When seeking a reconstructive or cosmetic procedure the typical protocol is to have the patient in for a consultation. During that initial meeting I am listening to the patient’s surgical goals and assessing their anatomy so we can explore all of the options open to them. We then set a surgery date and a schedule for post-operative care. This is typically not difficult for my patients who live in and around New York City. In my capacity as a medical consultant in Plastic Surgery to the United Nations, however, I see a number of international patients to whom travel can become burdensome.
In an effort to accommodate our long distance patients our office has embraced the use of E-mail and Skype to perform ‘virtual consultations.’ Since reconstructive / cosmetic surgery is primarily a visual practice we can use photos and video chat sessions to evaluate if and how the patient can be treated. If they decide to proceed with surgery they can arrive the day before their procedure for the requisite in person consultation, and stay in the area for a few days during their recovery, which cuts their time away from home in half. In some cases a virtual consultation can even save a patient the trip when they are not a good candidate for surgery.
Virtual consultations have made it easier to do follow-up care for out of town patients as well. I prefer to have the patient examined in person five to seven days post operatively. After that, however, long term virtual checkups are a viable option to limit the number of trips an out of town patient must make. Furthermore, some readers may be familiar with the volunteer work I performed in Ecuador, Mexico and Haiti repairing cleft palates and other maladies of the jaw (for more information see https://www.antell-md.com). Many of these patients are unlikely to buy a ticket to visit my office, so the web offers them access to healthcare that they may not have otherwise had.
For more information on Dr. Antell and his Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery practice in New York, visit the following links.