The cosmetic surgery industry has grown significantly over the past few years. With more and more surgical procedures being performed, there has also been an unfortunate increase in the number of patients who are unhappy with their plastic surgery results.
It is legal for general practitioners in Australia to call themselves “cosmetic surgeons” without undergoing specialist training in invasive surgical procedures. This can result in some confusion for patients who may believe that a cosmetic surgeon is as qualified to perform procedures as a specialist plastic surgeon.
To avoid being the victim of a surgical mishap or “botched job”, it is important for patients to understand the difference between a plastic and cosmetic surgeon. Patients should also be sure to have an initial consultation with their surgeon in which they clearly express what they hope to achieve with their surgery, and the surgeon communicates what results can be realistically expected. Surgical success comes from good communication; sometimes an unsatisfactory result can be due to patients and surgeons not being on the same page rather than poor surgical technique.
Before your surgery:
- It is important to conduct research on the qualifications, training, experience and certifications of a number of different surgeons in your area. You can choose a surgeon that specialises in the surgical procedure you want to have.
- Book an appointment to see your chosen surgeon for an initial consultation. During this consultation you will gain an idea of what can be realistically achieved with surgery.
- Establish good communication with your surgeon so that they can clearly understand the result you are hoping to achieve.
If you are not happy with the results of your surgery:
- Ask yourself what were your original expectations: Perhaps the result of the surgery is what you had originally hoped for it to be, but now that the change has been made you are not satisfied.
- Give it time: Don’t act impulsively or on emotion, even though you may be tempted to have corrective surgery straight away. Scars and swelling will heal with time, and the true results of the surgery may not be apparent until some weeks or even months have passed.
- Don’t blame yourself: Along with feeling upset and dissatisfied with their results, patients often feel very guilty about having the surgery in the first place and ask “Why did I do this to myself?” Feeling guilty will make the situation worse and it is important to remember that many “botched” cases can be resolved.
Before undergoing revisionist surgery:
- Be realistic: Conduct research and determine whether your surgical result can be resolved to the extent that you want it to be.
- Choose your surgeon wisely: Ensure that they are experienced in performing corrective surgery.
- Book a consultation with your chosen surgeon. Ask your surgeon specific questions, and request to see before and after pictures of their work. Clarify your expectations with your surgeon.
Common reasons that patients are not satisfied with surgical results:
At Eastern Plastic Surgery, head surgeon Mr Frank Lin is often called upon to operate on patients who have had bad experiences with previous surgeries. Unhappy patients usually recruit the help of a FRACS-certified plastic surgeon such as Mr Lin to correct their unsuccessful procedures.
Mr Lin explains that there are three main reasons why people are not satisfied with results from other surgeons:
- Technical errors, or an error in the way that the procedure has been performed. This can be the case for surgeries as well as cosmetic injections.
- Product issues. There may be a problem with the product used, in that it may have not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or its usage may have been illegal.
- Miscommunication. There may not have been any complication with the surgery itself. The result may be what the patient originally asked for, but now does not fit within the “context” of the face.
When preparing to perform the revision surgery, Mr Lin addresses these three points. As a surgical practitioner, he understands facial harmony and can be more realistic about what will work for somebody’s face. He is also able to communicate with both English and Chinese-speaking clientele.