How to deal with unsatisfactory results after plastic surgery Introduction Plastic surgery, even if performed for aesthetic reasons, is not without risks. Some risks are common to many surgeries, while others are specific to a certain procedure. But there is one risk that is present each time we consider undergoing plastic surgery: getting unsatisfactory results. Many patients are not aware of this risk and find themselves in a situation of not knowing how to deal with unsatisfactory results after plastic surgery. In this article, we will discuss why unsatisfactory results occur, how to prevent them, and how to deal with them. Causes of unsatisfactory results and how to avoid them It is important to mention that achieving unsatisfactory results doesn’t necessarily mean that the plastic surgeon made a mistake, so it is not the same with malpractice. However, the experience of the plastic surgeon can be a factor that could lead to unsatisfactory results, but not the only one. Here are some causes and how to prevent them: – Not clearly communicating your goals and expectations The results of plastic surgery can depend on many factors, but one of the most important ones is communicating your goals and expectations in a clean manner. When thinking about undergoing plastic surgery, you should also consider how you will express your goals and ideas to the plastic surgeon. The fact that you have it very clear in your head what you want to achieve with the procedure is not a guarantee that the plastic surgeon will understand what you want. This is the reason why I advise my patients, and I will also show them pictures to better get an understanding of what is desired. It is essential to understand that when it comes to plastic surgery, one patient’s satisfactory result can be another patient’s unsatisfactory result. With plastic surgery, the personal aesthetic sense makes the difference. While there are some industry standards, this doesn’t mean that all patients will want to achieve the same thing. Let’s just consider breast implant surgery. We have round implants and anatomically shaped implants. Depending on which one we choose, the results will be very different. Some patients can consider that round implants are the only ones to deliver them the results they desire, while others might consider that the breasts don’t look entirely natural with this type of implant. To reduce the risk of getting unsatisfactory results as a result of not communicating efficiently with the plastic surgeon, you can write down details about the results you expect and also prepare pictures of patients that had the same procedure and achieved the results you want. Show them to the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. – Having unrealistic goals and expectations A sure way to get unsatisfactory results after plastic surgery is having unrealistic expectations. Among unrealistic expectations we can mention things like “perfectly symmetrical breasts” or anything involving the word “perfect,” because plastic surgery should be used to improve the appearance not achieve perfection. Moreover, patients who want to undergo plastic surgery to change their appearance in order to look more like someone else are setting themselves up for failure. This is another type of unrealistic expectation. Having surgery to make your butt look like Jennifer Lopez’s can result in unsatisfactory results, especially if your anatomical characteristics are very different from the celebrity’s. Having unrealistic goals and expectations from the procedure will always end with the patient dissatisfied with the results. I have patients coming in saying “I know I won’t get what I want with this procedure, but I want to go with it anyway.” This is not a good idea. Undergoing plastic surgery and subjecting yourself to the risks only to achieve results you know you don’t want is just not worth it. To reduce the risk of getting unsatisfactory results due to unrealistic expectations, you should discuss this issue in detail with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. If the plastic surgeon tells you that the results will be different from your expectations, think very carefully if you want to have the procedure or not. – Not following post-operative protocol The results of the procedure are not only in the hands of the plastic surgeon. The patient can also influence the results. Getting unsatisfactory results after plastic surgery may also be caused by not following post-operative protocol. In many cases, the patient will be asked to adopt a certain behavior and follow certain rules after the procedure. Generally, we are talking about not smoking, wearing the compression garments, not sleeping or resting on the operated area, and avoiding intense physical efforts for a few weeks or months post-op. Not following these instructions can result in an alteration of the results and hence unsatisfactory results in the long run. – Not choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon The experience and talent of the plastic surgeon are also important when it comes to achieving satisfactory results after plastic surgery. It is only normal for a more experienced plastic surgeon to achieve better results and to better understand the expectations of the patient. Some patients make cost the primary reason for choosing one plastic surgeon over the other, but this is not very wise. An inexperienced plastic surgeon will always charge less than one who performs the procedure routinely. To avoid getting unsatisfactory results due to the lack of experience of the plastic surgeon, make sure to check his qualifications before scheduling the procedure and look at before and after pictures with previous patients who had the same procedure done. How to deal with unsatisfactory results after plastic surgery If you notice that the results achieved are not according to your expectations, you should discuss this with the plastic surgeon. After the procedure, there should be follow-up consultations that will allow the plastic surgeon to assess the recovery process and also give you the opportunity to talk about the results. In some cases, the plastic surgeon will tell you that more time is needed before the final results can transpire. Generally speaking, the results of plastic surgery are immediately visible but can take up to one year for the final results to show up. This is normal, and if you are unhappy with the results after a month or two, the plastic surgeon might advise you to wait some more. In most cases, after six months we can assess the results of a procedure and see if the patient is happy with it or not. In case of extreme asymmetries or other issues that are visible to the naked eye, you should consider revision surgery. If you don’t feel prepared to undergo revision surgery with the same plastic surgeon due to a lack of trust, you can always see another plastic surgeon for a second opinion and to have the procedure performed by someone else. When it comes to dealing with unsatisfactory results, the main thing that the patient should do is keep calm and think of all the options. Discussing with another specialist can bring some light into the matter and give a new perspective on things. Making rushed decisions is never a good idea, so you should take your time and think of how you want to proceed from now on: should you undergo a revision surgery? If yes, who do you want to perform your procedure? Conclusion Achieving unsatisfactory results after plastic surgery is a risk for any patient. Despite what most people believe, it is not necessarily the lack of abilities of the plastic surgeon that causes unsatisfactory results. In this article, we have discussed some of the causes of unsatisfactory results and how to prevent them. It is important to discuss things in detail with the plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon has the responsibility to give you all the details about the procedure, and you should also give the plastic surgeon all the details about your expectations. Wanting to undergo plastic surgery to look like someone else to become perfect is a sure recipe for failure, so better avoid these.