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Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
Stop! This is the greatest of all misconceptions! What you are proposing, by making this assumption, is that all procedures and all surgeons are created equal. This is clearly ridiculous. In any profession the individuals in that field fall within a bell shaped curve. This is similar to the bell shaped curves that we all fit into regarding our height, weight and IQ compared to the rest of society in general. There is a bell shaped curve for just about everything, and plastic surgeons are no exception. What this means is simply that there are surgeons that are more or less talented depending on how they are distributed within the curve. There are too many factors that determine this distribution and that subject is well beyond the scope of this book. Further, that fact in and of itself is not the point of the argument. Rather the realization that there are tangible things that separate surgeon from surgeon is the point that the consumer needs to understand. It is my belief that plastic surgeons practice the art of applying beauty principles and manifest these in the science of surgery. This clearly and quite logically will be done to a greater or lesser degree based on the individual surgeon. This is much like artists. If you were to contact six portrait artists and commission them each to paint your portrait. They all would be different. These differences would be obviously due to the differences in technique, artistic representation and talent. No two portraits would be exactly alike. Some you would like and others you may not. This similarly applies to surgeons and plastic surgery. No two surgeons are equally talented. Nor will any two see your aesthetic needs in exactly the same light. Therefore the logical, and the correct conclusion, is that no two procedures or surgeons are alike. No TWO Plastic Surgeons ARE THE SAME!
It is my belief, that certain individuals are born with what I call " the eye ". This is the ability that top model scouts, interior designers, artists and yes plastic surgeons posses that allows them to see things aesthetically. This allows the individual to recognize beauty and style and therefore formulate the proper plan when attempting to recreate it. This is something that, like any talent, can be enhanced with practice but can not be learned if the gift is simply not there. This is paramount because the number one complication from plastic surgery, in my opinion, is the lack of aesthetic judgment of the surgeon/patient.
#6. I have no idea how to find the right surgeon, so I'll just pick anyone.
That as we have previously discussed may not be the most prudent option. There are things that you can do to select the right surgeon for you. And funny enough these are the same mental things that most of us currently use to select many of the other services that we use everyday. If everyone would use four simple steps when seeking plastic surgery-it is my feeling that many more favorable outcomes would result.
One-listen to the aesthetic judgement of the surgeon. What are they suggesting? Does it make aesthetic and logical sense to you after reading this book and learning the principles? Remember you can't change the facts! If the answer is yes then proceed to point two. If the answer is no, then you will have to see another surgeon.
Two-does this surgeon have the experience to do what it is that he/she is recommending for me? Don't be afraid to ask someone in the office how many times has the surgeon done this operation? Can I speak with a patient that has had a similar procedure? This is an extremely important point. Quite simply, there is no substitute for experience.
The office should be able to show you examples of real before and after photos of patients. Computer generated images, although helpful for instructional purposes, are not a suitable substitute for one simple reason. The computer is not going to perform the surgery. The surgeon is! If you see what you feel are good examples of the surgeons work and you feel comfortable that the right amount of experience exists, then proceed to the third step. If not, you will need to see another surgeon and start the process all over again from step number one.
Three-Once the first two steps have been met you can consider price. Prior to that point you have not proven that it is the right product and therefore the price should be irrelevant. Do not let price be the driving factor in your choosing a procedure or a surgeon, rather follow the first two steps to their logical conclusion and at this point you can price compare. Here you are fairly sure of the level of quality and satisfaction and the price at this point may reflect minor differences such as how much of the finishing stitches does the surgeon do himself versus how much is done by an assistant. In some cases the assistant will do some of the closure to free up the surgeon for other duties like staring another surgery. Upon learning this, you may opt to pay the higher price for more of the surgeons time. This is only one example of the things that you may use at this point to choose one office over another. If you are content with this third step, you can proceed to the final step. If not, you guessed it, it's back to square one with another surgeon.
Fourth and final step-this is more of a subjective feeling that the previous steps. Here is where you factor in how well you liked the surgeon and his staff, the office and the surroundings. Did you get a good feeling about the office and the surgeon? Will they be receptive to you after the procedure should you have questions and concerns? What about revisions, should they be needed, will they be receptive and helpful? You will have a gut feeling at this point and be sure to go with it-it will serve you well. Other factors at this point may be board certification, teaching appointments, memberships in surgical societies and the like. I placed these in the final step for a reason. Board certification and these other accolades are absolutely something to look for in your surgeon. They are however, not a guarantee of quality or success. So look for them, but don't overlook the first three steps in doing so.
The importance of following these steps can not be overemphasized. The consumer of plastic surgery today is suffering from what I call the mass- market mentality. This is the misconception that the price is the all- important issue. It is not and should not be! Let's for example, take a brand name ink pen that is mass produced and marketed all around the world. It would be a correct assumption for the consumer to make that this is exactly the same product no matter where it is purchased and therefore the price could be the final deciding factor as to where it is acquired. It is an erroneous assumption however, as we have previously outlined, to assume the same thing when seeking to purchase plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is individually, not mass, produced. It truly represents one of the few remaining areas of artisan work.
