What should be done

If you want to undergo aesthetic surgery, you should inquire about the procedure. It is simple if you know someone among your family members or friends who has had such an operation, who could answer most of your questions. Nowadays we can get the appropriate information through the Internet, where several plastic surgeons' homepages can be found. We can trust in our surrounding in the case of choosing a doctor. If we hear satisfied opinions from several sources, it is worth making an appointment with the doctor for a consultation. If we do not have any information, we can search for specialists on the Internet, in advertisements, or in the phonebook.

The next step is to make an appointment with the doctor chosen, but it is advisable to meet at least 3-4 surgeons and listen to several opinions. The point of the consultation is to inform the patient on the process of the surgery, the possible complications, the expected result and the duties after the procedure.

It is very important to check the following things:

  • Does the doctor have adequate qualifications in plastic surgery?
  • Does he or she have the proper experience for the desired procedure?
  • Does he have medical third-party insurance?

The process of consultation:

The patient tells his or her wish. They inform the doctor about their possible illnesses and allergies. The doctor examines the patient and informs him on the process of the surgery and the possibilities of the operation. He will also provide very detailed information on the possible complications. During the consultation the doctor will ask about the patient's requirements, and try to set the level that to which the surgery can be carried out.

We can find ourselves in a very unpleasant situation if a complication occurs, which is thought very rare, and we had not previously talked about it so as not to "frighten" the patient away.

I fully agree with and wish to emphasize the following sentence, which I heard from an Italian plastic surgeon colleague: "everything told before the surgery is information, and everything told after is an apology". Apologising is obviously not good as it may lead to the loss of trust and cause a very serious problem in the relationship between the doctor and the patient. In plastic surgery the possibility of a complication arising is 2-3%. But the problem with statistics is that for the person who has a complication it means 100%. Statistics show that 96% of the patients are satisfied, 97% would want the operation again anytime, while 2-3% regret the surgery.

Procedures carried out to rectify aesthetic problems are considered luxurious surgeries. This is not because of their price but because they require the use of surgery on otherwise healthy people. Here the proper prior-information is even more important than in the case of operating on sick patients.

The other serious problem can be the patient's exaggerated requirements, as mentioned above. In this case it is important that we behave in a manner fitting to the rules of the profession. The patient may still be dissatisfied, because he or she expects or expected something more. This can also put a strain on doctor-patient relationship which is based on confidence.

It can happen that friends and relations find the difference insignificant, which is really not striking, and want to talk the patient out of the surgery. If these seemingly insignificant problems of the shape (expressing professionally: one is dissatisfied with one's body contour) cause such a great problem that the patient would undertake surgery to solve them, then it clearly shows what a great burden is this for him or her. We are different; maybe a woman will be totally satisfied with the form and size of a breast with which another woman is going to undertake a breast augmentation (enlargement). This simile may not be completely appropriate, but to understand these patients I used to say: Everybody knows the situation where we are preparing for a meeting or an evening party and we need a suitable outfit to wear. Once dressed, everybody praises the chosen garment, but we ourselves still feel bad wearing it, what's more, it makes the whole evening bad. Likewise, when somebody is not satisfied with his or her body contour, they feel bad, but this lasts not just for an evening but for many long years. The consultation before surgery must determine whether an aesthetic problem is standing in the background of the complaint or merely and only a psychological problem. In the case of the latter, surgery will not help. It is interesting that such problems almost always occur in the case of patients with rhinoplasty. If the patient decides to have surgery the next step is to arrange a date of operation, and to have an examination before the anaesthesia and the surgery.