Mirror, Mirror. Unrealistic Expectations?

There is an old saying among general surgeons, “If you don’t operate, you will not have complications.”

The same can be said of  cosmetic surgical results.  On occasion, the results of surgery  do not go according to plan.  All surgeons have surgical results that are less than optimal.  Occasionally some surgery may benefit from a secondary surgery to improve the result.

The causes of less than optimum results are complex.  Complications such as unwanted bleeding or infection may occur, compromising recovery and healing.   Sometimes patients do not follow after care instructions as carefully as they could, which can lead to problems.   Pre-existing medical conditions may also interfere with healing and scarring.  The surgical design may just not work out for a particular patient.  Generally, the final outcome is a combination due to some or all of these factors.

Revision surgery is often difficult.   Changes in anatomy are normal following surgery, so that must be taken into account when planning revised surgery.  Feelings of disappointment and possible misgivings by the patient are not to be over-looked. Expectations of perfection may present undue anxiety during recovery, as a result of unrealistic goals.   It is necessary to understand the limitations of the procedure. Even the most talented surgeon is unlikely to transform prospective patients into their Hollywood idols.   Communication between patient and physician is key to maintaining healthy expectations of having surgery.

Surgical results are rarely perfect.  The decision to perform revisional surgery is generally based on the likelihood of improvement, weighed against the risk of making things worse.

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