According to new research published in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, an increasing number of patients may benefit from shared medical appointments (SMA) for breast reduction surgery or other plastic surgery procedures. Unlike a one-on-one consultation, SMAs enable a group of patients to meet with a plastic surgeon about a prospective procedure, where they are presented with educational material about what to expect before, during and after the surgery in a communal setting.
In this particular study, researchers offered participants who were interested in breast reduction surgery the option of a shared medical appointment or private meeting with the plastic surgeon. Each of the patients suffered from uncomfortable symptoms associated with large breasts (macromastia), including shoulder and back pain. On average, eight patients (each of whom was joined by one female guest) participated in the group session.
Shared medical appointments garner high patient satisfaction rates
Lead author of the study, Dr. Aviram M. Giladi of the University of Michigan, says that shared medical appointments offer several advantages for women interested in breast reduction, such as “group learning, peer support, and a sense of solidarity and commonality.”
When comparing the results of 26 women who chose an SMA versus 26 others who opted for private appointments, patient satisfaction rates were very high for the first group.
The findings showed that:
- 89 percent were satisfied overall with the SMA experience
- 92 percent were happy with the thoroughness of care, in both the SMA and private consultation
- More than 75 percent of SMA patients would choose a shared appointment again
The concept of shared medical appointments has been around for some time, and was first introduced for routine physical exams, as well as to enhance the long-term care of patients who suffer from chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes. Shared medical visits have also been utilized in other settings, and are now used by doctors across a wide range of medical specialties.
According to the research team, many participants in the SMA group noted that they appreciated hearing the questions raised by others during the group meeting.
“All the different questions asked and everyone having the same problem helped me not be shy and ask everything I needed to,” commented one female patient.
Study suggests multiple benefits of SMA approach
The new study indicates that the SMA approach—where a traditional patient evaluation is combined with a “community learning environment”— has advantages for those considering breast reduction surgery. “We are able to provide this enhanced patient experience, built on camaraderie, peer support, and group education, while improving provider and clinic efficiency,” concluded Dr. Giladi and his co-authors.
In addition to patient satisfaction, shared medical appointments also helped boost efficiency and clinic workflow, according to Dr. Giladi. The researchers determined that patients had more face time and meaningful interaction with the surgeon, while allowing the surgeon to meet with more patients each hour.
Breast reduction NYC
Respected New York plastic surgeon Dr. Aviva B. Preminger understands the emotional and physical frustrations associated with overly large breasts and offers reduction mammoplasty in her Manhattan surgical suite.
A wife and mother of three, Dr. Preminger is keenly aware of the needs of women in this increasingly beauty-centric society and is happy discuss the risks, recovery and results of breast reduction in NYC at her Park Avenue office. To learn more, please call 212.706.1900 or request a consultation using the online form.