Your customized product is literally hand made by the surgeon. Therefore it is subject to the inherent differences of the surgeons performing it. To chose one based on price alone is foolhardy at best. You can't buy a Mercedes for the price of a Yugo and you never will. People who use price as the sole-determining factor set themselves up for possible disappointment because bad plastic surgery at a discount is no bargain. Only through thorough analysis can the correct decision be made and a favorable outcome occur.
#7-Plastic surgery is only for plastic surgery junkies.
As we have previously stated, it has been my experience that less then 1% of the people seeking plastic surgery fall into this category. The vast majority of individuals seeking cosmetic surgery, are looking for aesthetic improvement that is quite reasonable. Most individuals undergoing plastic surgery, are doing so for the overall enhancement of their appearance. They are not expecting dramatic results, a change in their life situation, or to become a different person. They thoroughly understand that they will still be the same person they where prior to surgery, just with an improved appearance. Differences, as one might expect, may occur within groups of individuals. For example, people in the entertainment industry whose appearance may affect their ability to make a living, may pursue plastic surgery to greater extent than other individuals. It is not unrealistic for an individual, who makes a living with their looks, to be more focused over their appearance. These people may undergo plastic surgery procedures at an age or state of aging well before the average individual. This may be seen as an investment in their livelihood and craft. The same may be said of up-and-coming individuals who are being held to these very high beauty ideals. This would include young actors, actresses and models. This is similar to a surgeon being concerned about his hands to greater extent then an accountant might be.
#8-Plastic surgery is painful and has a long recovery time.
This is not necessarily true. Obviously, there are great differences in the pain thresholds of different people. A similar procedure can be performed, for the same aesthetic reasons, on 100 different individuals with wide variations in the post-operative course. Most of us already know whether we have a high, low or absent pain threshold. Generally speaking, plastic surgery need not be painful but obviously since it is a surgery, will have some degree of discomfort. The post-operative course can be maintained and therefore the discomfort minimize with proper anesthetic medications. It is up to the patient and the surgeon to find the proper comfort zone. How responsive, your surgeon will be to your post operative needs is one of the criteria that you may want to assess in your preoperative search for a plastic surgeon.
#9-If I have plastic surgery-my friends will make fun of me. It used to be that this was a true statement. Hopefully, in today's enlightened society this no longer happens with a regular frequency. Plastic surgery is more commonplace and more widely accepted today and at any time in our history. The media deserves credit for bringing issues of plastic surgery to the attention of the general public. There however may exist circumstances where an individual may encounter jealousy and therefore negative emotions from family, friends and even loved ones. I suggest, that when these negative feelings are experienced, that one spend a little time to analyze why that individual is responding in that particular manner. Usually, there is logical reason for their response and a little effort on your part may go a long way in diffusing the situation. For example, I have seen circumstances were the loved one is quite opposed to the proposed plastic surgery of their significant other. By in large this stems from a fear that the love one will have a significantly altered appearance following surgery. Other times, there is the fear that once they have an improved appearance-that they may leave and find another. To address this last point, I have only in one time seeing this occur. And this had obviously been planned well in advance of the surgery, and didn't come out of the blue. Jealousy, from individuals who are either afraid or unable to undergo plastic surgery for whatever reason, may be encountered from family or friends. This may be quite confrontational and difficult to deal with. The best way to deal with this is to simply acknowledge the sound reasons for undergoing plastic surgery in your particular situation. At that point their opinion becomes simply their opinion and there is no need for further agreement. Once they see that you are content with your decision and the outcome of your plastic surgery, their comments will desist. For they will discontinue once they realize that they have no effect.
#10-I am just not vain enough to consider plastic surgery.
As we have shown previously, an individual need not be considered vain for seeking cosmetic refinement. Many individuals are simply seeking self-improvement. If any individual is content with their looks there is no reason for cosmetic surgery. Today more and more information regarding plastic surgery is available through the media. We are bombarded daily with scenes of beautiful people. They are everywhere we look. Is it no wonder that we want to not only look better but that we want to look like the beautiful people that we see in magazines on billboards and on TV. Even sub consciously we want to somewhat resemble the so-called beautiful people, and why not-they seem to enjoy success, power and widespread acceptance. Which one of us can truly say that we wouldn't want that as well. This desire to look like the beautiful people may manifest itself as the compelling reason one seeks plastic surgery to improve the shape of the nose, to enlarge the breasts or to push back the clock with a facelift.
Plastic surgery can indeed do wondrous things resulting in marked improvement in one looks. It can not however reproduce someone else's looks. You may have a nose similar to that star or a chin like so and so, even an enlarged bust just like that actress-but you will still always look like yourself. You will just have improved features that happen to resemble the ideal. A similar feature possessed by the beautiful person. It is not desirable for everyone to look the same or perfect for without contrast life would be dull. It is perfectly acceptable for individuals to strive for improvement and the trend continues unabated.
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