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Behind the Scenes of a Plastic Surgery Center: Meet Christine


pic facebook resized 600Although her business cards state that she is a patient coordinator, Christine is quick to inform me that she is more of a patient consultant. Within 15 minutes of speaking with her, I quickly see what she means. Christine has an amazing ability to make you feel so comfortable that before I realized it, I had told her my life story. This definitely explains why she has such strong relationships with her patients.

Christine works intimately with multiple plastic surgeons in Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut and New York. She is a one woman gateway to board certified plastic surgeons. If you are looking for a plastic surgeon for anything specific, Christine is the person to know. 

Today, we're meeting in Dr. Sharon Giese's office between Park and Lexington. If her name rings a bell, it's because she has been featured on Dr. Oz, The Today Show, CBS, CNN, and many more. Dr. Giese is renowned for her stellar work and top notch cosmetic results. She is a fixture of the Upper East Side. 

Christine immediately delves into what her role is as patient coordinator. It encompasses so much. Christine’s job is to connect with patients, assess their needs, and go through the plastic surgery journey with them. It requires world-class people skills which Christine has in abundance. “I get excited for my patients when they decide to go through with the procedure,” she says. “Plastic surgery is such a confidence booster and I have such faith in the abilities of our Body Cosmetica affiliate doctors. When patients are so happy with their results, the look on their face is priceless.”

Christine is a care giver - she holds the patients' hands as they enter surgery, calms last minute nerves, and determines what procedures are best for the patient. “Some people come in knowing exactly what they want, like a laundry list.  So it's my job to help determine if they are candidates for the procedures, why they want the procedures, and help them find ways to afford it!” 

Equally true, sometimes patients enter the facilities unsure of what they want. There is a dizzying array of options available in the aesthetic arena; therefore it is important to work with someone, like Chrsitine, who has expertise. She has worked in Aesthetics for over ten years, and has the broad base of knowledge to help patients choose the doctors and the procedures that are right for them. It turns out this is a 24/7 vocation.  “It's really about helping people fulfill their dreams,” says Christine. “People can always call or text me at any time – even in the wee hours. It's very personal - almost like a personal consultant for your body,” she says, laughing. 

Christine tells a story of a woman who came in wanting a breast argumentation. Since she'd had 6 children her skin was stretched and lax. A previous doctor, from a prior consultation, had recommended that she get a breast lift as well implants. This was more than the woman had bargained for. When she came to Body Cosmetica she relayed that what she had first been excited for now felt daunting. As an ambassador of plastic surgery, Christine really wanted to turn this patient experience around. In conjunction with the Body Cosmetica affiliate physician, a new plan of attack was devised. Since she had quite a bit of breast tissue this patient could just get a lift so her breasts would be lifted and full -  no implant necessary - representing a dramatic savings. “We weren't trying to sell her 2 procedures when she only really needed one,” Christine says. For Christine, it's all about listening to the patient and understanding what will really make them happy with the outcome.

So what should patients keep in mind when thinking of getting plastic surgery? Christine holds up 3 fingers:

*  Comfort with doctor/surgeon;

*  Certifications of the doctor; and

*  Location.

I asked about this last one. “Vicinity is everything,” she says. “It's important that patients stay close to home to get the best quality of care. If you live in NY than going to the DR is probably not your best location.”

It is equally important to have a board certified operating room and anesthesiologist because safety must be a priority. Says Christine, “if you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do a job, wait till you hire an amateur.” Always choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery. 

I ask Christine why people get plastic surgery and she tells me that 90% of the people that come in are doing it for themselves. “Plastic surgery is an empowering industry. Women have the right to tweak areas that are affected by weight-loss and childbirth,” she says. “It's better to think of it as a correction than gluttony. It's about loving yourself. It's about looking forward.”

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