In today’s world of ever-increasing cosmetic surgery awareness, the number of people having undergone some form of cosmetic procedure is now commonplace. With these vast numbers of cosmetic patients comes the reality that a small percentage of them will either suffer complications or not achieve the result that they desire. While this number is fortunately very low, and much lower than one would gather from the internet or the news media, such unhappy patients exist. While most unhappy patients get resolution of their concerns through their initial treating plastic surgeon, some will seek out ‘new’ surgeons to get another opinion or to start anew for treatment of their concerns. I specifically refer to these types of patients as ‘revisional surgery patients from afar’.
Unfortunately, such patients carry high risks for the new surgeon, much of which is not obvious during the initial consultation. Behind the scenes are often feelings of anger, a victims mentality, and negative feelings toward the original treating plastic surgeon. Not to mention concerns about costs of further surgery. This is a lot of ‘baggage’ for the new surgeon to take on and he often unwittingly do so, usually driven by egocentric feelings of ‘I can solve any problem’ (heroic mentality) or “I’m certainly much better than that other surgeon’ (competitive mentality). While revisional surgery in these patients often works out, the risk of dissatisfaction is higher than in a previously unoperated patient. The danger is that all of the negative feelings from their prior experience, and possibly unrealistic expectations gets transferred onto the next surgeon. For these reasons, in my practice, I encourage all such patients to return to their original surgeon to work out their concerns or undergo further surgery. This is particularly true for those revisional surgery patients that lie outside the geographic region. The grass is not always greener on the other side, so to speak. In addition, they will undoubtably get a better financial arrangement from their original surgeon who usually feels some obligation in most cases to do so.
Dr Barry Eppley