I had a patient come to me recently with a problem following a rhinoplasty performed by another plastic surgeon. I assumed she was here because she needed reassurance that the healing process was normal, or she did surgery far away and could not fly their due to financial or work circumstances. It turned out that her surgeon was closer to her house than I was, it was just that he refused to see her.
On examination, it appeared to be a reasonably well performed operation with a normal post operative course. I reassured her that healing was normal, and asked her permission to call her surgeon. He complained to me that she was very needy, asked too many questions, and took up too much of his time. He felt there was nothing to do until her visit in several months, and that he did not need to see her.
At Yager Esthetics, the relationship between doctor and patient is a partnership that continues forever, even after the procedure is completed. I feel a special bond with each person I operate on, and invest a lot of emotional energy in the planning, execution, and aftercare. Sometimes, I am a plastic surgeon, sometimes a psychiatrist, and many times just a friend or confidant. It depends on the patient’s needs.
While it is true that physically nothing would be done for this patient until her next visit, she clearly had emotional or other reasons for needing someone to talk to. I feel that this is part of caring for the cosmetic plastic surgery patient. You need to spend enough time with the patient before agreeing to perform surgery to know if you want to accept the responsibility of her total aftercare.
Plastic surgeons are not technicians who simply perform the indicated procedure, no matter how talented they may be. We should be physicians who care for all the needs of our patients.