These days it is clearly a “buyer beware” atmosphere when it comes to cosmetic plastic surgery. We’re seeing a growing number of patients who are unhappy following cosmetic surgery–due in large part to the prevalence of non-board certified surgeons performing their procedures. Physicians practicing outside of their core specialty are not formally trained in an accredited cosmetic and plastic surgery residency program, yet it is technically legal for such non-accredited physicians to perform cosmetic procedures as long as the patient is willing. As a result, an increasing portion of my practice consists of secondary or corrective plastic surgery for patients who have had less than ideal plastic surgery elsewhere.
When I consult with a patient looking to undo the damage the first step in the process is establishing clear communication about two things: 1) Can the problem be repairedto their satisfaction and 2) Am I confident as a surgeon that I can make the repair to their satisfaction.
I believe effective communication and trust between the surgeon and the patients to be the very basic tenet of any successful cosmetic procedure. I find that typically a failure in communication is the most common reason for patients to be unhappy following surgery. The patient expected one thing and the surgeon provided something different. This is especially true with non-board certified surgeons who have not appreciated that the surgical procedure is only one part a successful outcome; not necessarily poor surgical technique, but a clear miscommunication about the final result. I find these problems to be the easiest to correct by simply listening to the patient and applying the correct expectations.
Surgery that leaves disfigurement or anatomical distortion is a more difficult problem, especially when the original physician performing the surgery is not properly trained, again NOT board-certified, I can’t reiterate how important that is to a successful outcome. Corrective surgery in these circumstances is more complex from a technical and psychological standpoint. These secondary corrective procedures require careful planning, precise communication, development of mutual trust and gentle kindness to work past the disappointment that the patient has previously experienced. Fortunately, these more difficult corrections are often very gratifying to surgeon and patient alike.
To find out if a physician is board-certified, read more from a blog I wrote last year,Check the Credentials—Who is Doing My Plastic Surgery?