Here we are talking about dissatisfaction linked to the result of an aesthetic procedure and not an objectively botched aesthetic procedure. Botched surgery is unsightly even disabling.
What are the most common complaints? What are the possible solutions? How can disappointment be avoided?
What are the most common complaints?
Firstly, as mentioned above, it is imperative to differentiate between dissatisfaction and an objectively botched procedure, which is, fortunately, very rare. However, those who are dissatisfied – so for whom the surgery is not botched – are more numerous and deserve our special attention. Why? Aside from the skills of the surgeon, it is necessary to look at the psychology of the patient: when we expect too much from a surgical procedure as if it were the answer to all our problems, even psychological, we are inevitably disappointed when we see that nothing has in fact changed. Consequently, the job of the surgeon is to ensure that your expectations are realistic and that you clearly understand.
The nose is a common area of dissatisfaction (20% of touch-ups all surgeons included) as it is in the middle of the face and is the focus of many complexes. The nose is often related to body dysmorphia, even mild. It can be too big, too long or too bumpy… but going from this type of nose with character to a completely different nose can be extremely upsetting, not always easy to deal with, which is why surgery must be carefully mulled over. It is essential to talk to your surgeon and listen to their advice. A natural result is a priority with discreet changes that blend in perfectly with the shape of the face without losing the charm of the person. However, despite all that, the progression and healing of the cartilage and the skin can be unpredictable and ultimately result in dissatisfaction.
With breast surgery, the size or shape of the breasts or the formation of a capsular contracture can be reasons for dissatisfaction. Again, the progression is sometimes unpredictable and an immediate result that is very satisfactory can prove to be dissatisfactory in the long term.
Although it is generally linked to the skin and the capacity of each individual to heal, healing is also a common source of complaint. Touch-ups can sometimes be carried out to improve an unsightly scar.
So, in addition to being clearly informed during the consultation and through the information provided in the file, it is important to follow the post-operative recommendations to put all the odds in your favor.
It is important to recall that the benefits, risks, or complications, as well as aspects inherent to any operation, are mentioned in the quote and the informed consent signed by the patient.
Specific case of body dysmorphic disorder
A person suffering from body dysmorphic disorder will convince themselves they are ugly resulting in an exaggerated – and often unfounded – obsession with part of their body they see as a defect. For them, aesthetic surgery appears to be a solution to their problem, even a miracle. Of course this is not the case and once the operation is done, the problem is still there: the nose is still too big, the breasts still too small… So, patients suffering from body dysmorphic disorder are at a higher risk of developping depression, which will accentuate their symptoms, while others will see several surgeons until one of them accepts to carry out the operation, and will sometimes get trapped in a viscious circle undergoing operation after operation.
I am not satisfied with the result, what can I do?
First piece of advice: talk to your surgeon. Do not go and see another surgeon until you have spoken to your own. A serious surgeon will be there for you after the operation, even months afterwards.
Indeed, it is possible to carry out touch-ups. Moreover, this should normally have been discussed explicitly during the consultation. Revision surgery may be necessary to achieve the desired result when post-operative progression does not go as planned.
However, if your surgeon does not seem receptive, there is little room for manoeuvre as legally nothing can force a plastic surgeon to carry out a touch-up.
Firstly, you should be aware that, in the eyes of the law, an aesthetic surgeon has an obligation of means but no obligation of result, as any physician. This means that they must not make a mistake in the process up to the post-operative follow-up, and must make every effort to ensure the operation is a success.
This may seem surprising but in reality it is logical: the outcome of an aesthetic operation is not really quantifiable, and to a certain extent is subjective, each measuring the quality of the result through their own eyes – excluding any obvious mistake. It is, therefore, perfectly normal that aesthetic surgeons are not held responsble for a result that does not meet the exact desires of the patient and this is another reason to choose your surgeon carefully and establish a real relationship of trust with them.
Choose your aesthetic surgeon well
The choice of surgeon and the consultations prior to the procedure are absolutely fundamental. Not only do they allow the patient to be comprehensively and openly informed about the procedure (benefits, risks, organisation, potential scars, recovery time, result, tariff…) but they also enable the surgeon to understand their patient. The consultation allows them to dismiss any potential contra-indications whether medical or psychological. It is notably at this point they can spot any form – of varying severity – of body dysmorphic disorder. A surgeon can then refuse to perform the procedure.
-> Article to read How to choose your aesthetic surgeon.
To conclude, there is nothing better than finding out as much information as possible about the procedure considered and carefully choosing your surgeon, as most of the satisfaction felt after an operation depends on it. The patient and the surgeon must have the same view of what is natural, the same view of the expected result, and both parties must have a clear understanding of the joint project.
Ask your surgeon as many questions as possible but find information from other sources as well. And do not forget to ask YOURSELF the right questions as well: who are you undergoing the operation for? What is the aim? Do not hesitate to get advice from a therapist if you feel there are other underlying problems.