What Can I Do To Improve My Cosmetic Surgery Results?

Cosmetic SurgeryAs a prospective cosmetic surgery patient, you spend a lot of time researching doctors, centers, facilities and credentials, and that is as it should be. It is a critical step in getting the right result. But all too often, patients forget to consider that their surgery team – in addition to the surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses, and other staff – should include another vital team member – you! What you do, or what you don’t do, can have a tremendous impact on the quality of your surgery outcome and the safety of your care.

For instance, sometimes patients feel reluctant to share their entire medical history with their plastic surgeon, thinking that it may not be relevant. In order to provide you the very best care, your team needs to understand all of your previous surgeries, medical treatments, medications, significant illnesses, or prior reactions to medication or anesthesia. Knowing this information can help us modify and customize your care, such as identifying risk factors that might be addressed or adjusting techniques or medications to improve your results and your surgical and recovery experience. As an example, if you have had nausea after previous anesthesia for an unrelated procedure, that might clue the anesthesiologist to use different medications and techniques with your upcoming surgery to reduce the risk that this will happen again. If you have a family history of certain types of blood clots, this would alert your surgical team that you need additional prophylactic measures to decrease the risk of a clotting complication.

A second way patients can help optimize their results is in carefully following preoperative instructions and guidelines. Your particular instructions might include stopping medications that may lead to an increase in the chance of surgical bleeding or bruising, using skin care products that will help prepare your skin for laser resurfacing or a chemical peel, or losing a few extra pounds that will help a body contouring procedure give even more dramatic results. The instructions from your anesthesiologist are particularly important to keep your surgery safe. For instance, everyone knows that it is important not to eat or drink prior to surgery, however sometimes patients think that “just a little bite” or “just a small drink” won’t do any harm, but it can significantly increase your risk of lung problems after surgery.

The third way that patients can help to optimize their results is to follow the post-operative instructions carefully. Like pre-operative instructions, these are intended to keep you safe and give you the best outcome. For instance, if you have had a chemical peel or laser resurfacing, it is important to keep out of the sun until you are fully healed to get the best look afterwards. It is also very important that you follow instructions related to physical activities after surgery. Too much early activity to a body area treated by surgery might cause wound problems or bleeding which could require further treatment and could compromise the result. On the other hand, it is important to be up and out of bed early, which decreases the chance of blood clots developing. Recent trends are that surgeons are encouraging more and earlier return to physical activity, which patients usually love, however the type of activity is important. For example, after a breast augmentation early push-ups or pilates may put too much strain on the chest area and cause problems, but a recumbent exercise bike might be a perfect cross-training choice until the chest area is fully healed.

One final, and most important way in which patients can help control their results is to carefully listen to their doctor during their consultation. Sometimes what you hear may not be what you want, and it is important that you really think through that. As an example, when significantly overweight patients come in hopeful that plastic surgery will solve their weight problems, they are sad, and sometimes angry, to hear that their weight makes them poor candidates for surgery, both from a safety and an outcome basis. Others might come hoping to have many different procedures done at the same time. Although it is extremely common for surgeons to combine procedures, there is a limit to how much can be done safely at one setting, and thus it may be necessary to stage the procedures at different times with healing in between. There are well-publicized cases of hopeful patients who ignored the advice of well-qualified surgeons and “shopped around” until they found someone who was willing to do everything they wanted that ended in a tragic result. Remember, your surgeon wants you to have the best result possible result, so listen carefully and consider what they say. And through truly working as a partner in your own team, you will have a great impact not only on your results, but also on your experience.

At the Emory Aesthetic Center, we believe in this team approach to your care. The journey is about you, your hopes and desires, and we are delighted to share in this journey with you.

About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.

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