The consultation is a vital part of the treatment process. It’s your first – and sometimes only – opportunity to learn about the procedure you’re considering from your practitioner and establish whether the tweakment is truly the one for you. There’s a diverse range of concerns – ranging from safety, to cost, to what the results will look like, to how you should care for your skin afterwards – and it can be difficult to think of everything on the spot. Having been through more consultations than you can shake a stick at, I wanted to pass on my list of 18 essential questions to ask your practitioner at a consultation. Read on below or download the pdf version over on the right.  

Ideally you will have your consultation with the practitioner you have chosen, and they will be the person who does your treatment. But it’s worth asking in case they are planning to pass you on to an associate. In some clinics it is standard practice for nurses to conduct consultations for example, then you and your notes will be passed on to the doctor or senior practitioner for treatment. In my opinion, that’s not the best practice, although I can see that it is time-saving and cost-effective for the clinic.

Not a silly question. Many practitioners offer a great many treatments and there may be some that they don’t do that often. It’s worth knowing because every practitioner I have ever met says that yes, of course it is true that the more you do of something, the better you are likely to be at it. So if they don’t do the procedure so much...it’s worth knowing.
It is worth asking this and having it spelled out for you because it varies. With filler treatment, it’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get, although after treatment you may look a little more swollen, a little more ‘filled’, than you were anticipating just because your skin tissues will swell thanks to the injections (as well as because of the filler that has been injected) and that swelling will reduce over the next day or two. Botox, for example, takes between 4 and 10 days to take effect. I’ve heard plenty of stories of people ringing up the day after treatment to complain that their Botox hasn’t worked. Ultherapy will give you a small instant result, as your existing collagen is tightened by the focused ultrasound energy, but the main result, the lifting effect created by the new collagen that will grow as a result of the treatment, won’t start to appear for at least three months after treatment, which makes a lot of people think the treatment ‘hasn’t worked’, when they just need to wait a bit longer. 
It’s really important to discuss this. However many before-and-after pictures you may have seen, what matters is how your face is presenting right now, which will determine what sort of results the treatment under discussion is likely to give. A good practitioner needs to be honest with you about this. If they tell you that you are a good candidate for treatment, then great, you should expect decent results. If they tell you that you are not an ideal candidate for treatment, listen up – and ask whether in their opinion you should be trying something else. Also, bear in mind that any before and after pictures you see on a clinic or company website will be the very best results that that treatment or that practitioner has been able to obtain. Your results may not quite match up. Also, you need to have realistic expectations around likely results. Tweakments can do a great deal but if you didn’t look like Cindy Crawford before you started treatment, you ain’t going to look like Cindy Crawford afterwards…
Always good to know. Then (a) you can prepare yourself, mentally and (b) you know that having anaesthetic cream will add at least 20 minutes to the time that the tweakment takes.

This is helpful if you haven’t already seen before-and-after photos. Most practitioners will have patients who are happy to have their pictures shown to other prospective patients.

Again, most practitioners will have patients who are happy to chat about what a particular treatment is actually like.

It’s such an obvious question that you might just forget to ask it, and it is also worth asking whether the cost is fora one-off treatment or for a course of treatment. If it’s the latter, you will get the best results if you undertake a full course, but that’s clearly going to make it a more expensive proposition. It’s always good to go into treatments with a full understanding of the cost implications, especially if there is on-going treatment that incurs extra expenditure.
You need to know this in advance, so you can plan accordingly. Usually, you should avoid things like strenuous exercise or saunas for a day or two, and after some treatments, you may need to avoid direct sunlight. (After treatment, most practitioners will either send you home with a printed list of what to do and what not to do – or will email this to you – because most of us don’t take in everything that’s said to us in clinic, particularly not when our brains are reeling from the experience of a new tweakment.)

Will the treated area be swollen? Will there be redness? Or bruising? And if so, how long for? You really need to know this, particularly if you are hoping to go back to work the same day as the procedure, or see family or friends that evening, or are having treatment in order to look great for some particular event. Don’t have anything too close to the big day.

This will depend on the procedure, but whatever you are advised to do, stick to it. If there are holes in your face from microneedling, for example, you do not want to go and smush bacteria into them with a dirty make-up brush or even with your fingers.

Crucial to know. Don’t shy away from asking it. Any procedure has a certain degree of risk associated with it. In the right hands using well-tested products, those risks are minimised – but they’re still there. You need all the information before going ahead and you’ll only know if you ask.

Equally crucial. If your practitioner isn’t competent to deal with complications, and something goes awry, you need to know. Or rather, you need to know not to go ahead and have treatment with them. Just in case. Because if something DID go wrong, what would you do then?
I know you don’t even want to contemplate the possibility that a tweakment might go wrong, but you need to know this, to factor it into the decision about whether to move forward with treatment. I once emerged from an experimental new treatment with one side of my forehead totally immobilised and the other behaving as normal and it was only at that point that I thought to ask, ‘Did this happen with any of the people in the initial study group?’ and was told yes, it happened to 15 per cent of them. 15 per cent! Even though I was mad keen to try the procedure and report on it, that might have given me pause for thought.

Don’t let anyone get away with saying, ‘Oh, we very rarely have a problem.’ And if something were to go wrong, would they be able to fix it? Or would you be stuck with it? There should be a policy on complications, and the clinic should let you know what it is. You’re a paying patient; your concerns should be fully addressed rather than dismissed.

Your practitioner should give you a number to call if you have any urgent, specific concerns following treatment – not just the clinic number, but a number where you can speak to and get advice from the practitioner or one of their staff.

You’re asking this because you will want to know what they think of the results, as well as getting the chance to tell them what you feel about the results. If you have had Botox, you will want to pop back for a review after two weeks (I always do) at which point – if it has settled unevenly, say – you can have any discrepancies adjusted. For other procedures, it may be that you just pop back for a quick chat, or to take some ‘after’ photos, after a few months, and decide to leave things as they are.

Worth asking. Though the usual answer is that there isn’t much you can do. Tweakments are minor cosmetic medical procedures. They’re not a consumer purchase that you can take back. (The exception to this rule is hyaluronic-acid fillers, which can be dissolved with injections of Hyalase.) The good news is that most tweakments are temporary so, after waiting out a certain amount of time, your face will drift back to how it was before.