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The Guide To Successful Facial Plastic Surgery

Most patients consider facial plastic surgery because they have things about their face they’d like to fix. As a facial plastic surgeon who has practiced many years, at the top of my field, I’m very aware we have more facial solutions available to us, than ever before. These include technologies for skin tightening, advanced thread lift materials, new types of facial fillers, botulinum toxin, and lasers. With all these new products, one might think it would be very easy to have successful plastic surgery, yet that’s not always the case. Read more.

How can I be sure I’ll be satisfied with my facial plastic surgery?

Satisfaction in plastic surgery begins with a systematic individualized consultation. During the consultation, I need to understand what you’re trying to achieve. So, I need to listen to you. I need to be honest with you about what I can achieve, and what the limitations are. And as a patient, you need to listen to what I can safely achieve, and process your options to decide what suits you best. So, a good consultation is a bi-directional process that involves both of us expressing what we want, while the other listens.

Having satisfaction in facial surgery also requires good judgement on the part of the patient and surgeon. Often, I find a patient wants something they cannot have. Example, most patients that desire lip augmentation would love to have their lips augmented permanently. So, my patients will ask for a permanent solution. My experience tells me most permanent solutions make the lips look unnatural, lumpy or bumpy. Even making them stiff, resulting in unnatural movement. So, my patient and I have to communicate about these realities and better options.

What should a facial plastic surgery consultation feel like?

I listen to my patients. A lengthy and careful consultation with bi-directional listening is the key part of achieving real satisfaction in facial plastic surgery. As I tell my fellows as I train them, don’t shortcut this process. And if a patient tells me they want a procedure that is very conservative and “looks so natural” that it’s difficult for others to notice, I need to listen. Similarly if they want an aggressive procedure to suit their own personal sense of style. Bottomline, you tell me what you want to achieve, and I’ll tell you what the options are. 

When I have a consultation with you, I’ll tell you, “I don’t like these products, because there are complications associated with them.” I certainly don’t want to have to remove an implant, or cut out injectable materials. The consultation requires my patients listening to this. The tough part arises when patients have already decided what they want, even if it’s likely not the most effective solution. And I face the reality that some patients will go elsewhere to get a procedure that markedly increases potential complications or side effects. Ignoring my advice.

What happens if I’m not satisfied with the results of a procedure?

Unfortunately, dissatisfaction does occur. The reasons can be multiple: Lack of communication, unreasonable expectations, the procedure didn’t come out as well as any of us planned.

Although generally rare, when I have a patient that is dissatisfied, I try to revert back to the same systematic approach of the original consultation. However, a revision procedure consultation can be more emotional, because most patients didn’t expect that they’d ever need a follow-up procedure.

I try to look at what the patient wants after the initial procedure. And I try to be honest if it’s achievable. I try to listen to their concerns, and the predictability of achieving their wants together. This is an important process that requires me listening, and both of us maintaining trust. Experience and trust are fundamental in all relationships, and especially plastic surgery. I value the trust my patients have put in me, and I try to maintain that even when they’re not happy.

How should I choose my facial plastic surgeon?

Obviously, the choice of surgeon is very important. It requires patients to trust the judgement and skills of the surgeon, and the surgeon should never violate this trust. It’s very common for a patient to search many places on the internet, and then feel that they have chosen the “best” in the field to do their surgery. Patients should realise that for the most part, the things they read on websites and Instagram are contrived by the practitioner, to make themselves look good. It’s really important that the patient feels there is an honesty and integrity about the surgeon, and that it carries through from their website, to the way they portray themselves, to their ability to achieve excellent results. I look at any relationship as something to cultivate.

Should I travel to another country for facial plastic surgery?

I think travelling within the US is very typical, but travelling outside the country is complicated. Why? You should feel the trusting relationship you have with your facial plastic surgeon will carry over from the operating room to post-op care. And I feel the idea of going to another country is a problem, in regards to post-operative care. Time zones, language barriers, terminology, it all impacts effective communication. As a simple example, I give my patients my personal mobile phone number, so they can contact me any time before or after the procedure. It’s just one simple step: Trusting my patients with my phone number is warranted because they place their trust in me. You deserve the same.

Do I need a facial plastic surgeon near me?

Patients interested in facial plastic surgery may wish to travel to a competitive location like Beverly Hills for their procedure, just to ensure they have the very best in the business working on them. At our practice in Beverly Hills and Sacramento, it is not uncommon for us to have patients flying in from elsewhere, within the US, for all kinds of different cosmetic facial surgeries.

About Dr. Jonathan Sykes

Dr. Jonathan Sykes is a world-famous expert plastic surgeon who performs all cosmetic and functional plastic surgery procedures on the face and neck. He is a past president of The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and served on their Board of Directors for over 10 years. He is also a Professor Emeritus in Facial Plastic Surgery from UC Davis Medical Center, and the former Director of Facial Plastic Surgery at that institution. He is known as the expert’s expert, and is often called to consult and advise other plastic surgeons in both Northern California and Beverly Hills. He has a special interest in eyelid and browlift surgery, facial rejuvenation surgery, including facelifts and rhinoplasty.