How to Avoid A Bad Face: How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse After a Facelift, Laser, Filler or Botox
You are starting to see some things that make you unhappy. You’re thinking of getting some plastic surgery –surgical or non-surgical but what is the right way to find the right doctor and right treatment? There are many, many options today for treatment and provider. That is a good thing, having options but the greater the choices, the tougher the decision-making.
How should you start? Look at qualifications and experience. There are four specialties that have formalized didactic and clinical training in aesthetic treatments. Plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery, dermatology and oculoplastic surgery. These are the fields with known training and known experience. That is basically the prerequisite then followed by clinical practice for refinement of techniques and predictability of results. A good place to look is online at The American Board of Plastic Surgery, The Aesthetic Society and your state licensing body to verify a valid medical license. This is just a matter of verifying the validity of credentials.
Next, pick an individual doctor who is a good fit. Realism is important. Do you want guidance mostly from the doctor or more of a partnership in care –learning about options and deciding together? Some patients really want to rely on the doctor to decide. Other people are more consumerist and want to understand the options and partner with their provider. Do you have a good feel for the plastic surgeon’s honesty and technical excellence? Do you want a leader -a chairperson, researcher, or lecturer? This provides expertise in particular areas but perhaps less availability. You have to decide what your priorities are. In the end, it is all about experience and results. No one can guarantee a result with any particular treatment and whether a given result will make you happy is a lot about state of mind. There is no one right provider for everyone. Matching personalities and styles is necessary since you will be working together to restore and maintain beauty and need to be the right fit.
What treatment is right? Do you want an expert in the latest new treatment? New technology is great and often adds an important new option. I do a lot of new technology research and am typically familiar or even expert with new options as they come on the market having worked with them for a few years during development. Some of these options are revolutionary, really a significant step forward. Others are evolutionary, refinements of older options to help optimize them or improve them in some fashion. No one option is a panacea or cure-all for all patients. What is right for you may be entirely different than what is hot or touted in media as an amazing fix. Patients come in all ages, shapes, sizes, skin colors and personal preferences. A new technology, even if really important or useful, is never a fit for all variations of clinical needs.
Finding a provider who will listen to your concerns and treatment preferences will increase the likelihood of making your beauty dreams come true. But also listen to their suggestions. Surgeons know what can reasonably be expected and what techniques work best in their hands to get there.
Too much of a good thing:
Plastic surgeons and plastic surgeon patients are perfectionists by temperament but we must accept that we never achieve perfect in practice –in anything in life, not just plastic surgery. A natural look is, in my view, essential. The common sentiment that if a little is good, more is better is definitively not true for plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine. It’s more like Goldilocks and the Three Bears –not too much, not too little, just right. There are a few typical ways to overdo things: doing a treatment too often –a lot of tissue trauma with no time to the skin to heal between treatments. Doing ttoo much is another problem –can look overbuilt or unnatural –most treatments have limits to how much correction can be obtained short of 100%. We have to accept this or we will end up looking unnatural or having more complications. Too many types of treatments –too much at once is bad. Multimodality treatments often enhance the degree of correction that can be obtained or address multiple aging changes that simultaneously need improvement. But too much can be unnecessarily traumatic or distorting. Finally, using a treatment to address a problem it was not designed for will be unlikely to meet your goals and pushing a treatment harder to make it do something it is not intended for greatly increases the risk of complications and an unnatural look –a bad place to go.
The artistry of the provider is important. It’s not simply what treatment you select insuring a great result. The technologies are merely tools in the hands of the provider. A simple example is putting a paint set in the hands of a grade schooler versus a master painter like Rembrandt. Either way you’ll get a painting but they won’t be the same quality –the master painter has years of experience, acquired skill and will invest much more time and attention to the final result. The quality of the painting will, of course, be affected by the quality of the paint but much more so by the skill and artistry of the painter.
Too little of a good thing:
Underdoing treatments is another way to predictably be disappointed. If you do one treatment out of a series of 3, an inadequate response will be obtained. If a result could be produced in one treatment 3 would not be routinely provided. Before you commit to a series be sure you are willing to complete the suggested amount. Filler is similar. Undertreating a feature or area with too little filler or trying to treat multiple areas with a single syringe of filler will predictably produce a limited correction. As we age, the severity of the features increases requiring an increase in the amount of filler used or number of treatments required. There is still often great benefit in improving appearance to be obtained without resorting to surgery or recovery based treatments but more is likely to be required. A person in their 40’s may often be able to treat one or two features with a single syringe of filler. A person several decades older is likely to need more volume. Under-doing things is predictable failure. If you are not able to do what it takes based on what the plastic surgeon suggests, save the waste of time and money that results from just trying a little.
Overall, making your beauty dreams come true is about focusing on what features bother you, being analytical and specific. Then, partner with your plastic surgeon to select the best option. We need to actually take a critical look at ourselves rather than going by our mental impression of how we look, which is more based on how we looked in our 20’s than the reality of today.
A promised result that sounds too good to be true probably is –be realist.
A provider who isn’t listening carefully to your concerns is unlikely to successfully address them in treatment.
Compromise is OK as long as you are aware of the tradeoffs and decide it is the best fit.
The Goldilocks Principle is controlling in getting to the sweet spot of maximum improvement with the least possible intervention –not too much, not too little, just right.