Popular media and reality TV are full of examples of “botched” plastic surgery. They may be good for grabbing attention, but they are not the norm.
Instead, simple unmet expectations are much more common, says Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeon James Zins, MD. Your breasts aren’t quite as big as you imagined. Your nose isn’t quite as symmetrical.
Below, Dr. Zins offers tips for dealing with plastic surgery that leaves you dissatisfied.
Discussing realistic expectations with a surgeon before a procedure is incredibly important. If you did that, you should revisit those expectations afterward.
Dr. Zins offers a common example: “A patient comes in for breast surgery. If there is dissatisfaction, it most often comes from size. She wanted to be bigger — larger-breasted than the surgeon actually carried out.”
At that point, the patient and surgeon will review whether the procedure met the original goals. In some cases, a surgeon may not have created larger breasts out of fear of long-term issues such as sagging and drooping, particularly for a smaller woman.
However, you would’ve had that discussion beforehand. If your procedure simply didn’t meet the original goal, you have options to fix the situation — typically in the form of follow-up procedures.
The same is true for breast reduction surgery. The procedure has a high rate of satisfaction, Dr. Zins says. “But a small number of patients want to be even smaller,” he adds. “Also, breasts age and change with time.”
In either case, further procedures can resolve dissatisfaction. Just be prepared to discuss and revisit your goals, and weigh the pros and cons of having additional surgery.
After most cosmetic surgeries, surgeons ask patients to have a little patience.
Time heals scars, swelling and other natural outcomes of surgery. So you won’t see your true results right away.
Take rhinoplasty, for example. “We usually ask patients to wait six months to a year after work on the nose before having a second operation,” Dr. Zins says. “Swelling may take up to a year to resolve.”
There are exceptions, which is why you’ll meet with your surgeon for regular follow-ups. If rhinoplasty leads to an unexpected breathing problem, for example, your surgeon may recommend a second procedure sooner rather than later.
Time matters for other cosmetic surgeries, too. For example, the scars from a facelift require time to heal.
“In most situations, they’re visible and significant for up to about three months,” Dr. Zins says, “but they show clear improvement with time. If they are not improving, your surgeon may offer options for additional procedures.”
If you found a surgeon you trust but just aren’t 100 percent satisfied with the results, talk about next steps with that surgeon first.
“Problems are often very easily fixed,” Dr. Zins says. “If a patient is dissatisfied, and review shows that their dissatisfaction is reasonable, we will work with that patient on doing additional procedures at very reduced costs.”
You also can seek a second opinion.
If you didn’t find a good fit with your surgeon the first time around, search for one who is both board-certified and has performed a lot of the procedures that interest you. If you had facial work done, get your second opinion from an expert in facial work, for example.
But whether you seek a second opinion or work with your original surgeon, always be prepared to give your body time to heal. And openly discuss the pros and cons of any follow-up procedures.
“For a first or second surgery, we always have to weigh the risks and benefits,” Dr. Zins says. “That’s something we look at hard with the patient, based on their expectations and what’s realistic for their body.”