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This recent article in the Cosmetic Surgery Times by one of my favorite reporters, Lisette Hilton, discusses five things doctors should never say to their cosmetic patients. As a followup, I’ve compiled a list of five things a patient should never say to their cosmetic surgeon!
1. “My last doctor did a terrible job”
That may be the case. Or maybe they did as good a job as possible considering your circumstances (prior surgery, scar tissue, etc). But the reason you shouldn’t say this to your current doctor is that it makes us concerned you will be unhappy no matter how good a job we do. Which, in turn, makes us worry that you’re on the verge of suing the next doctor that touches you!
2. “You better make me look like so-and-so!”
It’s very helpful when a patient comes in with photos of a celebrity to convey what they’re going for. But when you come in demanding and expecting perfection, it’s a bit trying. First of all, we’re happy to do our best but when you have a different underlying body shape than the celebrity, it’s difficult to promise a clone butt or nose. This is when the “reasonable expectations” conversation takes place.
3. “That’s not what it said online”
I am the first to encourage my patients to do their research online. While there may be some bad info online, there’s also a lot of good information and it helps when patients do their research. But recognize that everything you read isn’t accurate and it may not apply to your situation. For that reason, don’t assume that the first time you read something (1) makes it true and (2) makes you an expert! What it says online may be different than what I just said in the consultation and I’ll be happy to explain why it’s different — just don’t assume I don’t know what I’m talking about right off the bat!
4. “My friend’s doctor did it for less”
This is similar to asking for a discount. While you may think your doctor is charging you more than your friend’s doctor, we really don’t know exactly what your friend is having done. Maybe she’s having a breast augmentation, but you’re having a breast augmentation and lift so that takes more time, more skill and therefore costs more. So while it may be true that your friend’s doctor did her surgery for less, it may have been less expensive surgery in the first place!
5. “Can you tell my employer/insurance company that my surgery was reconstructive/medically necessary and not cosmetic?”
Oh, I’m sorry, I gave up insurance fraud as part of my New Year’s resolutions! Unfortunately cosmetic procedures are not covered by insurance. That of course means that you will have to pay out of pocket. But to ask us to “game the system” puts us in an awkward position.