Many of the best plastic surgeons in the nation have their schedules fully booked anywhere from two to six months in advance.
If a surgeon is nationally famous, particularly popular on social media, or provides an exclusive or trademarked speciality, that wait time may extend out for as many as 8-12 months.
Long wait times for plastic surgery are a fantastic sign and rather than causing you anguish, should be somewhat comforting. You want the polar opposite of a Miami chop shop–which can get you in today, and at an exclusive discount! These are major red flags that have led to more than a few disfigured patients.
Plastic surgery is not a speed or numbers game. There is no assembly line. There are no second surgeons who can come in to relieve a crowded calendar.
But, you wonder, how many people in your area could possibly be getting surgery at exactly the same time as you? Valid question. The answer is that beyond the many dozens of patients in your immediate area who might be seeing the same surgeon, some renowned plastic surgeons see as many as 1/3rd of their patients from overseas and/or other states.
Great plastic surgeons have a national or international patient base.
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Should you wish to have plastic surgery and you find that your surgeon will be unavailable for the next few to several months, finding another plastic surgeon is always an option, though never a very good option.
As a general rule, plastic surgeons are booked in advance in near direct proportion to their expertise and experience. There are parts of the country where you will find this isn’t the case, but when it comes to the beauty hotspots or plastic surgery centric states, including California, Texas, and New York, you are looking at schedules that are built up and booked out in full as a result of years of safe surgeries and superior results.
In many cases, the immediate availability of a plastic surgeon (think anything less than 1-2 months at a minimum) could be seen as something of a red flag, providing, of course, that you’re situated in a large city.
Nonsurgical procedures = rapid scheduling
For a noninvasive cosmetic procedure, such as a facial, light to medium chemical peel, cellulite treatment, or CoolSculpting, bookings are far less packed—if only for the fact the procedures don’t take as long—and finding your way onto a schedule is much easier.
The wait time on these procedures is often about 5-12 days, again depending upon what practice you choose to go to.
Unlike a surgical procedure, noninvasive and nonsurgical treatments can be done by aesthetic experts who have completed extensive but less lengthy training regimens, and there are often more than one of them on a practice’s staff.
Your readiness for surgery: 14-21 days
Another factor involved in scheduling is that in preparation for thier surgery, patients will be advised to start doing some things and stop doing others. That can include taking or not taking certain medications, making adjustments to one’s diet, ceasing smoking, avoiding alcohol, and removing from one’s regimen certain vitamins and supplements that increase bleeding and bruising.
This readiness period typically lasts 14-21 days, though for smoking cessation it should be as long as possible, with one month being a widely agreed upon minimum length of time. Your surgeon will provide case-specific advice.
Dealing with delays
If your surgeon’s schedule is full for the next several months and you wish to have your surgery at the earliest possible opportunity, the best things to do are usually to let the office staff know of your goal, follow your surgeon on social media, and sign up for any email newsletter or updates if the practice puts one out, as these are the channels on which news of the occasional schedule opening and availability are often first shared.
Start looking a full year in advance
Since scheduling of the surgery itself is done anywhere from two to six or more months in advance, you will want to begin your research and due diligence on your procedure and your surgeon of choice anywhere from 8-10 months before you hope to have your surgery done.
A year out from your desired date is an even better option, as it allows you the time to thoroughly research and get a firm understanding of what exactly your body will be going through (yes, you should watch those graphic YouTube videos), as well as gain an understanding of the risks and potential complications involved.
Then comes the tedious process of selecting a surgeon who fits your unique aesthetic and safety criteria.
Don’t jump from surgeon to surgeon
If after familiarizing yourself with the surgical procedure itself, and vetting a number of surgeons, you find yourself in the unfortunate position of discovering there are no openings in your surgeon’s schedule for several months to come, do not out of desperation jump to a new surgeon.
This is an extremely important takeaway: Resist the urge to jump to another surgeon merely because the surgeon you vetted and settled on has a packed schedule.