As a cosmetic plastic surgeon, I try and avoid the potential wrath of a disgruntled cosmetic surgery patient. I do this by trying to predict who will not be a “good” post-operative patient. The key is the initial interview which is used as an eﬀective screening process to pick out the patient with inappropriate motivation, unrealistic expectations or those obsessed with imagined physical defects. I then simply do not operate on these patients who “fail” the screening. Certain patient types to interview carefully before making the ﬁnal decision on whether to operate or not include:
- Patients whom my staﬀ or I don’t ”gel with”for some reason. Initial “gut instincts” may be correct.
- Perfectionists: Those seeking a ﬂawless result, cannot accept minor asymmetries or slight imperfections after surgery. They have the potential to be unrealistic patients.
- Dissatisﬁed patients: Some of these were dissatisﬁed with previous cosmetic surgery by another surgeon. She or he wants me to “ﬁx it”. They often put you on a lofty pedestal ready for when they fall when things don’t work out so well.
- VIPs: Someone highly visible to the public, such as actors, TV personalities, and politicians, have bigger stakes.
Research shows that a small percentage of cosmetic surgery patients are at risk of experiencing psychological problems, such as depression, after undergoing elective surgery. Some of these patients sue, harass and even threaten the doctor who performed their surgery. It ’s important then for every patient to get it straight with their surgeon as to whether they have a policy about who pays for revisions when necessary and to make sure the policy ’s provisions are clear before surgery.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon