Why you should be careful with free consultations

People who want to undergo cosmetic surgery usually take advantage of a prior consultation in the office of the operating surgeon. This detailed consultation is not only useful to find out about all the details of the medical procedure. It is even necessary. Because the greater the surgical intervention, the more serious the resulting consequences can be.

Important questions in a Consultation

In an initial consultation, the specialist discusses with the patient the exact course of the operation, the type of anesthesia used, and all the opportunities and risks that the operation offers.

Existing and currently present diseases and intolerances are named. In addition, the surgeon informs the patient about all follow-up examinations and aftercare and tells him the exact costs of the operation.

It is problematic that some providers of cosmetic surgery advertise free consultations.

The free initial consultations are often accompanied by the intention to persuade the interested party to undergo surgery in general and to undergo surgery in precisely this specialist practice.

Such doctors explain to the patient that it is only a non-binding information and that he can decide for himself whether he wants to undergo the procedure or not. Unfortunately, the fact is that most people are more likely to feel attracted by the free offer, which they consider a good service. As a result, they are quick to agree to the operation. What they unfortunately overlook is that the risks associated with the surgical procedure are often talked down and the prospects of success are painted in glittering colors. The medically necessary initial consultation thus degenerates into a sales pitch.

Risks of free consultations

It is bad when patients are advised to undergo aesthetic surgery, although there is only one surgery for their problem associated with high risks, or, when medically inappropriate treatments are recommended.

The consequence is: The patient may suffer from the late effects of the procedure for the rest of his life or have to undergo further (expensive) procedures. In free consultations, the consulting specialist usually assumes that the patient will agree anyway and that he or she will be able to compensate the “financial loss” of an expensive operation x times later.

However, cosmetic surgeons who offer free initial consultations are not only on thin ice from a professional point of view. According to the guidelines of the medical association, physicians are even obliged to charge a fee for a detailed examination and consultation. Since in some cases the initial consultation is billed by the health insurance companies, the consultation without a consultation fee is against the law. – It violates §7 of the Heilmittelwerbegesetz (German Drug Advertising Act). It can even lead to warnings from the medical association. There are now rulings on this issue (including Nuremberg Regional Court of February 2, 2012, AZ: 1HKO 10043/11).

Characteristics of reputable specialist medical practices

Truly reputable specialty practices only offer fee-for-service initial consultations. Following the consultation, the interested party receives additional information material. This allows them to make a decision at their leisure at home.

In a second consultation, the specialist discusses the further procedure with the patient who has decided to undergo the operation. The costs incurred by the patient for the serious consultation are usually offset against the cost of the operation.

If interested parties living in Munich visit the practice of the specialist for aesthetic and plastic surgery of Dr. Bernard receive a detailed and non-binding consultation would like, they will be charged an amount of 50 euros.

By the way: You can also recognize the seriousness of a plastic and aesthetic surgery specialist by the fact that he refuses to perform the surgical procedure on some patients. This may be the case if the medical professional has the impression that the patient is acting at the insistence of his partner or he has unrealistic expectations regarding the outcome of the operation.