There are many instances in aesthetic plastic surgery where the choice between two operations can be a difficult one. Almost always it is a choice between a lesser operation that may solve the problem enough that one may avoid a larger operation. The larger operation may be more assured of producing the better result but it may have the added trade-offs of more expense, recovery and often visible or larger scars. A classic example would be the woman who desires larger breasts but has some sagging to them. Does she just go with breast implants that may or may not improve the sag as well or does she commit from the beginning to a combined breast implant and lift operation. The larger operation is far more likely to give the breast a better shape but will do so with some visible scars on the breast…an aesthetic trade-off in an otherwise aesthetic operation. Which approach is better?
That choice depends on the patient and their risk tolerance for the aesthetic trade-off. If scars, not matter what they may look like are not a big concern, then go for the bigger operation that is more assured of getting the best result. But if visible scarring is a major concern, and it is for many patients in aesthetic surgery, then do the smaller operation. Make the smaller operation with less aesthetic trade-offs prove that it is inadequate and that the larger operation is needed. In many instances the less perfect result without adverse scarring may be enough for some patients. For others, if the lesser operation does not make them happy, they then know that only the larger operation will work and the unattractive scar may now be more accepting to them. This is what I call making the smaller operation prove that a bigger one is really needed…in those patients that initially have aesthetic concerns about the bigger operation initially. While this may result in an extra operation for some patients, their decision about the adverse aesthetic outcome (scar) is now better qualified and likely then to be worth it to them. You can always do more surgery but I can’t erase a scar that a patient doesn’t like. In short, never make an aesthetic trade-off for a problem that you will dislike just as much as one you already have.
‘Smaller Operations May Sometimes Be Needed To Prove A Larger Operation Is Worth It’
Dr. Barry Eppley