What should patients expect from a Pre-treatment Consultation for Aesthetic Treatment?

Clare McLoughlin is an Independent Nurse Prescriber and Advanced Procedure Aesthetic Nurse and Trainer with more than 16 years of experience in the aesthetic field.  She is a member of the ‘Save Face’ Advisory Board and works hard to promote the issue of Patient Safety in Cosmetic Therapies.

I am a firm believer in the idea that all non-surgical cosmetic procedures should include a one-to-one consultation between the patient and their Aesthetic Practitioner, prior to the day of the procedure.  This is important for so many reasons – the main reason being Patient Safety. An initial consultation with a patient allows the practitioner to take a detailed medical history to establish whether the proposed treatment is appropriate from a medical perspective.  By learning about a Patient’s historic and current medical issues, the practitioner is also able to give individually tailored pre- and post-treatment and aftercare advice, which helps ensure that any treatment given is as effective as possible.  In the initial consultation, a practitioner should give the patient an idea of what to look out for in terms of side-effects, etc.  Patient safety should be the primary concern, and a practitioner should do everything they can to ensure that the risks of unwanted side effects are reduced, wherever possible.

Usually in any consultation, you will be expected to give details about your medical history, but some practitioners also carry out an assessment of the skin (we use the Stratum Skin analysis system) and will engage in a frank and full discussion of the patient’s needs and expectations.  All of this helps the customer to understand the choices available to them and to make an informed decision regarding which, if any, treatment they would like to undertake.  Most initial consultations will also involve a full costing for both the initial treatment and for any maintenance treatments that may be required.  Patients should be given comprehensive information about the cosmeceutical products used in their chosen treatments, along with advice on simple preparations the patient can make prior to a treatment to ensure the best possible treatment experience.

Following a treatment, patients will usually be provided with before and after photos which provide a visible record of improvements, and a complimentary review with the customer will usually be scheduled 1-2 weeks after the treatment.  If, following the initial consultation, the customer has further questions about a treatment, they should have no hesitation in contacting the practitioner for a second consultation or they could put them in touch with other individuals who have had the same treatment before, so that the patient can get a fully impartial and first-hand description of the procedure and the results and of any potential risks or side-effects they have a small chance of experiencing.

Every aspect of the pre-treatment consultation should be designed with the patient in mind.  Undergoing a cosmetic procedure, even a non-invasive one, has small risks associated with it and therefore, both the patient and the practitioner need to be happy that a certain treatment is an appropriate course of action to take.  Quality cosmetic procedures can also involve a reasonable financial investment too, so knowing the full cost associated with any proposed treatment plan can also help a patient to determine whether the proposed plan put in place is financially viable for them.

Not every Aesthetic Practitioner incorporates all this in a pre-treatment consultation, but if you are considering a treatment, make sure you speak to your practitioner prior to your treatment to get all of the information you need.  If you are unsure or unhappy with any information given, seek further advice.

If you’d like to make a consultation that follows all of the above guidelines, please contact Appearance Based Medicine on 01628 303020 or visit our website at www.ab-med.co.uk.