Aesthetic Goals & Satisfaction
Plastic surgery is a unique field of medicine because the successful outcome is both physically and emotionally rewarding. Therefore, successful surgery must not only make one look good, but also make one feel good. The frustrating part of this equation is that feeling good is not always a direct result of looking good. That is, even though one can be transformed physically to enlarge small breasts or reduce a small nose, the surgery isn’t successful unless the patient is happy. Perfect figures from liposuction are no guarantee of satisfaction. In fact, no perfect result necessarily makes a patient feel better about their body (or themselves).
Thus, the consultation for a plastic surgeon must go down the road of “expectations”. Expectations are really at the heart of determining whether a surgery is a success or failure. Meeting expectations, is of course, always the goal. How does one get a grip on expectations? Below is a way I like to see if I am in a place where I can meet them – and make the patient happy:
The Expectations Test
- Photos. Show me what you like. And what you don’t like.
- Show me what you think you can look like. And what you can’t look like.
- Have you had plastic surgery before? If so, were you happy with the results? Why? Or why not?
- Scars. Are you ready for them? A scar is a normal response to healing. Some scar better than others. What kind of scar could you accept? What kind of scar would be unacceptable?
- Can you accept a complication? Or, do you understand that despite everyone’s best intentions (me, you, God), things can be imperfect.
- Can you accept that a revision, small or large, may be necessary to achieve your goal?
- Can you take time off work and be totally compliant with the aftercare?
- How long have you thought about having this surgery?
- Are you doing this for you or someone else?
- Do you think these changes will make you feel better about your body?
These are just some of the things one should ask themselves before undergoing plastic surgery. The relationship that one forms in the consult room must balance between physical ideals and emotional goals. Only then can we be sure to minimize the dreadful, “missed expectations”.
Dr. Tim Neavin is a board-certified plastic surgeon located in Beverly Hills, California.