Shared medical appointments (SMA) have long been used for routine physical exams and to help patients handle chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Now, the trend may become the future of the breast reduction experience.
In a recent study, patient satisfaction rates were compared among women being evaluated for breast reduction surgery to treat symptomatic macromastia, chronic pain caused by overly large breasts. Half the women in the study elected to take part in shared medical appointments while the other half had individual appointments. Patient satisfaction rates were extremely high across the board, and over 75 percent of patients who had shared appointments reported that they would make the same decision in the future.
There are many advantages of shared medical appointments. For one, women may experience a greater sense of group support in evaluating their condition. Secondly, SMA patients had four times longer contact time with the surgeon, including an educational session, than patients who underwent an individual appointment. Lastly, many women reported that hearing other women’s questions was helpful in understanding their own options.
On the other hand, breast reduction surgery can be a very personal experience. Some women may prefer to undergo breast reduction alone or with a close friend or family member only.
Your Personal Surgery Experience
The priority of any medical examination and procedure should be the patient’s comfort, so it’s important to choose a surgeon who is flexible when responding to patients’ needs. There is no one correct approach for everyone, and while shared medical appointments may work for some women, others will most likely continue to prefer the privacy of individual appointments.
With over 25 years of active practice, Dr. Michael Halls is recognized as a leader in breast surgery procedures in Southern California. Dr. Halls graduated Alpha Omega Alpha and Cum Laude from Medical School in Canada and completed seven further years of training in Plastic Surgery Residencies and Fellowships including two years in Boston at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital.
He is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery in the United States (FACS) and Canada (FRCS(C)) and is an active member in international, national, and local societies for breast and plastic surgery. Dr. Halls has published multiple papers in journals and texts over the past four decades and has appeared on many local and national TV programs.