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How to Deal With Your Patient's High Expectations

When it comes to cosmetic or plastic surgery and people's expectations about results, it is best for you, as the practicing physician, to be realistic and to tell your patient "the truth."

It will come as no surprise to you to learn that far too many patients have unrealistically high expectations which can never be met, certainly not by you.

For such people, the reality rarely, if ever, matches up to the dream. It is that way because cosmetic or plastic surgery, while effective, is still somewhat limited. And patients who opt for these elective treatments want to end up with the physical appearance of professional models.

Your job as a skilled and capable physician is to give your patient the best possible treatment so that he or she can enjoy the benefits of great results. But, before you even begin surgery, it is vitally important that you spend time in consultation with your new client.

Educate your client with doses of reality that dispel unreasonable dreams. Importantly, people with high expectations are generally well-informed and knowledgeable about the latest technologies. As such, it may be easier to modify their expectations and get them to understand that you "don't perform miracles," but you do produce extremely positive results.

That is one sure way of lowering expectations to achievable levels. It also makes good sense to show your new patient before and after photos of surgeries you've completed on other patients. Your patient will then realize that the results of cosmetic or plastic surgery, while good, are not as outstanding as he or she may have believed.

A computerized image system -- Visia -- can be helpful, as well, if you have it available. The bottom line to all of this is that lowered expectations are achievable and sensible in the field of cosmetic or plastic surgery.

Doctors, like you, are not magicians, not miracle workers either, but skilled physicians who can use existing technology to make a real difference in a person's life.

That "difference" may not be what a new patient expects unless you provide education about your service -- and the surgery -- in advance.

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