Richard A. Baxter, M.D.

The Art Behind Plastic Surgery

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Jul 24

Dr. Baxter

When what you want is not what you need: How to have an honest discussion with your plastic surgeon

Posted by Dr. Baxter

I am pretty sure that Mick Jagger didn’t have plastic surgery in mind when the Rolling Stones recorded the song “You can’t always get what you want” but like many things in life, it reflects an essential aspect of communication. When discussing your goals with a plastic surgeon, knowing what you want is important; more important is knowing what is realistic and what is best. You rely on the experience of your plastic surgeon to guide you in making the right decisions.

Know your goals before deciding on a specific procedure

Where the process can go awry is when a patient decides not just what their goals are, but determines in advance what needs to be done to get there. Examples include “I don’t want the long scar from a full tummy tuck, just a mini” when clearly a mini will not deliver the desired result. The scars fade, and in both cases placement is low where it can be covered by a swimsuit bottom. Or perhaps a facelift is best aligned with expectations, but a minimally invasive procedure is requested. The general rule is that mini procedures give mini results.

Trust your plastic surgeon's advice

It’s not necessarily the patient’s fault; online resources can be misleading. Carefully curated “before & after” pictures may suggest miraculous results, when these may be achievable only in carefully selected cases for the specific procedure being showcased. It’s easy for plastic surgeons to get swayed a bit too, because we want the patient to get good results without unsightly scars or long downtime just as much as the patient does. This is where experience is especially vital. The best plastic surgeons would rather not take your money for something that won’t give results that align with your expectations.

So be clear about your goals, but keep an open mind about the possibilities. No amount of online research replaces an in-person consultation with a good plastic surgeon. Like the song also says, “If you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need!”



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