app, SoYoung. In February, about 40,000 people requested a virtual consultation. This rise can be viewed in connection with the limits on movement and travel during the month, making it more difficult for people to travel for consultations. Virtual consultations allow people to practice social distancing while still planning for future events. No one wants their life to stop completely, and virtual consultations make it possible for clients and doctors to continue planning for when travel restrictions will be lifted.

Virtual Consultations Don’t Completely Replace Meeting in Person

It’s important to remember that virtual consultations are not a complete replacement for in-person meetings. Even after a virtual consultation, it is smart for doctors to meet their clients before carrying out a surgery. They should see their clients in-person and reassess them to ensure that what they have planned so far is still appropriate. Evaluating someone when they are in your office is different from assessing them via the medium of photos and video calls, and the differences must be taken into account.

Virtual consultations are helping plastic surgeons to prepare for elective procedures so that they are ready when they are next able to carry them out. However, they are also useful at all times, and not just when in-person meetings aren’t possible. 

With hundreds of virtual consults happening each month, time slots are filling up. Ready for your Virtual Consultation? Click here or call (619) 738-2144

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.